Imagine that you’re a business owner whose day-to-day running of the business depends on depositing and pulling out funds on a regular basis. But because you are located fifty miles away from the nearest bank, you spend a considerable part of your life traveling for miles just to do a simple transaction. Not only is this tiresome but it also takes away the time that you could have spent managing or growing your business. Such a situation may seem inconceivable to some of us who run businesses and are used to seeing banks and ATMs at every corner but it is a reality for a lot of people especially in emerging markets.
Take Thailand for example – businesses and entrepreneurs in Thailand face severe challenges to growth as a result of lack of access to financial infrastructure and expensive fees for using simple and secure financial solutions. Thailand’s main interbank payments provider National ITMX worked with Vocalink, a Mastercard company to launch PromptPay, a real-time payments system for the Thai market to solve the problem.
With PromptPay, micro-businesses can accept payment for their services or goods via their mobile phones without having to accept cash on delivery. It provides a safe and secure way to pay and get paid and also eliminates transaction fees on what often turns out to be low-value purchases –this is especially valuable to low-income users. For those wanting to start their own business, PromptPay provides them with the reassurance that there’s a way to get paid with very little risk attached.
Real-time payments, combined with the popularity of social media marketplaces has also allowed anyone with a smartphone to become an entrepreneur. Research amongst PromptPay users indicate that real-time payments have given people the confidence to take second jobs and work when it’s convenient for them – a true bonus for people needing that additional income. Another impact of PromptPay is that it allows women to work from home, allowing them to create and run businesses while taking care of their households.
Since its launch in January 2017, the impact of PromptPay has been significant. Over half of the population registered; that’s 40 million people with over 173 million transactions and 700 billion baht ($22 billion) in money transfer value.
From selling bike parts to teeth whitening products, the instant transfer of funds via PromptPay is not only revolutionizing the way business is done now but is also enabling and supporting a whole new generation of entrepreneurs. With smart phone penetration expected to increase to 43% by 2022 in Thailand, the world will watch closely to see how the Thai nation continues to rapidly evolve and progress as a result of real-time payments.