Singapore MAS will cease issuing $1,000 notes

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced today its plans to discontinue issuing $1,000 note from 1 January 2021. From now until December 2020, a limited quantity of $1,000 notes will be available each month.

This move is a pre-emptive measure to mitigate the higher money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) risks associated with large denomination notes. The move by MAS is to emulate international norms. Other major jurisdictions such as the United States (US) and Europe have stopped issuing such large denomination notes. The most considerable note in the US is the $100 bill and the largest in Europe is the €500 note. However, central banks in Europe have also ceased issuing the €500 note since April 2019. The notes remain legal tender. The next highest denomination in Europe is the €200 note.

Safe to still use $1,000 note

Existing $1,000 notes in circulation will remain legal tender. Use of existing $1,000 notes as payment will continue. Banks can continue to recirculate existing $1,000 notes that are deposited with them. MAS will make available sufficient quantities of other denominations, in particular the $100 note which is the next highest denomination after the $1,000 note, to meet demand.

MAS encourages everyone to use electronic payments such as PayNow and FAST.

Singapore used to issue a $10,000 note. However, MAS stopped issuing them on October 2014. MAS also instructed banks to stop recirculating the note from October 2014. The reason for this action was to hasten the withdrawal of the $10,000 notes from general circulation. Similar to this time, the move then was a pre-emptive move to mitigate the higher money-laundering risks associated with large-value cash transactions.

MAS says large denominations have risks

Large notes are generally associated with money laundering and terrorism financing risks. High denominations allow individuals to carry large amounts of money in suitcases across borders, facilitating money laundering and illicit activities. Carrying smaller denominations will require several suitcases for the same amount of cash. MAS has continued to monitor the use of high-value notes vigilantly.

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