Thailand's standard digital payments scheme attracts major card brands

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Mastercard, Visa and Union Pay International have developed a standardized QR code platform for payments in the country in a move to support the Bank of Thailand's cashless agenda.

The three card companies are introducing the QR code system for banks and merchants with a planned rollout by the end of the third quarter this year. In addition, consumers in Thailand will be able to make payments through the QR code app at any location globally in which that payment standard has been adopted.

To make a payment, any consumer holding a Mastercard, Visa or Union Pay card will use the mobile Standardized QR Code app to scan merchant-presented QR codes. The system will work on smartphones and feature phones that have a camera.
"Our own research shows that 50% of young consumers across Southeast Asia would use the QR code straightaway, and we believe this reflects the demand in Thailand," Donald Ong, country manager for Thailand and Myanmar at Mastercard, said in a May 9 press release.

"This demand will grow further as the technology is rolled out at small shops across the country, and includes bill payments and cash on delivery as well," Ong said.

The platform allows consumers to scan different QR codes, but not different ones for each type of card they may use. Consumers will need to display only one QR code at the storefront or through the acquiring bank's mobile application.

"By enabling consumers and merchants to pay and process QR codes easily and securely, this will accelerate development of the local payments industry as we continue to work with the Bank of Thailand on payment solutions that will benefit the people," Wenhui Yang, general manager for UnionPay International in Southeast Asia, stated in the release.

The code platform "has the potential to support and strengthen the Thai economy and help Thailand become a truly cashless society," Yang added.

The trend for digital payment options in the country has picked up recent steam with Siam Commercial Bank two months ago revealing plans to develop a mobile payment app for consumers to use for entertainment spending as well as banking.

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Contactless payments Visa Mastercard China UnionPay Thailand