By THE NATION
The first of the two systems under development is known as Pay Alert and the other will facilitate escrow transactions. Both systems are expected to get off the ground before the end of this year.
BOT assistant governor Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudhya said that the arrival of the payment systems would mark a continuation in the central bank’s efforts to usher in improved services for retail consumes in the fast growing markets taking in social commerce and e-commerce
Siritida cited the introduction of the PromptPay service for electronic transfers in 2017 as paving the way for yet more services.
A lack of confidence over payment has been regarded as a stumbling block for growth in online sales. For the buyers, some fear that their purchased products won’t be delivered after payment.
For their part, the traders are concerned that they won’t be paid after they dispatch the products. For many transactions, payment on delivery has often been used to address these concerns.
The BOT wants the escrow system that it is having developed to offer a more efficient alternative. The system will enable both parties to secure payments and the purchased products until certain conditions are met. The buyer can make the payment in a centralised system and once the buyer receives the product, the payment is transferred to the seller.
“The escrow arrangement will give comfort to both buyers and sellers and marks an expansion beyond the PromptPay service under the BOT’s roadmap for a payment systems plan. We expect to see it start this year,” Siritida said.
The Pay Alert will be used for both general payments and e-commerce payments. The central bank offers example of a group of people who dine out together, with each of them required to Bt75 for a share of the bill. If Pay Alert is used, a message will be sent to all those in the group advising the amount to pay.
In regard to the central bank’s regulatory sandbox, some 38 projects have participated in the test scheme in five sets of technologies since January 2017. Of these projects, 19 were from financial institutions involving tests on a standardised QR code and 15 of them were allowed to move beyond the testing phase. Some 11 financial institutions conducted tests in biometrics for eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer), of which 10 involved facial recognition and one iris recognition.
The regulatory sandbox programme allows businesses with innovative technologies to run trials with their targets that are strictly supervised by the BOT. The sandbox is part of the BOT’s innovative programme that was launched in January 2017.
In using blockchain for letters of guarantee, eight banks joined the test, while seven state enterprises and business enterprise also took part and three enterprises were tested for international fund transfers. One enterprise was tested for machine learning and another was tested in information exchange between a commercial bank and a financial technology firm for a standardised application programming interface (standardised API).
The ability to identify an individual with facial recognition for account openings at banks and non-bank financial institutions is expected to come out of the sandbox in the second quarter of this year.