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Thai mobile banking users are at the world’s highest in the COVID-19 era

K PLUS proved to be Thailand’s most popular mobile banking app with transactions exceeding 14,500 million in 2020, growing 71 percent.

KASIKORNBANK (KBank) revealed that the number of Thais using mobile banking is the world’s highest, accounting for 68.1 percent of internet users nationwide per month. There are as many as 5 million K PLUS users per day, with the number of transactions via K PLUS now totaling 14,500 million in 2020. 

Of all mobile banking users in Thailand, the number of K PLUS users ranks first, totaling 14.4 million. It was found that the six features on K PLUS that have seen their volume increase steadily are those that can meet the prevailing lifestyle of consumers who prefer to go cashless, avoid leaving the house, and routinely shop online. 

These features include K+ market for online shopping, Wealth PLUS for automated investment portfolio arrangement, international funds transfer, K Point accumulation, top up via K PLUS and K PLUS QR code. KBank aims to raise the number of K PLUS customers to 17.5 million by the end of 2021.   

Patchara Samalapa, KBank President, said that KBank aims to make K PLUS the “Digital Lifestyle Ecosystem”. This means that users will not only use K PLUS features, but K PLUS will be embedded in select financially relevant ecosystems to serve customers anywhere, anytime.

As of today, K PLUS services are available in most applications that customers use in their daily life. Customers do not need to switch between the apps when they want to make payment or request a loan. K PLUS has thus far teamed with more than 50 leading brands. 

They include super apps like Grab and LINE, e-commerce platforms – namely Lazada and Shopee, large retailers such as Central JD FinTech and JD Central, energy businesses like PTTOR, Blue CONNECT, and financial institutions, namely CU Nex initiated by Chulalongkorn University.  

According to We Are Social and Hootsuite data, Thailand ranked No. 1 in the world for mobile banking users in 2020, representing 68.1 percent of internet users nationwide per month.  

Moreover, Thais’ online shopping via smartphone came second in the world’s ranking, accounting for 74 percent of internet users during the same period., while the amount of time spent on the internet via mobile phone ranked third, or an average of 5 hours 4 minutes per day. 

Mr. Patchara added that K PLUS has become an important channel through which most customers conduct spending transactions. For this reason, it suits their present lifestyles, in particular among those wishing to avoid leaving their homes or handling cash. Instead, they have increasingly conducted spending transactions via K PLUS, with the number surging to 5 million per day in 2020. At the end of 2020, there werearound 14.4 million K PLUS users conducting 14.5 billion of all types of transactions. 

Additionally, it was found that the use of various lifestyle features on K PLUS grew steadily. These include:    

1)      K+ market: The use of this feature surged 150 percent over-year. It serves as a marketplace for merchants to offer the best dining-out, holiday package and shopping deals. There are two payment options for customers to choose from, either funds transfer from the account linked with K PLUS or K Points in lieu of money.  

2)       Wealth PLUS: The use of this feature has skyrocketed 220 percent since its debut in May 2020 as customers placed emphasis on financial planning amid the uncertainties of the past year. Since Wealth PLUS serves as a personal assistant for customers in their mutual fund portfolio management on K PLUS, it meets the needs of novice investors and those who lack the time to consistently monitor their portfolios.  

3)       International funds transfer: During December 2020, the use of this feature increased 24 percent over December 2019 as customers were unable to take overseas trips. As a result, they increasingly conducted international funds transfers to settle payments for goods or services overseas. In addition, many clients used this feature to transfer funds to family members abroad for tuition fee payment, while more foreign nationals working in Thailand used K PLUS to send money to their home countries. International funds transfer via K PLUS can presently be made in 12 currencies to 30 destinations.  

4)      K Point is a new form of reward points that allow customers to collect points by two means, namely 1. Via completion of missions through K PLUS such as transfer, withdrawal, top-up and payment within the specified time and conditions, and 2. Via K-Credit card spending. K Points can be redeemed for various purposes, as follows: 

  • For purchases of goods on K+ market 
  • For bill payment, top-up or loan payment including personal loan, home loan and commercial loan 
  • For discounts at leading stores 
  • For cash rebates 
  • For point transfer to other membership cards on K PLUS 

5)      Other e-wallet top-up features such as Blue CONNECT, TrueMoney Wallet, GrabPay Wallet, and the ‘PaoTang’ application. Top-up on K PLUS and on KBank partners’ applications, which can automatically be linked to K PLUS, does not require customers to switch between applications or fill in the account numbers by themselves. In 2020, there was a 200-percent surge in e-wallet usage from the previous year. 

6)      Usage of K PLUS QR Code – Customers can use K PLUS to scan QR code of K PLUS shop to make payment. In 2020, transaction volume increased by 125 percent from the previous year. The rise in transaction volume became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

KBank and KASIKORN BUSINESS-TECHNOLOGY GROUP (KBTG) are creating a technological infrastructure with the capacity to securely store the ‘big data’ of financial transactions and support the continued growth of K PLUS. 

“Our target is to reach a total of 17.5 million K PLUS users and total volume exceeding 24,600 million transactions by 2021”

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