Globally, the pandemic has been the catalyst for enormous change in the banking and financial services industry, with the adoption of digital banking accelerating beyond all previous projections, and customer expectations changing rapidly in terms of how, where and when people want to manage their finances.

Thailand has been no exception, with the country’s banking and financial services industry experiencing significant transformation over the last 18 months. In fact, more change has occurred in Thailand’s banking scene in the last two years than had occurred during the previous ten years, with the rate of change continuing to accelerate at pace.

In a country with relatively high formal financial inclusion – more than 80% of Thai adults hold a bank account – a strong economy and excellent digital infrastructure, Thailand is well positioned to capitalise on the benefits that the digital banking revolution can bring.

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It’s not just anecdotal evidence that says Thailand has heartily accepted digital banking, with Bank of Thailand governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput recently stating that there are more than 75 million digital bank accounts currently open in Thailand, a huge jump from only half a million 10 years ago. The Governor also highlighted that online money transfers have surged to almost 10 billion transactions per year, compared with just 95 million ten years ago.

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These figures clearly illustrate the country’s eager acceptance of digital financial services, and the readiness with which Thai consumers have embraced online and digital banking. Mobile payments, online transfers and managing bank accounts via apps are all considered commonplace today, and consumers demand access to their money when, where and how they want it.

Research highlights Thai consumers’ passion for digital banking

To get a clearer understanding of how consumers think and feel about banking and financial services in a post-pandemic world, Mambu recently surveyed 4,500 consumers globally, with the results from the more than 500 Thai respondents confirming that the country is a frontrunner when it comes to the adoption of next-gen financial services.

In a sure sign that the future of banking in Thailand is digital, 93 percent of Thai consumers said the availability of digital banking services from their bank was important, and 73 percent were willing to pay a premium for financial services that either save time or offer greater flexibility, much higher than the global averages of 56 percent (save time) and 57 percent (greater flexibility).

The key consumer groups identified in the survey included:

1.    Techcelerators

Recent converts to the world of digital banking who have adopted digital services after the closure of physical branches. This group is the largest tribe globally, accounting for a third (33 percent) of total global respondents, and 41 percent of Thai respondents.

2.    Ethical bankers

Young, purpose-driven consumers who want to make a positive impact in the world. This tribe is second largest globally, making up 31 percent of respondents, however only 19 percent of Thai respondents identified with this group. However, 79 percent of Thai respondents stated that social impact is important to them when it comes to financial services – the highest of any nation – and 76 percent were more likely to use a bank that puts purpose over profits.

3.    Convenience cravers

One-stop shoppers who want all-in-one services at their fingertips, at no extra cost. This group makes up 16 percent of Thai respondents (23 percent globally). This group is least likely to pay a premium for services that save time or offer flexibility.

4.      Covidpreneurs

Entrepreneurs who have set up their own business during the pandemic, in need of easy-to-use and reliable business banking services. Covidpreneurs are the youngest tribe globally, with almost two thirds (64 percent) aged under 35 years and a quarter (25 percent) under 25 years. Interestingly, 83 percent of Thai respondents said that the availability of SME banking services through their banking provider is important, higher than any other country surveyed, indicating the entrepreneurial nature of Thai consumers.

5.      Neo asset hoarders

New digital asset owners keen to buy, trade and hold digital assets. This group is the smallest globally, at just 6 percent, however 14 percent of Thai consumers identified with this group. Two thirds (66 percent) of Neo Asset Hoarders globally are male and over half are under the age of 35. This group is most likely to own neo assets, including cryptocurrency and NFTs, and most likely to agree the ability to buy, sell or manage neo assets is important in a bank.

Thai consumers crazy for crypto

According to Mambu’s research, Thai consumers are far more likely to own next-gen digital assets such as cryptocurrency and NFTs than other consumers, with 53 percent of Thais already holding some form of crypto, and 42 percent having invested in crypto in the last 18 months. These results show the strong interest and trust in crypto in Thailand as compared with the rest of the world – with global results showing that on average just 31 percent of consumers globally hold crypto, with 23 percent having purchased in the last 18 months. In terms of future interest in this neo asset, less than half (49 percent) of global consumers were more likely to buy neo assets now than pre-pandemic, compared with 71 percent of Thai consumers. 16 percent of Thais have also invested in NFTs, compared to the global average of 11 percent.

In terms of banking, 78 percent of Thai respondents said that it is important for their bank to offer the ability to buy, sell and manage neo assets like cryptocurrency and NFTs, well up on the global average of 60 percent.

These figures illustrate just how enthusiastic Thai consumers are when it comes to next-gen financial solutions and neo assets, and it is vital that Thai banks take note of the changing wants and needs of their customers.

This article was written by Kiattipong Hanthaiphondee, General Manager Thailand, Mambu

About the author

Mr Kiattipong Handthaiphondee, the General Manager, Thailand, for Mambu, the market leading SaaS cloud banking platform

Kiattipong Hanthaiphondee is the General Manager Thailand for Mambu, the market leading SaaS cloud banking platform. Mambu works with banks of all kinds, non-bank lenders, retailers, telcos and other organisations providing financial services to help them to launch new and customer-centric digital banking products rapidly and cost-effectively.