According to a 2019 report, Thailand ranks first in the world for mobile banking users. One of the reasons for this achievement is Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), which has spearheaded digital banking in the country over the past decade. SCB’s latest innovation—developed through its partnership with RippleNet—allows customers to make instant low-cost cross-border payments from their mobile devices.
“Siam Commercial Bank is more than 100 years old and is Thailand’s largest bank with more than 1,000 branches across the nation,” explained SCB’s SVP of Commercial Banking, Arthit Sriumporn. “We support a wide range of customers from retail to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporations. Our focus is always on enriching the customer experience and RippleNet has helped us to do this with remittances.”
Thailand’s oldest bank was once a conservative player in the country’s financial space. But with Thai mobile adoption growing so fast that the country now has more mobile subscriptions than people, SCB launched an ambitious digital transformation campaign that would change its reputation and Thailand’s banking landscape.
“We first enticed our customers to use our new mobile app by making it completely fee free,” recalled Sriumporn. “When people became so used to the convenience of doing banking from their phones, we raised customer expectations around all of our services. Customers who send money to family and friends outside of Thailand didn’t like that it still involved visiting a branch, filling out lots of forms and then waiting up to five days for the money to get there.”
Better Banking that Runs on Ripple
According to recent estimates Thailand is home to 4.9 million migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia. After valuing the region’s remittances market at $68 billion, SCB joined RippleNet in order to enhance its existing expensive and time-consuming cross-border payments process.
“We created SCB Easy,” said Sriumporn, “an app that runs on Ripple and allows our customers to send money to family and friends abroad from their phones. Transfers happen in real-time but are still cheaper than the five-day process. We’ve used RippleNet to connect to banking partners around the world, which helped us open up more corridors and serve more customers quickly and easily.”
SCB is continuing to drive innovation with help from Ripple. With more than 38 million visitors in 2018, Thailand is Southeast Asia’s most popular tourist destination. The bank is now targeting this growing market with an app that allows tourists to pay for goods and services without having to change currencies first.
“We’re working on a QR code-based app that enables tourists to use their home country mobile app for Thailand’s QR code payment,” explained Sriumporn. “Tourists simply scan the QR code to pay for something instantly without dealing with exchange rates or having to carry around large amounts of local currency. It’s something new in the market that will change the tourism landscape and make lives better.”
Bringing Instant Payments to Businesses
Along with this new app, SCB will drive further growth by opening up new cross-border payment corridors through RippleNet, especially to markets outside Southeast Asia. It also aims to offer instant cross-border payments to business customers this year.
“The instant remittances experience creates peace of mind for our customers,” concluded Sriumporn. “We want to expand that experience to more markets, as well as to our small business and enterprise customers. Being part of RippleNet has helped us to completely enhance our customer experience, expand our business and keep SCB moving into the future.”