No cash, no problem
The 2018 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes indicates strong signs Thais are happy to forgo banknotes for the ease and convenience of digital payments. Eighty percent of people in the country surveyed for said they had tried using digital transactions systems last year, representing a boost of 50% in the number of respondents who had been asked the question a year before.
Less baht in hand, but more options
The trend is led by industry allowing for easier access to and promotion of payment systems involving debit and credit cards, QR payments and smartphone apps. The study says that 40% of Thais carry less currency notes that they did just two years ago, a rise of 15% among those who answered yes to this question in the previous survey. Besides convenience, safety was also cited as a key reason for the popular rise of cashless transactions. The shift in attitudes is also reflected in how 45% of respondents report that they could forgo cash for at least three days due to their increased familiarity with and the normalization of digital transactions. Stakeholders in various businesses are encouraged by the findings, and all the more galvanized to continue plans towards transforming Thailand into a cashless society.
No cash… No problem?
Companies are scrambling to align with the surge in online shopping – or should be. Cashback sites bringing together opportunities to buy a variety of products and services are making it just as easy to buy groceries as to book air tickets to just about anywhere. Yet for those on the margins, getting in on the trend remains challenging, when taking into account findings in the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2018, which reports that the richest 1% of Thais control two-thirds of the country’s wealth, a higher percentage than in any of the 40 countries covered in the report, and surge of almost 10% since the previous report. While the study also lists Thailand among a few countries as “notable cases for emerging wealth”, income equality is an issue to consider if society as a whole is to take full advantage of the benefits of a cash-free lifestyle.
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