Non-cash transactions becoming more immersive in Thailand

With Thailand’s central bank giving the go ahead, non-cash transactions are being adopted by even street vendors in Bangkok.

Technology’s ubiquity has spread to even street food vendors in Bangkok where they are now accepting payments through Quick Response (QR) barcodes that can read by smartphones.

Thailand, famous for its street stall that offer everything from clothes to stir-fried noodles, is increasing the penetration of the digital revolution after five of its banks, including Siam Commercial Bank and Bangkok Bank, got the go ahead, last week, from its central bank, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to implement electronic payment systems using QR codes.

“The global trend is towards a ‘cashless society’ as it is more convenient and there is proof of transaction. The QR code system would be most practical in Thailand as less investment is needed on behalf of vendors,” said Somsak Khaosuwan, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society.

In Bangkok’s Samyan Market, which sells everything from vegetables to handbags, vendors said QR codes have become very popular. However, some shoppers still prefer to use cash.

“I don’t need to worry about finding change,” said Kitti Khoonphisitwong, 40, a dried-fruit vendor. “But most customers, especially older people, find the app a hassle”.

Young shoppers, in their 20s and 30s, are more inclined to use the system.

“I often shop online so I have no issue with digital transactions,” said Thanachanok Teesakul, 20, a student.

However, scams using fraudulent QR codes have been on the rise in China.

Thailand needs to ensure stronger QR payment systems, said Somsak.

“We need to make people feel comfortable in using the system,” said Somsak.

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