CNY Ang Bao Guide in Singapore (2024): Ang Bao Rates, Where to Get Notes, And More

CNY Ang Bao rates Singapore

The Year of the Dragon is almost upon us. Huat ah!

While the dragon is typically associated with prosperity and good luck, this is also our first Chinese New Year with a 9% GST rate. Should you add a little more in your ang baos (red packets) for your young relatives? Or less—for your wallet’s sake?

We’re also going into Chinese New Year 2024 on the back of the hottest year on record. Are e-ang baos part of the answer to our climate crisis? Even if they aren’t, spoiler: you could win up to $88,888 this Chinese New Year by gifting e-ang baos!

Whether you’re a semi-seasoned ang bao giver or this year is your first time giving them out as a newlywed couple, you don’t want to miss our ang bao guide to Chinese New Year 2024. From dissecting the “ang bao rate hierarchy” to making the most of free ang bao sleeves and e-ang baos or ang bao-ready notes, here’s a 101 guide to red packet etiquette for rookies this Chinese New Year 2024.


CNY Ang Bao Guide (2024)—Rates, Where to Get Notes, Free Red Packets, and More

  1. What is the CNY ang bao hierarchy?
  2. How much should I give distantly related kids I don’t really know?
  3. Should I give more because of the GST hike and inflation?
  4. Which numbers are auspicious, and which should I avoid?
  5. Is there an age limit to receiving ang baos?
  6. Should ang baos be opened in public?
  7. Where can I get free ang bao sleeves?
  8. Where can I pre-order new CNY notes?
  9. How about e-ang baos?

1. What is the CNY ang bao hierarchy?

Remember how as a kid, you would get the biggest ang baos from your parents? While that random auntie at a relative’s house gave you just $6 or so? Well, that was your first taste of the ang bao hierarchy. This time, you’re on the giving end.

Here’s how much you can expect to give different family members and friends, based on advice we got from “seasoned” ang bao-giving couples:CNY Ang Bao rates

Generally, most people agree that your parents and in-laws should get the largest ang baos. This is rooted in Chinese values and culture.


Something to note is that peers don’t usually give ang baos to each other. It’s pretty uncommon and not expected of you. So if you meet unmarried ex-classmates at a CNY gathering, don’t feel pressured to extend a red packet.

As for giving an ang bao to your spouse…isn’t that kinda strange? But hey, we won’t judge. There’s no hard and fast rule on ang bao-giving. And if your spouse wants to give you an ang bao, just take lah.

Back to top


2. How much should I give distantly related kids I don’t really know?


There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to ang baos for kids you don’t really know, but that you still need to give ang bao to. 

The going rate was around $8 in 2015, based on a survey by UOB and an informal poll by Straits Times Life. We’d suggest giving at least $6 or $8, but do factor in your salary and financial needs. There’s no right or wrong, just what you want and can afford to give.

We suggest you prepare some generic ang baos with a standard amount of money. Be sure to carry these around throughout the CNY period, not just when you go visiting. Who knows, you might run into a colleague and her kids at a mall, or bump into an old friend and her family while running errands. If you have a stack of ang baos ready to go, you can just whip one out and avoid any awkward situations. All set!

Back to top


3. Should I give more because of the GST hike and inflation?

The $8 going rate for ang baos in 2015 was up from $4 to $6 the previous year. Singaporeans cited reasons such as higher salaries, increased costs of living, and inflation as factors that encouraged them to dig deeper into their pockets. This year, with the GST hike taking our GST to 9% (sobs) on top of rising inflation, should you give even more?

ALSO READWhat You Need to Know About The New GST Rate From Jan 2024—Which Businesses Are Absorbing the Extra GST?

We’d say, it all boils down to your individual financial situation. Did you recently get a raise? Maybe you’d like to be a bit more generous and top up those ang baos with an extra $2. Or did you recently buy a new car, renovate your house, and have a baby? Perhaps you should stick to a smaller amount you’re comfortable with.

At the end of the day, it’s a nice thing to do, but your relatives and friends probably aren’t going to feel offended if you don’t top up your ang baos this year. Everyone has their own financial needs, and family and friends would be the last people to judge you.

Back to top


4. Which numbers are auspicious, and which should I avoid?

Avoid odd numbers like $5, $7, etc. These numbers are considered inauspicious, especially to seniors. 

Give even numbers more, except for number four. Score points among your aunties and uncles by giving numbers that end with 0, 2, 6, or 8—especially 8! 

Although 4 is also an even number, it’s considered bad luck as the Chinese word for “4” sounds like the word for “death”. So, tempting as it is to give $4—which seems an affordable amount for people you don’t know that well—it’s better to avoid this in case others take offence. 

ang bao amounts inauspicious numbers

Back to top


5. Is there an age limit to receiving ang baos?

MYTH: Kids, teens and young adults get ang baos because they are young.
FACT: Kids, teens and young adults get ang baos because they are unmarried. Ang bao giving is not dependent on age, but tends to correlate with the age range people start getting married.

That said, most of the unmarried people we surveyed believe that receiving ang baos in your late 30s becomes awkward. Many will meet such kind gestures with, “Wah, so old already—no need lah uncle/auntie!”, or use their powers of distraction to change the topic or make a quick exit. Some draw the line at an even earlier stage and stop giving you ang baos when you start earning a living and are officially a working adult.

Ultimately, you should give ang baos based on your comfort level and according to your family practices. If you’re unsure, check with your parents or the elders in your extended family.

Back to top


6. Should ang baos be opened in public?

No! While opening your Christmas presents in front of the gifters is perfectly acceptable inWestern cultures, peeking inside your ang bao in front of the giver is a no-no in Chinese culture.

