Transforming Thailand to a digital economy
PromptPay is a real-time proxy payment service developed by Thai banks and Vocalink, a Mastercard company. Among the fastest growing instant payment services in the world, PromptPay has helped to grow opportunities for small businesses and create a more inclusive economy for Thai citizens.
The Thai government’s vision: A secure digital economy
Thailand has long been reliant on cash and a physical banking infrastructure. While digital payments were available, many small business owners found them too inconvenient or too costly to accept them. Jib, who runs a small food counter in Bangkok, was one of these small business owners who relied solely on cash and often lost sales opportunities as a result.
Working with Thailand’s central bank, the Thai government set out on an ambitious modernisation programme to support a nationwide rollout of digital payments. Their goals: to transform the country’s financial infrastructure, to move the country towards a cashless economy, and to position Thailand as an economic and financial force in Southeast Asia.
A universally accessible, bank-agnostic solution
In collaboration with Vocalink, a leader in instant payments technology, the Thai banks set out to achieve these goals. Vocalink’s solution? A real-time payments infrastructure and proxy lookup service that maps unique recipient identifiers to their bank account details. The service, known as PromptPay, is available through all Thai banks.
Generally speaking, proxies make payments simpler, as customers don’t have to enter complicated details, so there’s less risk of error. With the advent of PromptPay, Thais can now enjoy this convenience, as they can pay anyone from their bank account or digital wallet using a unique recipient identifier such as their phone number, citizen ID or QR code. As a result, Jib is now one of many small business owners who can receive digital payments; customers simply point their phone camera at her QR code and send payments directly to her bank account.
The Thai government and Thai banks’ diligence in identifying different proxies and payment purposes has been key to enabling free and secure digital payments and key to PromptPay’s success.
“We introduced PromptPay … so the customers who don’t carry their wallets can pay [using their phones], which increases our sales opportunities,” says Jib.Read how PromptPay is empowering a generation of entrepreneurs
Universality and ease are central to PromptPay
PromptPay has helped connect the unbanked to the financial ecosystem. For Jib, business is now thriving. PromptPay has also provided her and other small business owners with the confidence and credibility to qualify for loans, get credit and access insurance products through their banks.
According to Ian Gausden, executive vice president for specialist sales at Mastercard, "The launch of PromptPay has acted as a catalyst for innovation in the financial services sector. It has enabled Thailand to propel itself and its people into a position of regional leadership and set an example to developing and developed economies around the world."
Among the fastest-growing payment services globally
Quick to recognise the convenience of PromptPay, Thais have even integrated it into their everyday language, as they’ll frequently say, ‘Let me PromptPay you’, rather than, ‘Let me pay you’.
Latest figures from Bank of Thailand show Thai people and businesses have now registered more than 62.2 million payment proxies — a significant number in a population of just over 70 million. With a more than 100% increase in average daily transactions in the 12 months to August 2021, PromptPay is arguably the fastest-growing real-time payments service in the world.
This innovation has sparked Thais' entrepreneurial spirit
With a seamless national rollout by the banks, PromptPay led to a dramatic reduction in the country’s reliance on its physical banking infrastructure. Its impact was especially positive for small business owners who couldn’t afford or didn’t have access to traditional payment terminals. Many of these owners, like Jib, can now accept payments using a smartphone.
For other countries that are looking to create a more inclusive economy, PromptPay is a stellar example of how to bring financial security, independence and opportunity to their citizens.
To learn more about PromptPay, just ask.