SuperRich offering digital cash passport
SuperRich Currency Exchange (1965) Co, a leading local money changer, has jumped on the digital cash passport bandwagon with the launch of a prepaid travel money card to capitalise on the 38 million tourists spending 2 trillion baht annually.
The Visit Thailand card is a collaboration with Mastercard and e-money operator 2C2P Plus Co.
The move aims to promote a cashless society, much touted in the government's Thailand 4.0 initiative, and generates new revenue from merchant fees.
"SuperRich sees potential to promote the Thailand 4.0 scheme through digital payments and better serve customers with the increased safety of using digital money rather than cash," said Piya Tantivachyanon, president and chief executive of SuperRich.
Tourists can purchase Thai baht with foreign currencies at SuperRich (orange) branches and top up the card. A new card costs 150 baht and offers lower exchange rates than retail prices.
"If tourists still have money on the card at the end of their trip, they can exchange the value for their own currency at SuperRich branches before returning home," Mr Piya said.
The company will soon include a mobile app that lets users check their balance and pay at some stores with a QR code.
Mr Piya says SuperRich has 100 billion baht in transactions per year and 1 million users per month. The company expects to issue 50,000 Visit Thailand cards within one quarter, aiming to have 5 billion baht in transactions from cardholders in one year.
"By mid-2019, SuperRich will issue a card for outbound tourists for Thais who travel abroad that can help securitise their payments," Mr Piya said. "This new service will enable us to differentiate ourselves from our rivals and gain new revenue streams from the 1% merchant fee on sales that will be split between 2C2P Plus and Mastercard."
Piyachart Ratanaprasartporn, chief executive of 2C2P Plus, an e-money provider licensed by the Bank of Thailand, said SuperRich is the first of its customers to provide e-money services.
2C2P Plus has 20 merchant partners, while over 700,000 merchants accept Mastercard.
Donald Ong, country manager for Thailand and Myanmar at Mastercard, said Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya ranked in the top 50 visited places in Asia. Bangkok has also ranked as the No.1 global destination in the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index for three straight years.
2C2P Plus is the first non-bank partner for the prepaid card. Mastercard also has 40 million merchants globally.
Thailand still uses cash for 80% of transactions, with the remaining 20% carried out on digital channels. A prepaid travel money card for tourists will encourage merchants to expand their digital payment options.
Mr Piyachart said 2C2P Plus will increase cooperation with trusted retail and supermarket brands to promote the card to their customers by offering deals and privileges.
By having its own corporate card, 2C2P can reduce costs from its merchant payment fees paid to banks for credit cards.