Thailand was No.3 globally for real-time payment transactions last year, behind only India and China, driven by the government's support for modern infrastructure, says ACI Worldwide, a real-time payments software provider.
The ranking was revealed in the "Prime-Time for Real Time 2022" report, published by ACI Worldwide in partnership with data analytics firm GlobalData and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
Thailand registered 9.7 billion real-time transactions in 2021, trailing India with 48.5 billion and China with 18.5 billion.
Brazil was fourth with 8.7 billion transactions and South Korea was fifth with 7.4 billion.
The report indicated real-time payments helped to facilitate 2.08% of additional Thai GDP in 2021, the second-largest forecast GDP increase out of 30 countries covered in the report.
The adoption of real-time payments resulted in an estimated cost savings of US$1.3 billion for businesses and consumers last year, which helped to unlock $6 billion of additional economic output, representing 1.12% of Thailand's GDP.
"Thailand is proving how a committed government, aligned with a collaborative financial services sector and the desire for a modern, interoperable infrastructure, can rapidly drive real-time payments for national and global success," said Chee Cheng Ong, head of Asean for ACI Worldwide.
Thailand's success with real-time bulk payments on ISO 20022 is a shining example for the region, he said.
"As the country expands its infrastructure modernisation, the impact on its economy, and its success, will only grow," Mr Ong said.
He said Thailand's real-time payments implementation strategy has delivered the fastest expansion of low-value payment capabilities in Asean, facilitated by a mobile-friendly population and support from the government, such as using real-time payments to disburse government subsidies and funding to farmers.
ITMX, the national real-time payments switching system, co-owned by the largest banks and governed by the Bank of Thailand, has helped modernise parts of the legacy payments infrastructure.
However, Thailand's technology infrastructure remains fragmented, said Mr Ong. While some banks are exploring the latest global messaging standard, ISO 20022 B2B, which enables financial institutions to better share and maximise the use of payments data, others are lagging and shackled to technologies that are fast becoming outdated, he said.
Owen Good, head of advisory for CEBR, said real-time payments improve liquidity in the financial system and act as a catalyst for economic growth. This is especially important for fast-paced and digital-led gig economies, he said.
According to the report, global real-time transactions reached 118 billion in 2021, up 64.5% year-on-year. They are expected to surge to 428 billion in 2026. India, Brazil, China, Thailand and South Korea saw a combined $37 billion in business and consumer-level benefits from real-time payments last year.