BoT: E-payment climb hastening

BoT: E-payment climb hastening

Average user rate to triple on bank's push

A shopper pays for her goods via her QR code app at a SCB–FTI Factory Outlet sale last month. Mobile payments are now one of the fastest growing trends in commerce. (Post Today photo)
A shopper pays for her goods via her QR code app at a SCB–FTI Factory Outlet sale last month. Mobile payments are now one of the fastest growing trends in commerce. (Post Today photo)

Thais are loving their instant digital payments, with use of PromptPay, mobile banking and QR payment codes far exceeding predictions.

The Bank of Thailand expects the average number of e-payment transactions to increase to 150 transactions per user per year, faster than its earlier estimate that it would take a few years to reach the expected transaction volume, said Siritida Panomwan Na Ayudhya, assistant governor for the central bank's payment systems policy and financial group.

The country's average e-payment transaction per person per year stands at 50 now.

The faster-than-expected rise in e-payment transactions is due to expansion of electronic data capture (EDC) terminals and the availability of PromptPay, QR code payment and mobile banking services.

These services are part of the national e-payment scheme, a partnership between state authorities and the private sector.

PromptPay has 42.6 million registrants with a cumulative transaction value of 1.6 trillion baht.

Since the service began in January 2017, 334 million transactions have been made involving money transfer to recipients who tied their citizen ID or mobile phone number to a bank account.

For QR code payment, the number of merchants registered has reached 2 million, though the service has been in operation for less than a year.

The number is expected to continue to rise, particularly in remote upcountry areas.

The central bank will pay more attention to the adoption of digital payment to boost e-payment transactions.

"In the initial stage, we will focus on the supply side by developing products first," Ms Siritida said. "We will pay more attention to the demand side by educating consumers, building up their awareness and drawing them to QR code payment."

Despite the rising usage of digital banking and the diminishing numbers of service branches, financial transactions through brick-and-mortar branches have not declined significantly, she said.

Branch model revamps have been key in maintaining transactions via the physical channel. Banks have applied several models to their traditional outlets to keep up with the demands of each customer group, such as branches for financial advisory services, small and medium-sized businesses or automated banking transactions.

Network relocation is another key factor that helps branches accommodate demand in transactions. Almost all branches have been relocated from stand-alones to dense markets, including shopping malls, which have higher traffic.

As of June, there were a combined 6,734 commercial and foreign bank branches.

Branch numbers have continuously declined from 6,784 at the end of 2017, 7,017 at the end of 2016 and 7,061 at the end of 2015.

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