DBS pilots QR red packets for Chinese New Year

DBS will trial a loadable QR (quick response) red packet service this Chinese New Year season in what it called a "a fun, digital twist on the age-old tradition".

Singapore's largest bank said on Wednesday it would pilot this by issuing red packets that have unique QR codes printed on them. Roughly three million of such red packets, known as the DBS QR Ang Bao, are available. 

Using DBS PayLah!, customers scan the unique QR code on a DBS QR Ang Bao to "load" a cash value of up to S$999. They may then give the DBS QR Ang Bao to their family and friends, who scan the QR code with their own DBS PayLah! app to receive the loaded amount. DBS PayLah! has more than one million users. 

DBS said this allows DBS PayLah! users to preserve the traditional act of giving and receiving physical red packets, while eliminating the use of cash.

In a press statement, DBS Bank's head of consumer banking group in Singapore, Jeremy Soo, said the DBS QR Ang Bao is "ideal for time-starved customers" looking to forgo the usual hassle of obtaining new notes for Lunar New Year.

Each DBS QR Ang Bao has a unique QR code and serial number for added security. Users can cancel a particular DBS QR Ang Bao’s loaded funds via the DBS PayLah! app in the event that it gets lost or stolen.

The DBS QR red packets will be available at several bank branches and POSB pop-up ATMs island-wide from Friday. Some 200,000 customers can take a maximum of two sets, with each set containing eight such red packets.

The DBS QR Ang Baos will be valid for use from Friday to March 15, 2019; funds not redeemed by March 15 will be refunded to the senders.

DBS also said its electronic red packets have been gaining popularity, with the number of eAng Baos sent in 2018 six times higher than in 2017.