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Payment in Thai Baht (THB) using QR codes via ATMs

"Electronic revolution" in Thailand

Thailand initially had all the necessary set of conditions for the rapid growth of payments with the help of QR codes:

  • an underdeveloped cashless payment system;
  • high penetration of mobile internet;
  • ubiquity of smartphones in the society;
  • demand for a convenient way of cashless everyday payments.

However, unlike many other developing countries, Thailand has not limited itself to establishing a single mobile payment system from the Central Bank or a conglomerate of major banks. Several payment projects with the help of QR codes were launched in the country almost simultaneously (within a couple of years).

The largest and the most popular systems are PromtPay, created by the Central Bank of Thailand and Thai QR from the Bank of Bangkok. Both systems link users' accounts to their phone numbers or ID numbers. No other data is required to generate a QR code and make a transfer.

However, the decisive advantage of QR systems is not only their speed and ease of use but the low cost of transactions. The standard for bank cards in Thailand is a commission of 3% of the transaction (for Thai cards; for foreign cards, the commission is even higher). Payments via QR systems are free for individuals.

According to various surveys, 50% to 65% of Thais regularly use QR payments via PromtPay or Thai QR, so, unsurprisingly, they are accepted almost everywhere: from shops and restaurants to street fast food outlets. Also, access to the functionality of these systems has become standard for ATMs in the country.

The other QR payment systems mainly operate only within the network of their originating bank.

International payments in Thai Baht (THB) using QR codes

Thai payment systems with QR codes, primarily PromptPay and QR Thai, have gained considerable popularity in other countries of the region:

  • Cambodia,
  • Vietnam,
  • Malaysia,
  • Indonesia,
  • Singapore.

So far, the integration of payment systems using QR codes into banks in the region is far from 100 per cent, but there is a clear trend towards increasing the share of financial institutions supporting them.

However, there is still the problem of high commissions in "international" versions of Thai payment systems and when transferring funds from Thailand to another country. For regular or, even more so, daily use, cross-border payments in Thai baht using QR codes are frankly expensive. We can only hope that with the growing popularity of the technology and mutual integration of banking systems, the cost of the service will be significantly reduced.

Cash withdrawal in Thai baht (THB) through ATMs using QR codes

Besides making payments and transfers, most ATMs of large banks in Thailand allow cash withdrawal through ATMs using QR codes. It is possible because the ATMs supporting this functionality can generate QR codes and are equipped with a QR code scanner.

The process is straightforward: you log in to your banking application and order a withdrawal of a certain amount at a specific ATM. The application generates a QR code; you approach the ATM and bring the screen with the code to the scanner. After that, you can withdraw cash. There is no need to enter PIN codes or even have a bank card.

Paying in Thai Baht (THB) through ATMs using QR codes for foreigners

Payment systems that use QR codes require a Thai bank account, the opening of which for a foreigner is associated with minor difficulties. The vast majority of banks do not allow foreigners with tourist visas to open accounts (previously, several banks in the country provided this service, but in 2023, the situation changed dramatically). Any other visa (work, student, etc.) is required to open an account.

A small loophole remains for people who have accounts with banks in other ASEAN countries - many of the financial institutions in the region support Thai QR payment systems, including QR Thai and PromptPay.

Exchange QR code in ATM to e-currencies

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© BestChange.com – , updated 11/15/2023
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