Thailand Goes Cashless: E-payments Take Center Stage
by Seven Peaks on Nov 30, 2023 2:00:00 PM
In today's interconnected world, e-payments, also known as digital payments, have revolutionized the financial sector. This transformation is evident in World Bank data, which indicates that in 2021, over 76% of adults worldwide held accounts with banks, financial institutions, or mobile financial providers, a notable increase from 68% in 2017. Thailand, in particular, has emerged as a pioneer in adopting digital payments, having processed an impressive 9.7 billion e-payment transactions in 2021, ranking third globally, surpassed only by India and China.
These statistics highlight the growing preference for digital payment solutions among individuals worldwide, including those in Thailand. Let's explore the fundamental concept of what e-payments truly encompass.
What is E-payment? Is It FinTech?
E-payment, short for electronic payment, is a digitalized approach to financial transactions that utilizes Internet-connected electronic systems. This encompasses activities such as transferring funds, making payments, and more.
E-payment is also recognized as a part of FinTech, a sector that revolutionizes financial and banking technology in the digital era. To delve deeper into this transformative phenomenon, we suggest exploring the article "FinTech Revolutionizing Finance: The Digital Banking Transformation in Thailand”
Types of E-payment Available in the Present
Currently, the types of e-payment under the Payment Systems Act B.E. 2017 of the Bank of Thailand are categorized into three main categories, with eight subcategories. In the following sections, we will delve into each e-payment type, including the products that fall under each category.
1. Highly Important Payment Systems
The first type of e-payment that is overseen by the Bank of Thailand is the BAHTNET system or Bank of Thailand Automated High-value Transfer Network. It enables both institutions and individuals to transfer money between accounts for customers, both domestically and internationally. It also facilitates inter-institution transfers for customers both domestically and internationally.
2. Payment Systems
Inter-institution Fund Transfer System (IFTS)
The Inter-institution Fund Transfer System (IFTS) serves as the backbone of electronic financial transactions, seamlessly connecting financial institutions or banks to facilitate the movement of funds. It enables real-time or near-real-time transfers between bank accounts, catering to a wide range of purposes, including money transfers, business transactions, bill payments, and inter-bank debt settlements.
Payment Card Network
Payment Card Networks, also known as Card Networks, serve as the connective tissue of the electronic payments ecosystem, facilitating seamless transactions using payment cards like credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards.
These networks act as intermediaries, enabling the interactions between various parties involved in card transactions, including cardholders, merchants, issuing banks, and acquiring banks. Their role is pivotal in ensuring the smooth and secure transfer of funds during card transactions.
Settlement systems are mechanisms or processes that facilitate the final transfer of funds or assets between parties. They are an essential component of the financial infrastructure that ensures the completion and settlement of financial transactions, such as securities trading, payments, and foreign currency exchanges.
3. Payment Services
Credit Card, Debit Card, or ATM Card Services
Credit cards, debit cards, and ATM cards are payment solutions that allow cardholders to conduct a range of financial transactions, including making purchases, withdrawing cash, and accessing funds stored in bank accounts.
A single card can sometimes serve multiple purposes. For instance, a card may function as both a debit card and an ATM card, enabling the cardholder to withdraw cash from an ATM and make cashless purchases using the same card. However, credit cards and debit cards are typically distinct cards with different functionalities and usage patterns.
Electronic Money Services
Electronic money, also known as e-money, refers to the digital representation of monetary value stored electronically and accessible for various financial transactions, encompassing online shopping, money transfers, and accessing goods and services. Here are some of the prevalent e-money services available today:
Digital Wallets: E-money, the digital equivalent of cash, often resides within digital wallets, accessible through mobile apps, websites, physical cards, or virtual cards. These secure digital wallets safeguard users' e-money, enabling seamless transactions and offering the flexibility to link to bank accounts or credit/debit cards for diverse spending needs. Notable examples of digital wallets include TrueMoney Wallet, PaoTang, and Line Pay.
E-payments: Users can employ e-money to make payments for goods and services both online and in physical stores. The specific payment methods supported may vary depending on the merchant.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Transfers: A multitude of banking apps and e-money platforms facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers, allowing users to send money electronically to friends, family, or others. This versatile feature caters to a wide range of purposes, including settling payments for goods and services, repaying borrowed money, or sending thoughtful gifts.
Mobile Banking: The use of mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, to access and manage bank accounts and perform various financial transactions. These transactions include checking account balances, viewing transaction history, transferring funds between accounts, paying bills, making peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers, setting up account alerts and notifications, and accessing financial products offered by the bank.
Mobile Payments: This type of electronic money service is frequently integrated with mobile payment apps, enabling users to make payments using their smartphones or other mobile devices through QR codes or scan-and-pay functionality.
Online Banking and Financial Services: Most are financial products offered by banks, such as savings accounts, loans, and various investment options, in addition to basic payment functions.
Prepaid Cards: A type of top-up card that can be utilized to make payments and withdraw cash. These cards are typically adopted by individuals who prefer not to directly link their credit or debit card or bank account to a service. Prepaid cards are also prevalent among travel cards, enabling users to exchange foreign currencies directly before use. Examples include YouTrip cards, Planet SCB cards, and Krungsri Boarding Cards.
