According to a recent report, a leading local money changer has jumped on the digital cash passport bandwagon with the launch of a prepaid travel money card to capitalise on the 38 million tourists spending 2 trillion baht annually.
The Visit Thailand card is a collaboration with a major credit card company and another e-money operator.
The move aims to promote a cashless society, much touted in the government’s Thailand 4.0 initiative, and generates new revenue from merchant fees.
The President and chief executive of the local money changer stated that the company sees potential to promote the Thailand 4.0 scheme through digital payments and better serve customers with the increased safety of using digital money rather than cash.
Tourists can purchase Thai baht with foreign currencies at the company’s branches and top up the card. A new card costs 150 baht and offers lower exchange rates than retail prices.
The CE of the company stated that if tourists still have money on the card at the end of their trip, they can exchange the value for their own currency at the company’s branches before returning home.
The company will soon include a mobile app that lets users check their balance and pay at some stores with a QR code.
The company’s CE stated that it has 100 billion baht in transactions per year and 1 million users per month. The company expects to issue 50,000 Visit Thailand cards within one quarter, aiming to have 5 billion baht in transactions from cardholders in one year.
He noted that by mid-2019, the company will issue a card for outbound tourists for Thais who travel abroad that can help securitise their payments. He added that this new service will enable the company to differentiate itself from its rivals and gain new revenue streams from the 1% merchant fee on sales that will be split between 2C2P Plus and Mastercard.
The chief executive of the other money operator and an e-money provider licensed by the Bank of Thailand said that the money changer is the first of its customers to provide e-money services.
The e-money provider has 20 merchant partners, while over 700,000 merchants accept Mastercard.
The country manager for Thailand and Myanmar at card firm said that Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya ranked in the top 50 visited places in Asia. Bangkok has also ranked as the No.1 global destination in the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index for three straight years.
The e-money provider is the first non-bank partner for the prepaid card. The card company also has 40 million merchants globally.
Thailand still uses cash for 80% of transactions, with the remaining 20% carried out on digital channels. A prepaid travel money card for tourists will encourage merchants to expand their digital payment options.
The CE of the e-money provider stated that 2C2P Plus will increase cooperation with trusted retail and supermarket brands to promote the card to their customers by offering deals and privileges.
By having its own corporate card, the e-money provider can reduce costs from its merchant payment fees paid to banks for credit cards.