A motorcycle taxi driver stands in front of the board advertising SCB’s QR code payment service which is available for payment to motorcycle taxis in Phahon Yothin area. WEERAWONG WONGPREEDEE.

Consumers will be able to use standardised quick response (QR) code payment on their smartphones to pay for purchases at shops, street vendors and motorcycle taxis starting in the fourth quarter of this year.

Yesterday, the Bank of Thailand teamed up with five international payment networks and financial service providers in Thailand to roll out a standardised QR code for payment.

With the single QR code, merchants can display only one QR code to collect payment. Given the convenience, digital payment is expected to gain a strong footing and hasten the electronic payment era in Thailand.

Thanks to the national e-payment initiative, digital payments have grown at a faster pace and played a greater role in daily purchases in recent years.

QR code payment can be used with credit and debit cards, e-wallet and bank savings accounts.

“As the QR code payment service is an innovative service, each operator will have to test their system in the regulatory sandbox before being launched to the public,” said Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob.

Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) and Kasikornbank (KBank) are testing out their QR payment systems in the central bank’s regulatory sandbox.

“The implementation of standardised QR code payment will depend on the readiness of each operator. The system is expected to have a public launch in the fourth quarter this year,” he said.

Mr Veerathai said another six commercial banks are in the process of submitting applications to test their QR code payment systems in the sandbox. These banks include state-owned Government Savings Bank, Thanachart Bank, Bank of Ayudhya, Bangkok Bank (BBL) and Krungthai Bank (KTB).

The sandbox tests will focus on the accuracy of transactions, security of the system and customer protection to ensure reliability when it is commercially launched, he said.

QR code payment systems are safer to use as customers don’t need to give a credit or debit card to the merchant, said Mr Veerathai.

“Businesses could also use information from such payments to apply for loans, following the information-based lending that has been adopted in many countries,” he said.

Many banks are eagerly testing their QR code payment in a closed-loop basis at specific places, and they have different choices for payments: pay now with debit, pre-pay with a prepaid system, or pay later with credit cards.

Arak Sutiwong, SCB’s senior executive vice-president, said the bank is testing QR code payment in the sandbox at several locations, particularly Chatuchak weekend market. Chatuchak market is a comprehensive ecosystem for digital payment as it is a high-traffic area for both users and merchants, covering street vendors, merchants and small and medium-sized enterprises.

SCB targets a 20-25% market share in QR code payment in terms of users, merchants, transactions and volume.

The bank’s PromptPay individual customers number 4 million and it wants to reach 6 million by year-end.

Supaneewan Chutrakul, KBank’s first senior vice-president, said the bank aims for 200,000 merchants to accept the bank’s QR code payment in its first phase. Some 2,000 merchants are joining a trial of the bank’s innovative payment service.

Prassanee Ouiyamaphan, executive vice-president of BBL, said the bank will offer a single QR code to both users and merchants. It expects to enter the central bank’s regulatory sandbox next month and roll out digital payment in the fourth quarter this year.

KTB president Payong Srivanich said the bank’s digital payment platform including QR code technology will serve both its existing clients and underserved people, in line with government policy. KTB plans to issue 11.7 million smart cards for the government’s welfare scheme.


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