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KBank leads internet surge

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Internet banking transactions in Thailand are expected to reach 200 billion baht this year, thanks to the extraordinary growth of smart devices and improved internet infrastructure. 

Kasikornbank’s ‘K-Merchant on Mobile’ service will enable SMEs to use smartphones and tablets as a credit card payment reader. Merchants need to invest 1,000 baht for an mPos device and download a special mobile application.

Money transfers, utility bill payments and prepaid mobile phone refills are the top three services.

"The penetration rate of internet banking in Thailand is 21%, compared with 19% in Malaysia," said Pakorn Partanapat, executive vice-president of Kasikornbank (KBank).

But the rate is still far behind the average penetration rate of 60% in Europe, he said.

Bank of Thailand statistics showed that the country has 8 million internet banking accounts out of 24 million internet users.

"The country's internet banking in terms of accounts and transaction value is projected to continue growing by 15-20% in 2013," said Mr Pakorn.

He said KBank has a 60% share of online banking with 4.6 million accounts. Its combined transaction value is 100 billion baht, half the country's total.

Most transactions are via mobile banking with 2 million accounts, followed by internet banking with 1.6 million users and SMS banking with one million users.

Mr Pakorn said KBank will aggressively promote its digital banking services with the aim of boosting its customer accounts to 6.5 million and increasing internet banking revenue by 30% to 1.3 billion baht next year.

The bank is spending 40 million baht on marketing campaigns to promote its brand under its lifestyle digital banking concept, targeting middle-income and young-generation users.

Early next year, KBank plans to introduce its "K-Merchant on Mobile" service. This will provide a mobile point of sale (mPos) to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) using smartphones and tablets for credit card payments.

The mPos device costs less than 1,000 baht, which is cheaper than a credit card system, and will require no minimum transaction value.

"We expect to earn transaction revenue from the existing 2.6 million SMEs," Mr Pakorn said.

Mobile payments will be one of the key growth drivers in electronic transactions, thanks to more affordable smart devices.

Thailand now has 18 million smartphone users, 25% of whom use mobile internet banking.

Mr Pakorn said Thailand's e-payments are expected to total 66 billion baht this year, with 70% involving KBank.

The top four e-payment services are for airline tickets, shopping, e-commerce and purchases of mutual funds, stocks and insurance.

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