BBL to lead QR payment for debit cards
Bangkok Bank (BBL) is set to be the country's first bank that offers quick response (QR) code payment for debit cards, with the service expected to be tested out in the Bank of Thailand's regulatory sandbox in the final quarter.
BBL executive vice-president and manager of credit card division Shoke Na-Ranong said the country's largest bank by assets has collaborated with local card network provider, Thai Payment Network (TPN) to develop the system.
Banks, particularly big and mid-sized lenders, are racing to avail first-mover advantages to maintain their existing customer bases and attract new clients amid the digitisation of lifestyles. QR codes afford various payment options: paying with debit or credit cards or via prepaid systems. BBL has around 14 million debit cards in circulation.
Apart from debit cards, BBL plans to expand QR payment services to credit cards in the next phase. It will also add QR code payment features to allow customers to connect up to five debit or credit cards.
The bank has not set a target for its debit card-based QR code payment service. Mr Shoke said BBL will build up consumer awareness, understanding and familiarity with the new payment technology before setting targets.
"If 10% of the bank's total debit card base is using QR payments in the first year after implementation, this is a good response," Mr Shoke said.
In another development, executive vice-president Prassanee Ouiyamaphan said BBL's PromptPay registrations have grown 30-40% since April, which is rapid compared with the slow sign-up pace after its official launch in late January.
PromptPay registrations are expected to rise significantly after the bank's QR code payment service is launched.
Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikornbank are testing out their QR payment systems in the central bank's regulatory sandbox, while other banks expect to follow suit before the service is introduced nationwide. At the moment, several banks are testing their QR code payment in a closed-loop basis at specific places.
Mrs Prassanee said BBL's deposit customer base is around 10 million, of which 4 million or 40% are mobile banking users. Around 3 million mobile banking users have signed up for the bank's PromptPay service.
BBL bank has applied to test its PromptPay QR code payment in the central bank's regulatory sandbox and expects to begin testing next month.
In the initial stages, BBL expects around 2,000 merchants to join the bank's QR code payment testing in several locations, both in Bangkok and other provinces.
BBL shares closed Friday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 186 baht, up 1.50 baht, in trade worth 759 million baht.