The Bank of Thailand has eased qualifications for international money transfer operators to attract new players and increase competition, which in turn should lead to lower fees.
The central bank has relaxed requirements on the percentage of Thai nationals needed as shareholders of cross-border money transfer providers, lowering the threshold to 25% from 75% in an effort to lure new operators to the business, governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said in a release.
The new regulation took effect on Thursday.
Individuals who send money to recipients overseas through commercial banks and agents in Thailand are charged about 7% in fees on average. The fee can be as much as 10% for transfers to some countries, above the rate of several regional nations, Mr Veerathai said.
According to World Bank 2018 Migration and Remittance data, the fee for sending US$500 (15,614 baht) from Thailand averages 7.28%, well above India at 1.24%, Malaysia at 3.09% and the average global rate of 4.64%.
“The international money transfer business requires both local and overseas networks,” Mr Veerathai said. “Opening opportunity for new operators who have networks covering several countries will create competition and result in new technology adoption that will benefit all Thais.”
The relaxed regulations will help Thais working abroad, small and medium-sized enterprises engaged in travel and e-commerce, and cross-border traders carry lower money transfer costs and boost Thailand’s cross-border trade activity.
In Thailand there are five money transfer agents.
Mr Veerathai said the central bank has also loosened regulations on international money transfer transactions through digital channels by abolishing requirements demanding that service users show themselves at operators’ property.
The new requirement offers more convenience and flexibility to service users and better meets their needs, he said.
source: Bangkok Post