Finance to debut e-money zones in Northeast

Finance to debut e-money zones in Northeast

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A model shows a sales slip and EDC (electronic data capture) equipment during a promotion of the government’s electronic payment system, intended to cut financial management costs.

The Finance Ministry plans to introduce e-money zones in shopping areas of selected northeastern provinces to promote a cashless society, permanent secretary Somchai Sujjapongse said on Wednesday.

He had asked governors of some northeastern provinces to choose wet markets and walking streets where e-payment devices could be installed, Mr Somchai said.

The Finance Ministry would then have contractors install electronic data capture (EDC) terminals at shops there free of charge, to enable e-payments.

Mr Somchai said the ministry would also introduce e-payment at its food centre, where a facial recognition system would enable customers to make cashless payments.

About 150,000 EDC terminals had been installed nationally, up from 110,000 terminals last month, he said. About 90,000 were at shops. The Finance Ministry planned to have 550,000 EDC terminals installed by March next year.

It is part of the national e-payment project to encourage people to shift from cash to debit cards.

Financial institutions had 54.2 million debit cards on issue, which were used for about 5.5 million transactions each month, worth about 10 billion baht, he said. The number of transactions had risen 30% year-on-year.

The Finance Ministry expects the national e-payment scheme will save the state about 180 billion baht a year in financial management costs, including the transport of cash.

Finance permanent secretary Somchai Sujjapongse (centre), Bangkok Bank president Chartsiri Sophonpanich (left) and KBank president Predee Daochai display EDC terminals at the Finance Ministry in Bangkok in March. (Photo by Seksan Rojjanametakun)