TL;DR: The oldest bank in Thailand, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), recently inked a deal with Ripple. It’s called SCB East, and is described as “a mobile application that runs on Ripple to deliver instant, low-cost cross-border payments,” according to a press release. The agreement has the potential to reach some 16 million people.
Thailand’s Oldest Bank: Mobile Payment App Runs on Ripple
SCB has been around since 1907, and is the largest commercial bank in Thailand. Its products include banking, insurance, leasing, and real estate, employing some 27,000 people. The Buddhist country is home to nearly 70 million citizens, and remittances have increased substantially in the last 10 years, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve.
Thailand’s central bank governor Veerathai Santiprabhob recently explained, “At this stage, Thailand might not have the ecosystem ready like in Singapore or Hong Kong, where the digital banking system is in better shape,” regarding efforts to catch up with other Asian markets when it comes to digital banking services. “When we talk about digital banking licenses, we want to have a new financial services provider that can serve the currently underserved, meaning that you have to be able to meet the needs of people on the street, people from far, far away,” he elaborated.
Indeed, Singapore and Hong Kong are well on their respective ways toward licensing digital banking services, traditional and innovative. And though a Singaporean bank has branched into Thailand to offer digital banking services, Veerathai signaled much more is needed … especially in the mobile phone market arena.
On a Mission to Change Lives
“Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) is on a mission to change the lives of their over 16 million customers,” Ripple claimed. “Eight of the top ten countries using mobile payments can be found in Asia. According to a recent survey conducted by PwC, a staggering 86% of the population in China use mobile payment apps and in Thailand, it’s as high as 67% of the population.”
— Jajaasb (@jajaaSB) January 9, 2020
As the country’s workforce spans out internationally, sending money home becomes crucial and a lifeline for many families. “It is so difficult to send and receive money today. People must physically go to a bank branch, fill out long and complicated forms and wait for payments to be received—with no transparency. With our service, their loved ones from abroad can transfer payment and receive money immediately,” an SCB spokesperson stressed.
In larger cities such as Bangkok, however, a group of dedicated peer-to-peer electronic cash enthusiasts has long been promoting a permissionless payments system that doesn’t require the assistance of central banks or corporations, Bitcoin Cash. The group posts regular meetups, a Facebook page, and has a very active and outspoken organizer.
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