The experience of the Thai capital Bangkok provides an interesting example of how emerging economies are embracing contactless technology.

Employer-issued contactless ID cards which can also be used to purchase drinks from vending machines on company sites have gained traction. Thai firm Sun108 is one of the main suppliers of vending machines that accept this technology and it has been delivering them in Bangkok and across the rest of the country.

The International School of Bangkok has also discovered the benefits of contactless campus cards. More than 1,000 students and staff have been given ID cards which can be used to buy food at its canteen, purchase uniforms and stationery, make photocopies, print documents and purchase items online or from campus kiosks. Parents can also add funds to accounts, set daily spending limits and monitor student activity such as tracking attendance or banning certain food items to promote healthy eating.

The city’s hospitality sector is enjoying the benefits of contactless. Grand Millennium Sukhumvit has installed Signature RFID contactless electronic door locks with NFC cell phone compatibility from VingCard, part of ASSA ABLOY Hospitality.

The transport sector has also embraced the technology. Bangkok Smartcard System (BSS) and ERG are involved in delivering a system that provides support for an integrated payments solution for the Bangkok Mass Transit System Company (BTSC) and Bangkok Metro Company Limited (BMCL) transport networks. Eventually, additional transit options and micropayments will be added to the system.

The banking and payments world has also got in on the act. Back in 2006, the city was home to an NFC trial involving payments company Payzy. More than 100 users took part and were issued with Nokia 3220 handsets to use at the Paragon Cineplex to pay for movie and other entertainment tickets as well as food and drinks.

Kasikombank and AIS have trialed NFC mobile payments using Nokia 6212 handsets and Visa payWave. An estimated 1,000 merchant outlets across Thailand  – including Paragon, Big C, Levi’s, McDonald’s, Burger King and Starbucks –have been involved in two separate pilots.

And in 2008 cell phone operator AIS teamed up with Bangkok Bank for a small trial of Visa payWave technology. Participants could use Nokia 6212 handsets at the many merchant locations already accepting payWave, including McDonald’s, Burger King and Starbucks. The trial followed the bank’s earlier issuance of the Blue Wave contactless credit card, which could be used for regular credit card payments as well as to purchase tickets to travel on the city’s SkyTrain.


Number Score
Point of sale terminals/readers deployed 501+


Different types of contactless device

2 3

Number of contactless devices

5001+ 50

Number of applications

9 9

Total number of service providers involved



Number of banks in partnership

3 3

Number of operators in partnership

1 1

Number of merchant locations



Transit operators in scheme

3 3

Parking sector

0 0




Entertainment sector – football, leisure, congress etc

1 1
Public sector activities – libraries, schools etc 1


Smart poster environments in place

0 0

Marketing campaigns rolled out



Length of time project implemented

25 months+ 6
ROI – future potential 7


Green credentials

1000 5
Social equality 0






  1. Bangkok breaks through in contactless technology « Contactless & NFC City League - November 12, 2010

    […] here to see the League Table on […]

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