E-payments to spread in 2017
Thailand will be one of the fastest-growing markets for e-payments in Asean after the system's imminent launch nationwide, thanks to government support, says a US e-payment systems giant.
"The e-payment market in Thailand will see rapid growth in 2017, as the government has pledged to boost the service nationwide," said Steve Aliferis, president of Verifone Asia-Pacific.
As of December 2016, Thailand had 475,000 electronic data capture (EDC) devices. The Thai government aims to almost double the number of EDCs to 800,000 in 2017.
Indonesia and Vietnam are also moving towards becoming cashless societies.
In developed countries such as Australia, e-payments account for up to 70% of payments, with 30% made in cash, Mr Aliferis said.
In order to promote the wider adoption of e-payments, the government should offer special subsidies for EDC terminals to small operators and shops, he said.
Glen Robson, executive vice-president of Verifone Inc, said the next generation of EDC devices will have the ability to support various wireless capabilities from mobile SIM cards to WiFi.
The use of biometric and authentication technologies, particularly fingerprint readers, will be included in the next wave of EDC terminals.
Mr Robson said Verifone plans to introduce three EDC products in Thailand this year, with three price ranges: entry-level, mid-range and high-end. The new products will be equipped with analytical capabilities and cloud computing systems.
Mr Aliferis said consumers and businesses are pursuing cashless payments, due to the proliferation of technologies such as smartphones and internet access.
In addition, the instant-payment technologies that have emerged to support online transactions, including non-bank peer-to-peer mobile payment apps, digital wallets and virtual currencies, are further spurring increases in cashless payments by providing payment methods that are widely available even in countries where many consumers lack bank accounts.
Verifone processes 7.6 billion transactions a year through 30 million devices worldwide. The company reported revenue of US$2 billion in 2016.