Mobile networks team up for e-payment
Mobile users will be able to conduct money transfers across the three leading mobile networks from next month, thanks to the collaboration of mobile money systems among operators.
The development by the three major mobile operators -- Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (DTAC) and True Move -- is an attempt to nudge the country towards a cashless society.
Starting from Dec 1, mobile users can directly transfer money across the three mobile networks to a receiver simply by entering the receiver's mobile number without a bank account.
The maximum amount of transfers is limited to 10,000 baht per transaction, with maximum transfers capped at 30,000 baht per day.
Operators will charge a fee of five baht per transaction, good until the year-end.
Thailand has 5.5 million e-wallet users. Of the total, 4 million use AIS's mPay service, and the rest use True Move's True Money service.
DTAC plans to roll out its e-wallet service, called Jaew Wallet, next month.
Thailand's mobile payment and e-wallet transactions on the three major mobile operators are expected to be worth 90 billion baht this year.
"The collaboration among the three mobile operators marks an important milestone for the mass adoption of the e-money market in Thailand," said Tongurai Limpiti, deputy governor of the Bank of Thailand.
A report by the Thai Bankers' Association estimates e-payments will allow the country to save 100 billion baht a year incurred from cash transactions after its five-year "Payment Roadmap" through 2019 was completed.
Antonio Corro, MasterCard's country manager for Thailand and Myanmar, said Thailand's prepaid payment instruments including e-wallets, real time payments and mobile payments were expected to account for 59% of all online transactions in 2017, up from 43% in 2012.
MasterCard provides security and authentication systems including interoperability networks under this collaboration, while Thanachart Bank provides the settlement system.
Supreecha Limpikanjanakowit, managing director of Advanced mPay Co, the mobile payment arm of AIS, said the number of mobile subscribers in Thailand exceeds 100 million, but only 5.5 million use e-wallet services.
Wisanu Sricharon, assistant director of True Money Co, said the universal e-wallet could also be expected to widen the opportunities for mobile commerce, particularly among users who do not want online purchases to have any link to a bank account or credit card.
Panthep Nilasinthop, senior vice-president for Total Access Communication, said the mobile payment market had high potential, given the existing 50 million smartphone users.