Would Thailand be the next cashless society?
It’s entirely possible. Thailand plans to launch a unified e-payment system that will be implemented on a national level. If it succeeds, the Southeast Asian country could very well be the region’s first cashless nation. This means all transaction will be done online including paying for bills, purchasing goods and services, and getting compensation.
The government of Thailand is set to sponsor an e-payment system later this year in time to become the e-commerce leader in Asia. There will be two phases for the plan. The first phase is the launch phase where the major Thai banks will introduce PromptPay, an electronic money service that uses peer-to-peer transfers. The second phase, meanwhile, is incorporating the network into the daily transactions of Thais by allowing the use of PromptPay as a payment method for buying goods and services, paying income tax returns, and other transactions.
According to managing director of Joyfulness, Kulthirath Pakawachkrilers, “Thailand will be the hub of e-commerce and e-payments among ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2017.” Joyfulness is a technology consulting firm headquartered in Bangkok.
Thailand’s current e-commerce market is composed of approximately 11 million consumers with a value of $58.4 billion for the year 2015. Online transactions increased by 3.65% from the year before. According to Sebastien Lamy, partner at Bain and Company, these numbers are expected to grow twice in the coming three to five years. With an online consumer base already this big, Thailand plans to take advantage by going cashless.
The unified e-payment system will not only change the way Thais go about in their daily lives, it will also boost the social media commerce of the country. With Thailand’s rich culture and various offerings, investing in e-commerce expands its customer reach to go beyond the locals. This move is expected to go live by 2017 and is part the government’s efforts to take advantage of potential that e-commerce is bringing to the world and to Thailand itself.