BoT plans QR launch by the end of August

BoT plans QR launch by the end of August

Standard code to ease payment at banks

Consumers can use the standard QR code to make payments with a smartphone. Photo courtesy of Kasikornbank
Consumers can use the standard QR code to make payments with a smartphone. Photo courtesy of Kasikornbank

The Bank of Thailand is set to announce its standardised quick-response (QR) code at the end of this month, allowing consumers to use a single code to make payments through local bank networks.

The standard specifications for QR code payment will aid the country's transformation to a cashless society, in tandem with the Thailand 4.0 model.

The standardised QR code will be applied to the QR code of each bank to support electronic payments, said Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong.

Card-swiping terminals, however, are still essential because not everyone has a smartphone capable of scanning QR codes, he said.

The QR code is a technology that requires lower investment than electronic data capture (EDC) but has higher security because it cannot be faked.

The standardised QR code is seen as a win-win solution for consumers and merchants, as consumers will not need to scan different QR codes in making payments at other banks, while merchants can display only one QR code for such payment.

Yos Kimsawate, head of the Thai Bankers' Association's payment systems office, said recently that online debits would be the first PromptPay function to use the standardised QR code, with an official launch expected in the fourth quarter.

In a related development, Mr Apisak said 184,000 EDC terminals were installed at merchants across the country at the end of June.

Although the number of installed EDC devices is lagging behind schedule, installers voiced confidence that the installations would meet the deadline.

The Finance Ministry recently granted approval to two banking consortiums to install 560,000 credit and debit card terminals under the government's national e-payment scheme by next March.

One consortium comprises Bangkok Bank and KBank, while the Thai Alliance Payment System consists of Siam Commercial Bank, Krungthai Bank, Bank of Ayudhya, Thanachart Bank and TMB Bank.

According to the Finance Ministry's plan, 50% of the 560,000 machines were to be installed by the end of July, 75% by November and the rest by the end of March 2018.

For PromptPay, a cheaper electronic money transfer service than conventional systems, 31.5 million registrants have signed up for the service, of which 23.5 million were linked by citizen ID number and the remaining 8 million by mobile phone numbers.

To encourage e-tax usage, the Finance Ministry is considering incentives for those who file for their tax refund through the e-tax channel.

PromptPay, e-tax and EDC expansion are components of the national e-payment scheme.

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