Four fintech firms apply for sandbox

Four fintech firms apply for sandbox

Latest hopefuls both Thai and foreign

Four more financial technology (fintech) firms are in line to seek approval to experiment with their innovative products and services in the Bank of Thailand's regulatory sandbox after recently winning the policymaker's nod, says a central bank senior official.

"We [the Bank of Thailand] have four applications that have requested permission to conduct tests in the sandbox," said Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya, assistant governor of the central bank's payment systems policy and financial technology group.

"The central bank is in the process of reviewing their applications and expects to reach a conclusion within one month."

These four fintech companies and financial institutions plan to offer financial services using new technology such as QR code payments, distributed ledger or blockchain technology, biometrics and machine learning.

The sandbox is a safe space where banks and non-bank players can test and conduct trials on new fintech products and services without the need to fully comply with the regulations, while ensuring consumers are not exposed to risks.

Ms Siritida said that the length of the test, which is proposed by the operator, depends on the complexity of the technology but should be within one year.

She said the four applicants included both local companies and foreign companies partnered with local counterparts.

The central bank opened the regulatory sandbox for applicants early this year, and set up the Fintech Clinic, wherein fintech firms can consult with the central bank on topics such as regulations and the potentials of their business.

Ms Siritida said that there are around 20 fintech companies and financial institutions consulting with the Bank of Thailand at its clinic.

"Other than the technologies mentioned earlier, these companies will also use technologies such as big data, data analytics, artificial intelligence and open application program interfaces (API)," she said.

Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob announced earlier that the central bank already approved Kasikorn Business-Technology Group (KBTG) as the first company to be testing in its sandbox.

KBTG, a technology arm of Kasikornbank (KBank), will be using blockchain technology to certify letters of guarantee, and could use the same technology to certify other documents.

Ms Siritida said that if the company wants to also use blockchain technology to certify other documents such as letters of credit, the company will have to test the product again in the sandbox.

If a technology has already passed testing in sandbox and has been granted licence by the Bank of Thailand, other companies adopting the technology will still be required to conduct testing in the sandbox as back-end operations usually vary from firm to firm, she said.

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