Thai street vendors adopt digital payment system

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Bangkok’s street hawkers, including cloth and food sellers, are joining the digital revolution as some of them started adopting new digital payment systems based on QR bar codes that can be read using smartphones, a quick and easy way to pay for street food and other small items on the go , according to a Reuters report.

The Bank of Thailand last week gave the green light for five banks including Bangkok Bank and Siam Commercial Bank to implement electronic payment systems using QR codes, responding to a global trend.

“The global trend is towards a cashless society as it is more convenient and there is proof of transaction. The QR code system would be most practical in Thailand as less investment is needed on behalf of vendors,” Somsak Khaosuwan, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, told Reuters.

Some street food stalls and other vendors are now displaying QR-payment systems such as PromptPay, while others, especially in Chinatown, are offering payments via China’s highly successful Alipay as well.

However, first reactions of customers were mixed. Some vendors said that older, less tech-savvy people are not willing to use the system, while younger people have no problem to embrace it.

Vendors themselves say that they like the system because they don’t need to worry about finding change, even though there is a small transaction fee for them.

However, the wider use of digital payment transactions for street stalls, which traditionally are an unregulated cash-based small business segment that usually pays no taxes, could bring about two changes: On the downside, with the vendors’ revenue monitored by the corresponding bank, some higher-earning stalls with a good footfall could be liable to income or business taxes. On the upside, with reduced cash amounts the vendors are less likely to fall prey to loan sharks from which most borrow and which they repay on a daily basis at horrendous interest rates, and rather would be more open to use cheaper micro credit facilities instead.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bangkok’s street hawkers, including cloth and food sellers, are joining the digital revolution as some of them started adopting new digital payment systems based on QR bar codes that can be read using smartphones, a quick and easy way to pay for street food and other small items on the go , according to a Reuters report.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bangkok’s street hawkers, including cloth and food sellers, are joining the digital revolution as some of them started adopting new digital payment systems based on QR bar codes that can be read using smartphones, a quick and easy way to pay for street food and other small items on the go , according to a Reuters report.

The Bank of Thailand last week gave the green light for five banks including Bangkok Bank and Siam Commercial Bank to implement electronic payment systems using QR codes, responding to a global trend.

“The global trend is towards a cashless society as it is more convenient and there is proof of transaction. The QR code system would be most practical in Thailand as less investment is needed on behalf of vendors,” Somsak Khaosuwan, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, told Reuters.

Some street food stalls and other vendors are now displaying QR-payment systems such as PromptPay, while others, especially in Chinatown, are offering payments via China’s highly successful Alipay as well.

However, first reactions of customers were mixed. Some vendors said that older, less tech-savvy people are not willing to use the system, while younger people have no problem to embrace it.

Vendors themselves say that they like the system because they don’t need to worry about finding change, even though there is a small transaction fee for them.

However, the wider use of digital payment transactions for street stalls, which traditionally are an unregulated cash-based small business segment that usually pays no taxes, could bring about two changes: On the downside, with the vendors’ revenue monitored by the corresponding bank, some higher-earning stalls with a good footfall could be liable to income or business taxes. On the upside, with reduced cash amounts the vendors are less likely to fall prey to loan sharks from which most borrow and which they repay on a daily basis at horrendous interest rates, and rather would be more open to use cheaper micro credit facilities instead.

 

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