Product Owner: Monetary Authority of Singapore
Description of innovation
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) launched a $20 currency note to commemorate Singapore’s Bicentennial in June 2019. The commemorative note depicts Singapore’s journey to nationhood and pays tribute to our forebears who laid the foundations for modern Singapore.
The commemorative note received unexpectedly strong demand, and all two million pieces were exchanged by the public within one week of issuance. In view of the strong demand, MAS issued an additional two million notes. To ensure every Singaporean has the opportunity to own a piece of history, MAS provided an online system for Singaporeans to place their order (no monetary deposit required) before the exchange of notes at the banks. The system allowed applicants to indicate the quantity they wanted (capped at 10 notes per applicant), and the banks they would like to exchange the notes from. Should the notes order quantity exceed the available quantity, the system would allocate using an algorithm. Successful applicants were notified of their application outcome via Short Message Service (SMS). Through this system, long queues at banks and excessive hoarding of notes by certain customers were avoided. MAS was also able to distribute the actual quantity of notes required to each bank, which facilitated banks in planning their resources for each branch to manage the note exchange by successful applicants.
To ensure only successful applicants are eligible to exchange their allotted number of notes, the system also allowed bank staff to perform online verification and recording of the quantity exchanged by successful applicants.
Date the innovation was first launched.
The online pre-order system was developed on a free form builder tool developed by Singapore’s GovTech’s Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Capability Centre. The system requires applicants to enter their unique national identity number for identification during exchange, mobile number for SMS notification of application status, desired number of notes, and the bank and branch to exchange the notes.
This system improved the distribution of the commemorative notes and experience of the general public in the exchange. The public were able to pre-order the notes online and select their preferred bank branch to exchange the notes. They also do not have to queue for long hours at the bank branches, and avoid the possibility of being turned away when the stock ran out.
Apart from improving the distribution of the notes, the online systems also ensured the security of personal data. All personal data collected during application were encrypted and stored in GovTech’s servers, accessible only by authorised MAS staff. To handle the event of an oversubscription, a balloting function was also built into the system to allocate notes to the applicants.
A SMS notification platform was also seamlessly integrated with the system to inform successful applicants of the results via SMS. The SMS notification include information on the allocated note quantity, bank branch for exchange, period of exchange and necessary instructions to exchange the notes.
An online exchange module for bank staff to verify and record when successful applicants have exchanged their notes was also implemented. This is intended to ensure that only successful applicants are eligible to pick up their allotted number of notes.
Increased Efficiency, Safety or Environmental Protection
The online pre-order and exchange system transformed the distribution of our future commemorative notes. It improves efficiency and ensure equity in the distribution process as follows:
- Public was able to pre-order the notes online without having to queue for long hours at the bank branches.
- Prevents excessive hoarding of notes for re-selling which in turn might lead to wastage when unsold or unwanted notes are returned back to MAS for destruction.
- The system allowed MAS to distribute the actual quantity of notes applied by the public to the banks. This minimised the resources required by both MAS and the banks to handle any un-exchanged notes.
- Banks were able to know the actual quantity of notes to be exchanged at their branches upfront and allocate resources to manage the exchange of notes by successful applicants.
Feedback from Stakeholders, Including the General Public
Feedback from General Public
- Well done for the exchange of Singapore bicentennial 20 notes by using SMS and allocating to selected bank, and limiting the number of pieces per person.
- I’ll like to comment that last year, you did a wonderful job for the 2nd round of the bicentennial notes exchange. The system that you created for online reservations, and collection on behalf of family members at specific bank & branches is fantastic.