Nearly 500,000 EDC terminals have been installed under the national e-payment scheme.

All state agencies will be required to make and receive payments through the electronic system from March 27, a crucial step in transforming Thailand into a less cash-reliant economy.

State enterprises will also adopt electronic payment and receiving systems over the next six months, Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said after a meeting with the steering committee on the national e-payment system.

The requirements will prompt more people to send, pay and receive money through the digital channel.

The steering committee agreed to the requests for payment systems, which will make payment once products or services are delivered to buyers, for e-commerce business, Mr Apisak said, adding that the system can boost confidence in buying products from online vendors and prevent e-commerce fraud.

The committee also agreed to develop a payment app for smartphones so that holders of welfare smart cards in remote areas where there are no electronic data capture (EDC) terminals can buy goods at Thong Fah Pracha Rat shops.

It is not worthwhile for shops in remote areas to install the card-swiping devices, Mr Apisak said, due to the low numbers of users, but EDC terminals are required for payment through welfare smart cards. The app, once developed, will fill the gap.

Nearly 500,000 EDC terminals have been installed under the national e-payment scheme, but only 20,000 have been installed at Thong Fah Pracha Rat shops.

Mr Apisak said the government plans to spend 200 million baht to install an additional 20,000 EDC terminals at Thong Fah Pracha Rat shops to accommodate use by holders of welfare smart cards.

Under the first phase of the government’s welfare and subsidy scheme, the government transfers 200-300 baht a month to each welfare smart card. Recipients earning less than 30,000 baht a year get a monthly allowance of 300 baht, while those with annual earnings of 30,000-100,000 baht receive 200 baht to buy discounted goods at Thong Fah Pracha Rat shops.

Moreover, the government, under the second phase of the scheme, will distribute an additional 100-200 baht a month through smart cards to the recipients who sign up for the government’s skill training programmes from next month.

The committee also endorsed the Stock Exchange of Thailand implementing a two-day settlement cycle (T+2) from March 2 onwards.

The new settlement system will shorten stock payment and settlement to two days after transaction from three days, a duration that has been the norm for decades.

News Reporter

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