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Banks, govt push new national e-payment system


BANKS AND other institutions are working with the government to establish a national electronic or e-payment system for the “any ID” funds transfer scheme to reduce the use of cash and facilitate the distribution of public welfare benefits.

“We’re developing our IT system to accommodate the ‘any ID’ money transfers where a registered ID, which can be a national ID or mobile phone number, is used as a reference,” Teeranun Srihong, president of Kasikornbank, said yesterday. 
“In cooperation with other commercial banks via the Thai Bankers’ Association, ‘any ID’ money transfer processes and conditions for registration are being established with a high level of system security,” he said.
Punnamas Vichitkulwongsa, a member of the government’s subcommittee on national e-payments, said more than 90 per cent of all transactions in Thailand are still conducted in cash.
There are significant hidden costs, he said, so the country needs to increase efficiency and cost effectiveness with e-payments, which will also benefit e-commerce and other aspects of the digital economy.
Both e-payments and e-commerce will benefit from the 4G mobile telecoms service that will start later this year, as 4G will be about five times faster than the current 3G, said Punnamas, who is also CEO of Ascend Group.
For the government, e-payments will also make the distribution of public welfare funds to low-income people more efficient since they only need a 13-digit ID number to access the money.
Non-banking enterprises such as telecoms and public transport firms will also be involved in the e-payment system using mobile phone and mass transit services as the starting point.
Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said earlier that the first phase of the national e-payment system would go live in July, allowing people to transfer funds by using their ID cards, mobile numbers or email addresses.
The system will increase tax collection efficiency and facilitate budget allocation to help low-income earners and reduce economic inequality, he said.
The government is finalising the criteria for low-income groups, which may include those who earn no more than Bt300 per day or who have bank deposits of no more than Bt30,000.
When the system is fully implemented in 2018, low-income people will be able to use their ID cards to buy low-priced products subsidised by the government and avail of other benefits.
Companies registering to use the system will enjoy incentives such as paying a lower tax rates, he said.
Teeranun said KBank is developing its computer systems to link to the central database and allow payment via its channels.
“Guidelines have been established for the development of comprehensive systems such as e-invoicing, e-supply chain, e-logistics, to assist customers in business management,” he said, referring to e-tax payments.
“We need to upgrade the electronic channels to better serve customers, while also equipping them with knowledge on the benefits, convenience and safety of electronic transactions to encourage their migration to e-payment use.”
Ascend’s Punnamas said the national e-payment system promises to advance the country’s infrastructure for the digital economy by five to 10 years.
“We will gain from increased transparency, cost efficiency and tax collections,” he said.

Published : April 10, 2016

By : ASINA PORNWASIN, NOPHAKHUN LI