Two major Thai banks, namely TMB’s ME and Kasikornbank have been experimenting with “electronic Know Your Customer” (e-KYC) portals, and are exiting the regulatory sandbox in readiness to roll out the features more broadly.
e-KYC allows banks to offer new account openings online and enables them to also remain within the legal framework as set out by the government.
Previously, applicants looking to open new accounts would be required to go to a branch in order to so, but the e-KYC platform makes the process much more convenient by enabling the process online.
Initially in a first phase rollout, existing bank customers will be able to use the facial recognition system built into the app to upload their passport or ID copies in order to open a new account along side existing accounts with the same bank.
However in the future, a second phaserollout will enable new bank customers to authenticate under the e-KYC using the National ID database and this will allow new account applications to be lodged by people who may not have an existing account with the bank.
Benjarong Suwankiri, head of ME by TMB, was quoted as saying,”We expect our second phase will exit the regulatory sandbox in the second half. We will then set a clearer plan about expanding digital deposit account opening.”
Although the two aforementioned banks are the first to exist the regulatory sandbox, they are by no means the only banks vying to provide e-KYC services. Other banks that are still testing their portals include, Siam Commercial Bank, CIMB Thai Bank, Bank of Ayudhya and Bangkok Bank. These banks are expected to follow suit and exit the regulatory sandbox by the end of 2020.
As for Kasikornbank, it confirmed its first phase exist already and the bank is looking forward to rolling out K-eSavings account openings using Android smartphone apps.
Yet there will be no fanfare for now and also no targets for the number of new account openings have been set by the bank, citing concerns about the coronavirus in the interim period.
Supreecha Limpikanjanakowit, first senior vice-president of Kasikornbank was quoted as saying, “Now is not the time to launch a marketing campaign. We need to wait for the situation to improve, but the bank continues to prepare its infrastructure base.”
Interestingly, the e-KYC portals overall will be very beneficial in a post coronavirus period allowing people to keep their social distancing in check by avoiding going to crowded bank branches, and instead allowing them to open new accounts in the comfort of their own home.