Prattana Leelapanang, executive vice president of marketing, said AIS has developed AIS mPAY as a foundation infrastructure for digital payment platforms for every online and offline business in order to achieve its goal of becoming the leading provider of digital services in Thailand.
“We support the spending lifestyles of new consumers seeking convenience in paying their bills and making transfers, withdrawals and purchases of goods and services,” Prattana said.
Launched 11 years ago, the AIS mPAY service has only 1.4 million active users from 2.5 million downloads. It has seen gradual growth but AIS has decided to spur growth by making AIS mPAY available to all mobile users with its easy-to-use multi-language concept.
This year, the company hopes to increase the number of its active users to 1.5 million, a 20-per-cent increase from its 1.2 million active users in 2014.
Under the concept “Digital Money for Everyone”, AIS mPAY currently enjoys total transaction value of around Bt8 billion per month, around 50 per cent of which comes from AIS services – prepaid, post-paid, and AIS agents’ money transfers – while 50 per cent comes from non-AIS services, which are mostly bill payments.
Online shopping or e-commerce presents a huge opportunity for the digital money business as it is growing steadily in the country; however, AIS has not been a major player until now.
Supreecha Limpikanjanakowit, managing director of mPAY, said the number of mPAY transactions from online shopping is still small, but online shopping is a big area for digital money that represents a lot of opportunities.
AIS is interested in providing an e-commerce payment infrastructure. Therefore, in the fourth quarter of 2015, AIS will announce the e-payment platform infrastructure to facilitate business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce, Supreecha said, while declining to disclose more details.
“Now, only 50-60 online merchants are directly connected to AIS mPAY,” said Supreecha.
However, the service has a strong presence in people’s daily digital life, Prattana said. AIS mPAY covers transportation with mPAY Rabbit, and bill payment, online shopping and digital banking with Beat Banking.
“Digital money is one of our five digital services – the others being videos, games and applications, business cloud, and machine-to-machine (M2M) services – that have huge numbers of users. These digital services help AIS provide additional services relevant to people, and as a result it helps reduce our churn rate,” said Prattana.
He said AIS mPAY was not just a banking business; it was designed to fulfil both the consumers’ needs and AIS’ capability to provide relevant services to people.
Prattana explained that the three main operators have different qualities that distinguish them in providing digital money; for example, True Money might be tops for gamers, DTAC is good for online shoppers, but AIS mPAY is stronger in the area of bills and services payment.
“Digital money is the future and a trend that all bankers have already jumped on. As operators we have the capability to offer digital money services as well, but we do not compete with banks or even among operators, because we believe that people will have 2-3 digital money accounts each on average,” Prattana said.
AIS mPAY is available for all mobile users, not just AIS users. It takes just two steps to apply and start the service: download the app and then set up the account with a four-digit PIN.
Users can store up to Bt5,000 into their mPAY wallet and they can increase the amount of stored money to Bt30,000 when they register their mPAY account and up to Bt100,000 if they show up at mPAY-partner banks.
AIS mPAY currently has a strong portfolio: eight bank partners, which together have over 50,000 ATM machines to add money into AIS mPay; 200,000 mPAY stations to add money and to receive payments by AIS mPAY; over 60,000 non-banking channels to add money into AIS mPay; and over 200 merchants and bills can pay with AIS mPAY.