Electronic payment services are encouraged and supported by the government and relevant agencies as a part of the National e-Payment Master Plan, which consists of 4 parts, as follows: 1. PromptPay scheme (facilitation of electronic fund transfers); 2. Debit card usage expansion scheme; 3. E-Tax program; and 4. Social welfare and government e-payment system.
In the past, electronic payment (e-payment) services in Thailand were regulated by the Royal Decree Governing Control and Supervision of an Electronics Payment Service Business B.E. 2551 (2008). However, since April 16, 2018, the new Payment Systems Act, B.E. 2560 (2017) has been in effect, and entirely repealed the Royal Decree. The act is aimed to facilitate the offering of many new and innovative payment services in Thailand. Under this new act, different types of electronic payment systems and businesses are classified into three types: (1) highly important e-payment systems; (2) designated e-payment systems; and (3) designated e-payment services. To be regarded as an strategic payment system, a system must:
- be a payment system which is a principal infrastructure of the country whose problem or disruption may have systemic effect on the members of the system continually and broadly; and
- be a payment system which handles high value fund transfer or used for clearing or settlement between members.
Generally, any payment systems established or operated by the Bank of Thailand (e.g., BAHTNET and the imaged check clearing system) are deemed to be highly important payment systems. Criteria for designated e-payment systems and designated e-payment services will be further prescribe in form of a subordinate legislation issued by the Minister of Finance, based on recommentions from the Bank of Thailand (BOT). The BOT will be the key regulator of the new Payment Systems Act and will supervise the operation of payment systems and payment services, with the Electronic Transactions Commission supervising information technology security standards. The law grants the BOT the authority to announce rules and regulations relating to:
- minimum financial status and performance;
- business operation standards;
- good governance;
- risk management;
- collection and disclosure of a customer’s personal data;
- customer protection; and
- security systems.
In 2017 there were appromimately 4,167 million e- payment transactions, amounting to Baht 341,136 billion. To facilitate FinTech development, the BOT has issued FinTech Regulatory Sandbox Guidelines that allow relevant business operators to experiment with their products or services to customers within limited areas or environments under more lenient rules, as prescribed by the BOT on a case by case basis. A qualified FinTech company may apply to participate in such Sandbox.
Athistha (Nop) Chitranukroh
Piyanuj (Lui) Ratprasatporn