7,000 state agencies preparing e-payments

7,000 state agencies preparing e-payments

Aim to reduce Thai cash usage by 50%

An electronic data capture device at the Administrative Court, which allows people to pay court fees and fines via e-payment. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD
An electronic data capture device at the Administrative Court, which allows people to pay court fees and fines via e-payment. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD

Some 7,000 state agencies are set to fully use the e-transaction system for money transfers and social welfare payments to citizens starting in June, says the Comptroller-General's Department.

The Finance Ministry mandated state agencies adopt an electronic payment system instead of cash and cheques starting from March 27, said director-general Suttirat Rattanachot.

The 7,000 state agencies have gradually installed electronic data capture (EDC) machines and are able to make payments via QR code, said Ms Suttirat.

A dual payment system for e-payments and cash is permitted in the initial stage, but all state agencies must fully receive and expedite payment through an electronic system by June, she said.

Apart from receiving and making payments with citizens, fully adopting electronic systems for money transfers between different state agencies and transferring tax money to provincial treasuries is also in the works, said Ms Suttirat.

The Comptroller-General's Department will disburse social welfare to the elderly and handicapped people next month via an online system. The transition will begin with 1 million recipients in Bangkok, with the 9 million other qualified citizens nationwide coming next, she said.

Payong Srivanich, president and executive director of Krungthai Bank, said 6,000 EDC machines have been installed at state agencies nationwide, with most agencies equipped with one EDC machine per agency.

But some agencies have asked for installation of more than one EDC machine to ramp up e-payments.

Thais can make payments using debit cards, credit cards, and QR codes from every bank, as well as social welfare cards, said Mr Payong.

Krungthai Bank issued a KTB Cash Card with a specified amount of installed credit of either 100, 500 or 1,000 baht, along with a top-up card which has a limit of 200,000 baht.

The card can be used at EDC machines free of charge, he said.

Separately, Somchai Sujjapongse, the finance permanent secretary, said there has been a 10-20% drop in cash usage since the government initiated the national e-payment project.

This is reflected through a greater amount of payments being made through EDC machines, PromptPay money transfers and debit cards, said Mr Somchai.

It is hoped that cash usage in Thailand will be reduced by 50% once the four modules of the national e-payment project are fully implemented, he said.

PromptPay is considered to be the first module of the national e-payment project, with payment made through EDC machines anticipated as the second module.

Giving low-income people access to social welfare through electronic cards is the third module, while linking card transactions with the Revenue Department's tax system is the fourth.

Thailand could reduce cash management costs by up to 70 billion baht per year if all modules are applied, said the Finance Ministry.

The Thai Bankers' Association is also holding talks with state-owned financial institutions on co-investing in developing digital identity authentication, such as biometric scans, to help prevent cybersecurity crimes, said Mr Somchai.

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