financial inclusion

Real-time payments have been revolutionising how Thailand's businesses and citizens transact. Our latest video demonstrates the positive impact that PromptPay is having on this ambitious nation that clearly possesses a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

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Spread all around the world, and in many different life stages, are the underbanked and financially excluded.

These are the individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that usually cannot count on the traditional financial industry to fulfill their financial needs and are forced to rely on informal networks.

a national e-payment initiative

Real-time payments are being used globally to provide a more seamless banking experience for the financially excluded, offering a level of trust that was previously only available through physical cash.

In December 2015, the Thai government launched the National e-payment Initiative, which aims ‘to create a cashless society, integrate the informal economy into the banking system, capture data on current social programs, and introduce greater transparency.’ One of several programs under the initiative was PromptPay, which was launched on 27 January 2017.

PromptPay allows registered customers to transfer funds using a mobile phone with only the mobile number or Citizen ID number of the recipient.


Receiving and sending payments faster allows corporates to manage their cash flow better and improve payroll efficiency


With the reduced cost of new underlying real-time infrastructure, banks can now better serve the under-banked or SMEs


Upgrading to real-time can result in lower operating expenses due to efficiency gains and the reduction in the total cost of ownership

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In many emerging markets, a large part of the population lives below the poverty line and often survive hand to mouth.

In countries without mature payment infrastructure, there is often little transparency, especially when intermediaries and agents are involved. As an example, government payments in India would historically go from the State Governments to regional governments, then to towns, and finally to individuals. In many cases, each of the agents would take their cut of the transaction, leaving the recipient with much less than they would have expected. 

The 2012 World Bank Development Report estimated that by digitising subsidy flows, the Indian government could save 1% of its gross domestic product annually, an amount equivalent to about $20 billion.


It is essential to make a distinction between a real-time payment platform and digital payments. A real-time payment platform is the infrastructure that facilitates faster payments. Digital is the presentation layer that the customer will use to make the real-time payment. 

The digital experience is even more critical today with the proliferation of mobile phones. According to data from the GSMA, mobile phones reached a global penetration of 106.3% in 2016. 

This usage has defined how people engage with their banks for financial transactions. Alipay and WeChat Pay in China are two examples of mobile-based financial apps. The challenge of a large unbanked segment has seen apps like Alipay play an essential role in bringing vast swathes of the population into the economic fold. In 2016, nearly one third of Alipay's 450 million users were considered "rural" users. 

Contact us
  • For more information about the whitepaper, contact Mark Colleran, Senior Research and Insight Manager