If you have kids, you’ll know that they tend to say and do the darndest things at the most unexpected moments (boy are they lucky they’re still cute). To avoid embarrassment, remind excitable little ones to say “thank you” after receiving ang baos. Then, keep them away and only let the kids open the ang baos back at home.

receiving ang baos

Back to top


7. Where can I get free ang bao sleeves?

The easiest way to get free ang bao zua (paper) is to get some from your bank. Just drop by your nearest branch and ask if you can have some. If you have a relationship manager, they’ll usually help out too. 

You may have noticed it’s become a trend to give ang baos from prominent banks or luxury brands  as subtle statements about your socioeconomic standing. If you ask us, don’t bother about these subtle “flexes” during your first few years of giving ang baos during Chinese New Year (or ever, actually). 

Aside from banks, many retail brands also make and give out their own unique ang baos for customers. So you might also get some from your neighbourhood petrol station or supermarket.

If you don’t mind spending a couple of bucks for nicer sleeves, you can consider ordering customised ones from online sites like Taobao, ezBuy, or Qoo10. Or, head to an old school shop in the heartland markets to take your pick from their designs.

Back to top


8. Where can I pre-order new CNY notes?

Chinese New Year is all about the new. So while not necessary, many like to furnish their ang baos with shiny new notes.

…but maybe not that new. As part of efforts to go green and reduce waste, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has been encouraging Singaporeans to use “Fit-for-Gifting” (“Fit”) notes and e-Ang Baos instead of new notes for the past few Chinese New Years. This year is no different!

What are “Fit” notes and where can I get them?

Fit notes are generally clean and suitable for recirculation and festive gifting. MAS stopped issuing Good-as-New (GAN) $2 notes from 2023—so 2024 will be our first Chinese New Year without them. 

Here are the banks you can pre-order new or Fit notes from. Do note that if you plan on getting new or Fit notes from DBS, OCBC or UOB, you have to make a pre-booking online. Walk-ins to bank branches are only allowed for elderly persons aged 60 and above and persons with disabilities.

Bank Pre-order dates Collection dates Maximum amount
New notes Fit notes
DBS/POSB 17 – 21 Jan 2024 (fully booked)
From 22 Jan 2024
24 to 31 Jan 2024
1 to 8 Feb 2024
S$1,000 S$1,200
Maybank 17 Jan 2024, 6pm to 23 Jan 2024 (while stocks last)
24 Jan 2024, 9am to 30 Jan 2024 (while stocks last)
24 Jan to 8 Feb 2024 S$1,200 (1 Fortune Bundle per customer)
OCBC 17 – 20 Jan 2024
23 – 26 Jan 2024
24 – 31 Jan 2024
1 – 9 Feb 2024
$1,200 $1,200
Standard Chartered 17 – 23 Jan 2024 24 Jan and 8 Feb 2024 S$2 (capped at $400, in bundle of $200)
S$5 (capped at $400)
S$10 (capped at $1,000)
S$50 (capped at $2,000)
UOB 17 Jan 2024 (fully booked)
24 Jan 2024
24 to 31 Jan 2024
1 to 8 Feb 2024

If you can’t get a reservation slot, you can also withdraw new or Fit notes from these pop-up ATMs or bank branches:

  • DBS Pop-Up ATMs—24 Jan to 8 Feb 2024 (10am to 10pm daily) and 9 Feb 2024 (10am to 1pm)
  • UOB—24 Jan to 6 Feb 2024 at selected UOB ATMs.
  • Maybank—from 24 Jan 2024 at all branches except Maybank MSpace.
  • OCBC–24 Jan to 8 Feb 2024 at selected ATMs. Capped at S$1,800 worth of new or Fit notes.
  • Standard Chartered—Exchange Fit notes at their branches from 24 Jan 2024. New notes require an online reservation.

Didn’t see your preferred bank above? Check out this list from MAS to see if you can exchange notes there. While you can walk in to most banks on the list, we suggest you check their website or call in to check stock levels first.

Back to top


9. How about e-ang baos?

Lazy to queue for hours outside your neighbourhood POSB branch? Aiyah, just use e-Ang Bao this year lah. They’re convenient, fast and safe—so what’s not to love?

Almost all major banks in Singapore now offer e-ang baos. Many also come with cute Chinese New Year-themed GIFs to send along with your e-ang bao, such as these 5 from DBS this year:

dbs-e-ang-bao-5dbs-e-ang-bao-4 dbs-e-ang-bao-3 dbs-e-ang-bao-2 dbs-e-ang-bao-1

This Chinese New Year 2024, you could win up to S$88,888 when you gift a DBS e-ang bao and up to $8,888 when you gift a UOB e-ang bao! Huat ah!

In my humble opinion, e-ang baos are underrated. They haven’t really caught on with many Singaporeans—especially the older folks. Traditionalists frown on this trend since, after all, the act of giving ang baos symbolises good luck. To them, it’s a little strange to digitalise that. Plus, you won’t get the satisfaction of holding a pretty red packet with fresh, crisp notes within. 

However, last year I received a number of pretty red packets beholding a QR code within them. I scanned it and poof! I gained an extra $10 in my DBS PayLah! wallet. This was very convenient for me since I usually have to find time to deposit my Chinese New Year ang bao notes anyway. E-ang baos saved me the trouble of banking the cash in and saved my relatives the trouble of obtaining fresh notes.

On a larger scale, e-ang baos are the must earth-friendly option during Chinese New Year. Did you know that the carbon emissions from printing new notes every year is comparable to powering 430 4-room flats and would require 10,000 new trees to be planted to offset? These figures were released from MAS this year.

Our final take? Money is money. And ultimately, it’s the thought that counts.

Back to top


Share this article with someone in need of some ang bao tips.