E-payment Launched in Thailand

Thailand launched the first e-payment system in Southeast Asia.

A collaboration among the Finance Ministry, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) and commercial banks has resulted in the launch of the customer-to-customer (C2C) electronic payment system. The e-payment was launched last January 27 according to schedule. On March 1, the next step will be carried out namely the business-to-business platform (B2B).

Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong confirmed the successful launch of the system following an initial delay. The C2C e-payments was supposed to be launched last October. However, because of technology difficulties, the release was postponed. The Thai Bank Association (TBA) incorporated new technology into the system before deeming it ready this month.

The C2C e-payment system was developed by the collective effort of the Finance Ministry, the BoT, and TBA. Mr Apisak emphasized how C2C will help in achieving the goal of Thailand to become a cashless society.

Thailand is currently implementing Thailand 4.0, an economic model that focuses on innovation and technology to improve business and grow the fintech industry. Under Thailand 4.0 Thais will have increased income while businesses will start giving importance to the digital industry.

Mr Apisak commented on the matter saying, “We [the Finance Ministry, the BoT and the TBA] have been working hard over the past year to push the development to reach this point. It is very important, as every country in the world is moving in this direction, and we are the first country in Southeast Asia to be able to launch an e-payment system.”

Meanwhile, B2B, slated to be launched by March, has already started accepting clients. Commercial banks have started employing trade register number and setting up B2B accounts. Services will be officially available on the 1st of March.

The Revenue Department will start accepting tax invoices via email at the same day of B2B’s launch. Mr Apisak expressed enthusiasm saying, “In the future, the e-tax system will be geared towards a fully comprehensive digital system.”

Capital markets will, however, have to wait. The national e-payment system will need 12-18 months for system adjustments to be able to integrate it to the market clearing and settlement system.