More Thais are going cashless during the Songkran holidays according to Visa

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Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, has revealed that cashless payment options offering greater security, speed and convenience are changing the way Thais are choosing to pay during Songkran, with Visa cardholders making 15 percent more transactions and spending six percent more during the 2019 holiday period compared to the year prior.

The data indicates more Thais are embracing digital payments for making purchases both in stores and online as the country is pushing towards becoming a less-cash society.

Suripong Tantiyanon, Country Manager for Visa Thailand said: “This spending data validates the steady progress of the nation towards becoming a less-cash society. Thai consumers are becoming increasingly confident in using digital payments, supported by the governments push for the adoption of e-payments.”

Travelling inland or abroad has become a notable trend during the Songkran holiday period. The data revealed that 39 per cent of Thai Visa cardholders spent within Thailand, 57 percent used their Visa cards in their residential provinces and 4 per cent made purchases abroad with Visa cards during the holiday season.  Interestingly, the number of Thais that used Visa cards outside of country increased 20 per cent compared to previous year.

On travelling abroad, Thailand-issued Visa cards were used most in Japan, followed by South Korea, the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong. Taiwan and Australia gained in popularity among Thailand-issued Visa cardholders with more than 20 percent growth in transactions over the previous year. Top spending categories for Thais travelling abroad included retail goods, apparel and accessories, lodging, department stores and restaurants.[2]

Thailand also experienced an increase in spending from international visitors during the holiday season, recording a four per cent increase from the previous year[3]. The increase in transaction on Visa cards can be attributed to travellers from the United States, United Kingdom, China, Germany, Australia, Japan, Russia, France, Singapore and India.  Interestingly, this is the first time India has made the top-ten list of spending on Visa cards by inbound travellers. Once in Thailand, international travellers mainly chose to pay with Visa at top Thai destinations, which included Greater Bangkok, Phuket, Chonburi, Chiang Mai, and Surat Thani.

Visa cardholders residing in the Greater Bangkok area mainly used their cards in Chonburi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ayutthaya, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Nakhon Ratchasima. Visa cardholders living outside the capital region recorded similar spending patterns with their top destinations being Greater Bangkok, Chonburi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Rayong[4].

Notably, the number of transactions made on Visa cards in Chonburi, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Rayong increased over 20 percent from 2018. Top spending categories for Thais staying and travelling within Thailand during the period included fuel, food and grocery, restaurants, retail goods, and home improvement and supplies.

 “We are excited to see the greater adoption and usage of digital payments among Thai consumers.  It is our hope that by sharing these insights, the payment industry at large can leverage this data for developing products and services that meet the ever-changing demand of Thai consumers, ultimately accelerating the country toward a less-cash society,” Suripong concluded.