Is cashless society effective in Thailand?
As the technology has been develop and affect to human’s life, it also changes payment system. Digital payment become increasingly use in past decade which makes many people carrying less cash. The reason that more digital transaction increasingly is more people having smart phone. Now, it is in the middle of evolution to cashless society where people are shift change paying with cash into digital.
We cannot deny that cashless society is convenience and comfortable. Cash and coins are the solid object when people carrying cash around, it can be lost or steal. Cashless can prevent this problem because people do not need to carry cash around, it just easily paying in digital form such QR codes and cards. So, people do not need to carry cash around, they only need a valid mobile phone with bank account linked to it. Also, people, who is in cashless society, might not need to withdraw the money from the bank account like ATM or at the bank. Moreover, the cashless payment is more manageable payment as we can see distinct number of money in the bank account and also have history transaction to look what we have transfer in the bank account.
In the meantime, the cashless evolution can create inequalities, difficulties and insecurities. There still have some group of people who cannot afford to be in cashless society due to the extra cost to be able to do digital payment such as smart phone, internet connection, annual payment for cards. So, this allow only wealthy people to get access to the cashless society which going to create digital dystopia. Which means it might create disadvantage for people who get paid by cash like waiter who always gets tips in cash. Also, the people who have no access to participate in cashless economy. So, we still need cash as a major payment and e-payment as an alternative.
Moreover, for some people who are not going well with technology, they might be suffering to step in cashless society. Many more people having a hard time with digital payment. For example, my favorite ice-cream shop near my university campus the seller is an old lady which she refuses to do the digital payment due to the difficulties she has to faced and she is not good at digital. When the costumer pays in digital transaction she does not really know that the money will get into her account or not because some people can be crooked on her. This is just an example that I really met in real life, I believe there is more people who is going to suffering doing the digital transaction not only seller but customer too.
As well as insecurities, cashless society can increase the cybercrime and chance of corruption. The criminal would adapt new way of crime due to the new way of payment. In the beginning of the cashless era, when digital payment is uncommon. There were many crimes happen during that time because of the gap that allows the criminal benefits. Nowadays, some crime activities have been detected and fixed from the development.
Moreover, money transaction can be easily detected. When people put information or do digital activities, it creates disadvantage for the user. Because more information the user put in, it is more likely to be hack due to weak security. Also, there are many words of mouth about insecurity on cyber that affect to many people trust issue on cashless society.
In addition, some facilities and public service are not fully support on e-payment. As we can see, the public transportations are mainly use cash and top-up cards to pay. For example, in 2019, the government was having a campaign #Thaisbuscontctless that allows the passengers to pay in digital transaction such as credit cards, welfare card, e-transport cards, and QR code. However, it quite not going well for many reasons like the target group who take the bus are not the same as the group who tend to do the e-payment. Nowadays, we can barely see the electronic data capture on the bus which means it was not effective for the people who normally take bus. For instance, the other transportation like sky train or as known as BTS is mainly use top-up card which is still not fully e-payment. In addition, most of the shop have the minimum spend to pay with cards, so if the customer just buying a few couple cheap things, they could not pay in cashless.
We have to admit that Thai’s cashless society is behind other country and still use cash as a major payment. Although, Thai’s government are trying to support cashless society but still struggling shift change due to 97% of Thai’s people are mainly use cash. The government and ministry of finance are planning about the digital payment master plan and convert to cashless era. For example, the new digital payment known as “PromptPay” that is more convenience to pay. Moreover, they trying to reduce PromptPay fee to persuade people to use e-payment. However, there still lack in many factors suchcredibility and acceptance from citizen that is hinder the evaluation of cashless society.
In the current situation of COVID-19, people are more likely to use cashless payment more than before. According to the research, the coronavirus can be spread and survive on solid surface which can stay on the cash for 5 days. So, if we need to do financial transaction using cashless would be the recommended ways to reduce the chance of spreading and infecting from coronavirus which is safe and not risking to touch the dirty cash. There are other ways to keep the cash clean as washing cash but it takes many steps to do which is more difficult than cashless way. So, in Thailand after COVID-19 spreader in the country, people are increasingly using the e-wallet and other digital payment to avoid to touching the cash and coins. Moreover, the government gave the welfare for remedial COVID-19 situation which is an e-wallet that the citizen needs to have “Pao-Tang” application that linked to the bank account on smart phone. It is the only way for the citizen the get welfare money for COVID-19, so this probably increase many new users that is the Thai’s citizen to be in the cashless society.
For the past few years, shopping online become popularity in Thailand. For instances, Thailand starting the shopping online with the uniqueness way of buying like direct messaging to the seller to purchase stuff. In order to pay, the customer have to do the transfer so doing transfer payment on mobile banking is the quickest way to make a payment.
As people are increasingly to shopping online, the payment also has to be more done in online transaction. Moreover, the way of shopping online has developed day by day, there are many shopping applications has been created to support and satisfy the user to shopping online. Those application include various way of e-payment for the user such as credit card, banking transfer, mobile banking, and many more partners of the app. This can persuade new user to start using cashless method.
Furthermore, for doing online transaction has many benefits from the partner companies or co-branded, such as it is increasing the partner’s sales, attracting news customer and the advantage for the loyal customer. For example, when we go to eating out at the restaurant, we normally see some credit card which is the partnership via the restaurant will have a special discount or gift for the credit card owner. Coupled with special card with the special parking at the mall so the special customer will be wasting no time for finding car park which is more convenience. Moreover, there is various promotion that appears on online payment not just only credit cards. For instance, if the customer paying with ‘Line BK’, the customer will get 100 bath discounts when they spend up to 300 baths. As you can see, cashless payment partnership has many benefits for the customer which they can save up money in their pocket.
One of the main factors of cashless society is generation gap. For those generation that is not growing up with technology like some of older adults such baby boomer, have to learn and adapt their lifestyle. So, to step in cashless society is one of big step for them to overcome what they used to live with and shift change to cashless era. Teenager and young adult are more likely to use cashless payment more that older adult, as they were growing up and born with technology so they are more comfortable with technology and e-payment. From my own perspective, in my current teenager aged, I personally preferred to make a cashless payment due to the convenience and no need to withdraw a cash. moreover, most of my same age friend are likely to use mobile banking as the first choice of payment due to the simply method to pay and easily to control their pocket money. As I can see, in different generation have a different preferred way to make a payment.
In my own opinion, the cashless payment in Thailand is still not fully effective as the cashless is a common payment. The cashless payment is still an alterative way of payment method. However, Thailand is in the middle of evaluation of cashless era, as the number of new users in cashless society are increasingly grow. So, maybe in 5 or 10 years in Thailand might be fully step in to the cashless society and the cashless payment method are become more commonly use.