Real-Time Payments Forecasted to Help Generate 2.08% of GDP by 2026
Thailand is a real-time payments success story and has a more mature real-time payments infrastructure compared to Western countries like the U.S. and the U.K. Of all countries covered in the Cebr economic impact study, by 2026 Thailand has the second largest forecasted GDP facilitated by real-time payments in percentage terms (2.08%).
In 2021, Thailand recorded 9.7 billion real-time transactions, the fourth leading country in the world. The widespread adoption of real-time payments resulted in an estimated cost savings of $1.3 billion for businesses and consumers in 2021, which helped to unlock $6 billion of additional economic output. That in turn represents 1.12% of the country’s GDP.
With real-time payment transaction numbers expected to rise to 25.7 billion in 2026, net savings for consumers and businesses are forecasted to climb to $3.9 billion. That would help to generate an additional $13.4 billion of economic output, equivalent to 2.08% of the country’s forecasted GDP.
In 2018, Thailand launched its own real-time payments platform called PromptPay to promote financial inclusion in the country. In 2021, 24.7% of total payments volume were transacted through its real-time payments network, making it the second most popular payments tool in Thailand after paper-based payments, which represented a 58.3% share of total payments volume. The real-time payments network’s share of volume is projected to grow at a CAGR of 21.5% between 2021 and 2026, and by 2026 it is expected to reach 47.2%, making it the main payments tool in terms of transaction volume. The adoption of PromptPay was pushed by the large presence of mobile phones within the country. Thailand, along with other ASEAN countries, is actively working on creating a regional real-time payments network by connecting their real-time payment platforms.
This strategy will create interoperability among those connected platforms, which should enable them to provide real-time, cross-border transactions. This is likely to shift international transfers from the traditional remittance providers in Thailand. Thailand’s PromptPay was officially linked with Singapore’s PayNow and Malaysia’s DuitNow in 2021. As of December 2020, 56.2 million PromptPay IDs were registered, which represents 80.5% of the country’s population.
These linkages — and the developing trade linkages within the ASEAN region they are designed to facilitate — will make this region a hub for electronic payments in the near term. This region is clearly one to watch in terms of real-time payments-driven economic development.
Real-Time Payment Types
Year of Real-Time
A key ASEAN economy, Thailand’s well-executed strategy for real-time payments implementation has delivered the fastest expansion of low-value payment capabilities in ASEAN. Real-time payments are widely available and consumers can choose from a variety of ways to initiate and pay for transactions. Features such as Request–to Pay and QR codes are already in place, and the population has enthusiastically adopted digital overlay services. PromptPay, for example, uses a database of aliases — emails, phone numbers and ID numbers — for P2P, P2C and C2B payments.
One driver of this rapid growth is the fact that few of Thailand’s 70 million people qualify for credit cards, which are generally only used for higher-value purchases. Mobile usage is also widespread, with most consumers having at least one device. The Thai government is now also using real-time payments to disburse government subsidies and funding to farmers.
National ITMX, co-owned by the largest banks and governed by the Central Bank of Thailand (BOT), has the responsibility for developing the digital payments structure. It has successfully completed the modernization of legacy bulk payments infrastructure onto next-generation ISO 20022 B2B bulk payments infrastructure.
However, remaining traditional infrastructure still poses challenges to the market in terms of the ability to handle the growing volumes of both low-value and B2B transactions. While some leading banks are exploring on-premise ISO 20022-compliant systems that leverage cloud-like development best practices, others are behind the curve. By way of incentive to double down on their efforts, other markets have shown the importance of modernizing systems using proven, modular solutions that enable financial institutions to “turn on” capabilities as required, as they transition from low-value to high-value payments (and even beyond, to Central Bank Digital Currencies). Just 1,600km to the south, the Malaysian success of RPP is an excellent template for Thailand to follow in its migration from legacy platforms to ISO 20022 infrastructure.
Mobile Wallet Trends
% of adults who have a mobile wallet and have
used it in the past year (2021)
Real-Time Total Participants
Population Banking Level
Number of debit, credit and
charge cards per adult
Index to global average
F5 Yr CAGR
Payments Fraud Rate
Population who reported being a
victim of fraud in the last 4 years
Top 3 Payment Fraud Types
|% of fraud victims||Trend|
My card was lost or stolen
Card details stolen/skimmed in person
Share of Volumes by Payments Instrument
- Paper-based payments
- Electronic payments
- Real-time payments
Real-Time Payments Volume and Its Share in Overall Non-Paper-Based Transactions, 2015-26f
As of 2021, Thailand is an upper-middle-income country, having seen strong growth rates over the last few decades. Indeed, its economic growth has pulled millions out of poverty, resulting in it being hailed a development success story. As of 2021, it is the 26th largest global economy (Cebr World Economic League Table, 2022).
In volume terms, 24.7% of transactions were executed through its real-time payments infrastructure in 2021, the third largest percentage of Cebr’s 30-country economic impact assessment, trailing only Bahrain and India. In 2021, the total economy-wide impact generated by real-time payments stood at $6 billion, or the equivalent output of 430,960 workers. This equates to 1.12% of formal GDP, the largest realized share within our 2021 analysis. This macroeconomic benefit is supported by consumer and business benefits to the sum of $1.3 billion.
The macroeconomic benefit of real-time payments is predominantly driven by the formalization of informal economic activity. Real-time payments have the potential to directly address this through transparency and displacement of paper-based transactions, contributing to long-term economic growth in Thailand.
Based on forecasted real-time adoption volumes, Cebr estimates that by 2026, Thailand is set to benefit from an additional $13 billion of output that would have otherwise occurred outside of the formal institutional and bureaucratic frameworks. Ultimately, the forecasted macroeconomic benefits in 2026 are estimated to be $13.4 billion of formal economic output (2.08% of formal GDP) facilitated by real-time payments, equivalent to the output of 789,359 workers. In 2026, total consumer and business benefits are estimated to be worth $3.9 billion.
For Businesses and Consumers
Net savings stimulated by real-time payments
Projected net savings stimulated by real-time payments
of economic output
of GDP facilitated by real-time payments
Projected of economic output
of GDP facilitated by real-time payments
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