SCB eliminates SME digital banking fees
Gimmick aims for migration online
Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) has taken the lead in waiving digital banking transaction fees for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers to encourage them to migrate to the online platform.
The fee waiver is offered to SMEs with annual sales of up to 75 million baht, said Apiphan Charoenanusorn, the bank's co-president. To be eligible for the free digital transactions, SMEs must have a current account, called Manee Mungkung, with the bank.
The fee waiver is part of the bank's campaign "SME Fighto", with a special interest rate for current accounts of up to 1% per year, with monthly interest payment and free access to co-working space and business development seminars.
Mrs Apiphan said the fee waiver includes cross-bank money transfers, inter-provincial cheque deposits, and fund transfers through the Bahtnet system.
Even though the fee waiver would lower the bank's transaction fees from the SME segment by around 100 million baht per year, it would open new business opportunities for the bank such as facilitating product cross-selling, expanding the customer base, and creating new businesses for customers, she said.
"This move is similar to the digital transaction fee waiver for retail clients, which also led to new business opportunities," said Mrs Apiphan.
In 2017, the bank made waves by cutting fees for digital transactions for individual customers. The strategy saw users of its mobile banking app, SCB Easy, grow to 10 million now.
SCB's non-interest income fell by 9.7% for the six months through June to 20.4 billion baht from a year earlier, but it has been offset by new business income on the digital platform.
She said the bank expects its SME customer base to grow by 100,000 under the campaign.
The 1% interest rate for current accounts should attract entrepreneurs amid the low-rate environment, where savings accounts offers a mere 0.5% interest rate per year, said Mrs Apiphan.
Of the 10 million SCB Easy users, 200,000 are SMEs.
SMEs contribute to the economy across manufacturing, provision of products and services, she said.
They provide a key connection to larger operations in the business and manufacturing sectors, said Mrs Apiphan.
Some 99.8% of Thai companies are SMEs and their employment accounts for half of the country's workforce, while 70% of their production is sold domestically.