Contactless Payment: This e-payment service seamlessly facilitates contactless payments using a variety of methods, including tapping debit, credit, and prepaid cards equipped with PayWave or Tap & Go functionalities, using public transportation cards, or employing NFC-enabled devices linked to payment services like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Garmin Pay.
Digital Currencies: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, USDT, and others enable users to store and manage digital currencies seamlessly through dedicated websites or applications designed to support these crypto assets.
Accepting Electronic Payment for and on Behalf of Sellers, Service Providers, or Creditors
Accepting electronic payments on behalf of a seller, service provider, or creditor means the ability to process customer payments through electronic means, including credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets, and online payment platforms.
Typically, this type of service involves a third-party organization, often referred to as a payment processor or payment gateway, which serves as an intermediary between the business (seller, service provider, or creditor) and the customer to facilitate secure and efficient transactions.
Electronic Funds Transfer ServicesPayment Services That May Affect Payment Systems or Public InterestsElectronic funds transfer (EFT) services are digital financial solutions that empower individuals and businesses to seamlessly send, receive, and manage funds electronically. These services facilitate the transfer of funds between parties, regardless of their location, utilizing electronic methods and digital platforms.
Payment Services That May Affect Payment Systems or Public Interests
Thailand’s FinTech landscape has witnessed a surge of innovative payment services and financial technologies in recent years. These transformative solutions have revolutionized the traditional payment system and significantly impacted public welfare.
Embedded with groundbreaking approaches to financial transactions, these advancements have ushered in a new era of convenience, efficiency, and security, while also presenting both opportunities and challenges for users of all backgrounds. To illustrate the breadth of these innovations, consider the following examples:
Central Bank Digital Currency: CBDC has emerged as a transformative concept, aiming to provide individuals with a secure and efficient payment option. While CBDC holds immense promise, several critical questions remain to be addressed, including potential concerns surrounding privacy, financial inclusion, and monetary policy implications.
The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has taken a proactive approach by initiating Project Bang Khun Phrom, a pilot test designed to evaluate the practicalities of implementing a basic CBDC within a controlled environment. The project commenced in 2022 and is scheduled to conclude in the third quarter of 2023.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending and Crowdfunding: These platforms facilitate direct connections between lenders and borrowers, enabling individuals to invest their funds in lending opportunities while borrowers can access financing options tailored to their specific needs. The decentralized nature of P2P lending eliminates the barriers and inefficiencies associated with traditional banking structures.
Open Banking: A system that enables any financial service provider to access and utilize financial data from other financial institutions through open APIs. The objective of open banking is to foster competition, innovation, and consumer choice by breaking down barriers within the traditional banking industry and facilitating the development of new and innovative financial products and services.
Robo-Advisors: These platforms use machine learning and AI to create personalized investment portfolios that are tailored to each investor's individual goals and risk tolerance.
The Rise of E-Payment in Thailand
Let's take a look at some interesting statistics on e-payment usage in Thailand. These insights will help us stay ahead of the trends and be well-prepared to develop digital products that meet the needs of businesses and Thai consumers. Here are the details:
- E-payment transactions in Thailand experienced a remarkable five-fold increase between 2017 and 2021.
In 2017 alone, the total number of transactions reached a staggering 20.7 billion, with a corresponding transaction value of 460 trillion baht.
- 78% of Thais use mobile/internet banking to make payments.
The Bank of Thailand has revealed that 78% of e-payment transactions in Thailand are made through mobile banking and online banking apps.
- Thais aged 21-40 represent the most active segment of mobile/internet banking users for transfers and payments.
This demographic, characterized by an income level below 30,000 baht/month, engages in an average of over 36 transactions per person per month.
- Thais and Singaporeans can now transfer money to each other internationally through the PromptPay-PayNow service.
The process is just as easy to use as transferring money through PromptPay to someone in Thailand, by simply entering the recipient's mobile phone number.
- Thais can now pay with QR code using Thai banking apps overseas.
Thais traveling to Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Japan can now conveniently pay for goods and services using Thai banking apps such as BBL, BAY, KTB, KBANK, and CIMB.
Safety Precautions When Using E-payment
While e-payment offers a plethora of advantages and incorporates robust security measures, maintaining vigilance remains crucial for users. According to the latest data from the Fiscal Policy Office, call center scam is the most prevalent form of financial fraud in Thailand. This is followed by online fraud, investment fraud, illegal loans, and ghost account opening services.
To safeguard your financial well-being when engaging in e-payment transactions, adhere to these essential safety precautions:
- Security Risks: E-payment systems, or e-payment, carry potential vulnerabilities to cyber attacks, data theft, and fraud. These threats can lead to unauthorized access to user accounts, financial losses, and identity theft.
- Privacy Concerns: The potential for data breaches and unauthorized access to sensitive information raises concerns about the protection of user privacy.
- Technical Issues: Technical errors or system outages can disrupt e-payment services, causing inconvenience and potential financial losses for users.
Build E-payment Solutions Your Users Truly Need
E-payment offers a multitude of benefits and is rapidly gaining popularity. However, crafting a stable, secure, and efficient e-payment system demands seamless integration with your digital product. Our team of experts at Seven Peaks is here to guide you in finding the perfect solution tailored to your users' specific needs. Consult with us today.