BANGKOK — A new national e-payment service set to launch on Halloween is not ready for prime time and has been pushed back into next year, though the government will begin providing some benefits through it.
After months of beating the drum to build interest in the new PromptPay service, the Bank of Thailand announced Oct. 13 it will be delayed to an unspecified date in the first quarter of 2017.
In its announcement, the central bank said further system testing had to be completed but insisted all participating banks were ready on schedule. No specific information was given for the delay, but the news is unlikely to boost confidence in the e-payment system to be managed by Bank of Thailand.
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Top officials sought to address possible anxiety by insisting the launch was not delayed due to any problems with the system. Finance Ministry Director Somchai Satchapong and national banking association Chairman Predee Daochai said that launching it before it was fully ready risked damaging public trust.
PromptPay will let people transfer money between bank accounts using only their telephone or national ID numbers, theoretically reducing problems related to paper checks and and transaction fees.
The government will also use PromptPay to automatically disburse tax refunds, pensions and other benefits. Social welfare payments for registered PromptPay users will begin on an unspecified date before year’s end, the central bank said.