QR Code Emerged as the Most Popular Mobile Payment Method Among Thai Consumers: UnionPay Study

Stocks and Financial Services Press Releases Friday November 30, 2018 13:47
Bangkok--30 Nov--FlieshmanHillard

QR Code emerged as the most popular mobile payment method ahead of P2P transfer and contactless payments. Despite positive outlook towards a cashless society, cash is still dominant. Thai consumers believe it would take 12 years for the nation to go cashless.

Thai consumers in general have a positive outlook towards a cashless society. According to findings from The Future of Payments Study conducted by UnionPay International and Nielsen with 400 mobile payment users in Thailand aged between 18 and 65, seven in 10 respondents (71 percent) would like for the country to go cashless, and six in 10 (61 percent) are 'confident' of living in a completely cashless society.

While Thailand is making a concerted move towards a cashless society by encouraging consumers to use smartphones and tablets to conduct financial transactions, the Study found that mobile payments are also gaining traction in Thailand with more than half of Thai consumers (53 percent) using at least one form of mobile payment in the past three months. On average, mobile payment users in Thailand used 3.1 mobile payment platforms in the past three months, and close to one in four (22 percent) have used the three key mobile payment methods - QR Code, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Transfer and Contactless payments in the same period.


The study revealed that consumers are generally positive about the nation's cashless aspiration, and a majority of the respondents still see value in driving mobile payment adoption within their respective social circles as the nation works towards greater inclusivity in the cashless drive. Around 71 percent of Thai consumers said that they are likely to recommend mobile payments to their family, friends and colleagues, while 91 percent would take the initiative to teach their family, friends and colleagues to use mobile payments if they were resistant to doing so.

"Thailand is accelerating its journey towards a cashless society and mobile payments are becoming a pivotal part of this journey with QR code being the best performer in mobile payment as 75% of respondents have used this type of payment," said Mr Pakee Charoenchanaporn, Director of Consumer Insights, The Nielsen Company (Thailand) Ltd.

Nonetheless, younger Thai consumers (18-21 years old) expressed lower levels of enthusiasm (53 percent compared to the overall average of 70 percent) towards a cashless society, and lower levels of confidence (46 percent compared to the overall average of 61 percent) in living in a cashless society. "For Generation Z, their income and ability to hold financial products are lower than the older age group. The younger generation who does not have the spending power yet; and are less aware of the mobile payment methods available; hence the less positive sentiments towards cashless society/mobile payments," explained Pakee Charoenchanaporn.


When comparing the use of various payment modes, it came as no surprise that cash emerged as the top mode of payment for Thai consumers. This was followed by mobile QR Code, with 75 percent having used this form of payment method in the past three months, and P2P transfer with 67 percent having used this form of payment in the same period.

When asked how long they think it would take Thailand to go cashless, respondents estimated that it would take Thailand around 12 years on average to go completely cashless. In terms of consumer sentiments towards Thailand becoming a cashless society in the near future, less than half (43 percent) said they are confident.

Mr Vincent Ling, Deputy General Manager, UnionPay International South East Asia said "The journey towards a cashless society will not happen overnight. As we continue to accelerate towards this vision, mobile payments will play an increasingly important role in replacing cash, especially for quick transaction. We believe that with the collective steps taken by the key stakeholders and industry players, we can expedite the process of going cashless to less than 12 years. UnionPay believes that our push to enable QR Code for payments will also play an important role in enabling a more inclusive cashless society, as this form of payment allows consumers and merchants to adopt it easily without the need for costly devices or infrastructure."

"The use of mobile payments is clearly on the rise among Thai consumers. Efforts from various parties including the government, financial institutions, payment networks and merchants to drive mobile payments have significantly raised public awareness and increased mobile payment adoption. One of the key factors deterring consumers from adopting QR Code payment is the limited merchant acceptance and fragmented offerings. UnionPay QR Code, based on EMVCo. global standard, is interoperable across 10 million merchants in 24 markets globally. Consumers can enjoy the ease of QR Code payment using a single app." added Vincent.

About The Future of Payments Study

The Future of Payments Study is an online survey conducted by UnionPay International and Nielsen in September 2018 with 400 mobile payment users in Thailand, aged between 18 to 65. The sample includes 100 respondents from the Generation Z (aged 18 to 21), 100 Millennials (aged 22 to 37), 100 respondents from the Generation X (aged 38 to 50) and 100 Baby Boomers (aged 51 to 65), with an equal split among genders.

About UnionPay International

UnionPay International (UPI) focuses on the international business of UnionPay, a global payment network that serves the world's largest Cardholder base. With over 7 billion UnionPay cards issued in 49 countries and regions, over 52 million merchants and 2.6 million ATMs accepting our cards in 171 countries and regions, UnionPay is currently one of the fastest-growing payment networks in the world.

As a company with a global acceptance network and a wide range of world-class payment services, UnionPay is committed to providing access to value and secure payment solutions that are tailored to the needs of the local market, to enable choice and ease of payment for consumers and businesses alike.

In Southeast Asia, UPI has enabled ATM, POS acceptance and card issuance across all 10 countries. In Thailand, UPI partners Bangkok Bank, Bank of China, ICBC Bank, Kasikorn Bank, Kiatnakin Bank, Krungthai Bank and LH Bank to provide a wide array of payment products and services. For more information, visit www.unionpayintl.com.

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