Thailand and Vietnam regional leaders in going cashless


Thailand and Vietnam are leapfrogging over wealthier economies in Southeast Asia in their efforts to create cashless economies, according to a recent report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that reflected well on the Kingdom’s drive towards digital development.

“Vietnam and Thailand are experiencing a boom in mobile payments as more people use e-wallets to pay for goods and services without going through an intermediary like a bank,’’ the report said.

Thailand has the largest mobile payment penetration rate in the region at 67 percent, according to PwC. The report said that mobile banking is flourishing among Thais, many of whom do not have credit cards or checkbooks. Last March, the country’s four largest banks reduced fees for account holders engaging in internet and mobile transactions. Some smaller banks followed in their footsteps.

The big four Thai banks are Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank, Siam Commerical Bank, and Krung Thai Bank.

“These trends are in line with the Thai government’s plan to help the country’s cash-driven economy go cashless. More digital payments would generate a record of transactions that could help small and midsize businesses get access to bank loans,’’ wrote the Nikkei Asian Review.

Creating a cashless economy is part and parcel of Thailand 4.0, the 20-year national strategy to create a more advanced economy and society in which higher technologies, research and development, innovation, creativity, and green businesses would be major drivers of growth.

PwC said that Singapore and Malaysia have lower penetration rates in mobile payments despite government efforts to wean people off cash.