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Digital payment in Thailand gets boost from QR code push

Visa, MasterCard and big banks adopting scan-to-pay standard

Thailand has adopted a standardized QR code payment system.

BANGKOK -- Leading Thai banks and international credit card companies will adopt a standardized QR code payment system this year, they said Wednesday, in a move likely to jump-start Thailand's transition away from cash.

Consumers can scan the codes to pay for goods and services via the smartphone app for any bank or credit card company they normally use. The standardized code system means restaurants and other businesses can display a single QR code that works for customers affiliated with any financial institution.

Visa, MasterCard, American Express and UnionPay are among the 20 or so participants. Major local lenders, including Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikornbank, have already rolled out the system on a trial basis for Bangkok businesses like eateries and motorcycle taxis.

The Bank of Thailand, which is leading the charge, aims to spread digital payments for small transactions. While a relatively high proportion of Thai people -- about four-fifths -- have bank accounts, few use credit cards. For everyday payments, cash still reigns.

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