Consortiums get nod for EDC
Two banking competitors have been granted approval by the Finance Ministry to install 557,055 credit and debit card swipe terminals under the government's national e-payment scheme.
One consortium comprises Bangkok Bank (BBL) and Kasikornbank (KBank), while the other -- called Thai Alliance Payment System -- consists of five banks: Siam Commercial Bank, Krungthai Bank, Bank of Ayudhaya, Thanachart Bank and TMB Bank.
Under the terms of reference, the first phase will see 18,000 electronic data capture (EDC) terminals completely installed at government premises by September this year to facilitate all of the government's payments through electronic channels, said Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong.
The remaining EDC terminals will be installed by March next year.
The two consortiums will charge merchant fees at 0.55% of transaction value, the world's cheapest rate to encourage vendors to accept electronic payments, Mr Apisak said.
Banks at the moment impose a merchant fee for ECD terminal services of 1.5-2.5% of transaction value.
The installers will require only deposits to be guaranteed for device damages and waive monthly rental and installation costs for the EDC terminals, Mr Apisak said.
There are around 54 million debit cards and 400,000 EDC terminals nationwide.
The EDC per capita is considered to be low compared with more developed countries, while debit card usage also remains low.
Mr Apisak said in the next phase EDC terminals be enhanced to accept payments through other types of cards including mass transit and social welfare cards.
The government has also offered a set of incentives to draw merchants to accept electronic payments, he said, adding that the Finance Ministry allows vendors equipped with the new EDC terminals to deduct twice the merchant discount rate in expenses from their taxable income until Dec 31, 2021.
BBL's president Chartsiri Sophonpanich said the BBL-KBank consortium is ready to install EDCs nationwide.
It plans to offer incentive packages to lure consumers to e-payments, and focus on changing people's behaviours, he said.