Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Government’s S$600 payout on April 14 draws queues at ATMs islandwide

SINGAPORE — A S$600 payout by the Government was credited to homemaker Juriah Yaacob's DBS bank account on Tuesday (April 14) and she could not wait another day to withdraw it.

On April 14, 2020, the day that the Government disbursed a cash payout to Singapore citizens and permanent residents, about 10 people were seen queuing at ATMs located at Nee Soon South Community Club along Yishun Street 81.

On April 14, 2020, the day that the Government disbursed a cash payout to Singapore citizens and permanent residents, about 10 people were seen queuing at ATMs located at Nee Soon South Community Club along Yishun Street 81.

SINGAPORE — A S$600 payout by the Government was credited to homemaker Juriah Yaacob's DBS bank account on Tuesday (April 14) and she could not wait another day to withdraw it.

The earnings of her husband, a taxi driver, have plummeted since February when passengers avoided taking taxis and using ride-hailing services during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

She needed the money as soon as possible to buy groceries, since she has been cutting back on getting these items.  

"Times are not easy now… Luckily, the Government gives money, or else, I don't know what we would do," she told TODAY in Malay as she wheeled along her empty shopping trolley outside Hougang Mall.

Madam Juriah was among many Singaporeans who had queued up at automated-teller machines (ATMs) islandwide to withdraw the one-time S$600 cash payout.

The Ministry of Finance said on Sunday that nine in 10 Singaporeans aged 21 and above would receive the amount in their bank accounts.

In February when delivering the national Budget, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said that there would be payouts of between S$100 and S$300 for every adult Singaporean to help them with their expenses.

In March, when the supplementary Resilience Budget was released, this sum was tripled to between S$300 and S$900, with payouts supposed to be given from August to September.

On April 6, when announcing the Solidarity Budget, a third round of budgetary measures to cushion the blow of the Covid-19 crisis, Mr Heng said that the minimal S$300 cash payout would be brought forward to April and padded up with another S$300 to form what he called a “Solidarity Payment”.

This means a payout of at least S$600 for Singaporeans.

The payout was credited directly to the bank accounts of Singaporeans who have previously provided their account details to the Government. The rest will receive the sum by cheque, which will be issued in stages from April 30.

BUYING DIAPERS, PAYING BILLS

At around 1pm, TODAY spotted a queue of about 10 people at the ATM machines located at Nee Soon South Community Club along Yishun Street 81. 

In Hougang, where Madam Juriah was, there were about seven people waiting in line to use a single DBS ATM at about 2pm.

A GrabFood delivery rider in the queue said that he was withdrawing money to buy diapers for his two-year-old son.  

The 34-year-old, who wished to be known only as Jimmy, said that he lost his job as a salesperson last month. His wife works as a nurse.

"Maybe the S$600 is not a lot of money for other people… But it's a lot for us.”

Over at Marine Parade's POSB branch, TODAY saw a constant stream of senior citizens holding their passbooks, waiting to update them to check if the S$600 had been credited to their accounts. 

One 62-year-old taxi driver, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chua, said that with "no savings" and diminished earnings, he needed the money to pay his bills.

He used to be able to pick up at least four to five passengers between 6pm and 1am, but now, getting one or two rides in a night would be considered good, he added.

Another GrabFood rider, 52-year-old Es Azren, said that he had gone to an OCBC bank branch in Paya Lebar to check the balance in his account at about 1pm. 

Mr Azren, who worked as an adjunct lecturer in fashion marketing at private education institution Amity Global Institute until last month, was anxious because he took on the food-delivery gig as he has no more classes to teach.

From earning at least S$2,000 monthly, he now earns S$50 a day. 

He has to support three children aged 11, 15 and 18 and this S$600 will be used to pay his outstanding household bills.

Users of DBS’ digital banking mobile application faced intermittent delays on April 14, 2020. Photo: Wong Pei Ting/TODAY

On Tuesday, some users had difficulty accessing DBS bank's systems such as its mobile application.

In response to TODAY's queries, a DBS spokesperson said that customers may have encountered some intermittent delays due to "high traffic" for its digital banking services earlier on Tuesday.

She declined to comment on the cause, but did not disagree with the suggestion that the payouts could have contributed to the surge in traffic.

DISINFECTING THE MACHINES

To ensure that its ATMs are safe for use, DBS said that it has finished coating all of the machines with an anti-microbial agent by mid-March.

Ms Fion Khoh, head of network of HSBC Bank (Singapore), also said that the bank has done this for all its ATMs islandwide.

OCBC will finish doing the same by Thursday, while United Overseas Bank will start this treatment from Wednesday and aims to complete it by May 1.

DBS said that the anti-microbial coating can kill viruses and will remain active for three months.

This is an added precaution apart from cleaning and disinfecting ATMs that see higher usage at least twice daily. ATMs in and near hospitals are disinfected more frequently, DBS said.

Mr Sunny Quek, head of consumer financial services in Singapore with OCBC, said that the coating applied to its ATMs can last 28 days and it is certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to be able to wipe out traces of the coronavirus.

Citibank said that it started its coating treatment on Tuesday and it should be done by the end of this week. The coating it uses is said to protect against viruses and bacteria for six months to a year. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY NAVENE ELANGOVAN

A Citibank ATM at Parkway Parade being treated with an antimicrobial coating on April 14, 2020. Photo: Wong Pei Ting/TODAY

 

Related topics

ATM bank money Covid-19 Solidarity Payout

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.