The extension was announced through a statement issued on the Bank of Thailand website yesterday (Mar 4) and announced through the Bank of Thailand office Facebook page last night.
Previously, individual PayPal account holders in Thailand had only until Monday (Mar 7) before their accounts would have been rendered unusable for making financial transactions. The accounts of freelancers, small-scale entrepreneurs and casual online sellers were to have “limited functionality” only.
The move to freeze local individual accounts was expected to greatly affect a huge number of people in the country who had turned to the online service for receiving payments for home-based work commenced as a way of stabilising household incomes due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Ministry of Finance and Bank of Thailand have extended the time required for the company to transfer services to Thai customers abroad under PayPal Thailand to the end of 2022, allowing Thai customers who already have a PayPal account to be able to continue using it,” Ms Sirithida said in the statement issued yesterday.
The move to provide the extension followed joint discussions this week between the Bank of Thailand, the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) and PayPal Thailand, Ms Sirithida explained.
“The extension is to help small entrepreneurs who would have been affected by the fact that PayPal would temporarily suspend its services from March 7, 2022 until the service system can be improved to comply with the Thai legal framework,” she said.
“All parties agreed to help alleviate the impact on the aforementioned small entrepreneurs and therefore consider extending the period temporarily,” she added.
PayPal has been attempting for months to roll out a phased relaunch in Thailand but last year explained that it had encountered delays in complying with local laws and regulations, namely having individual account holders confirm and verify their identities in order to comply with AMLO requirements.
Following the meeting this week, Ms Sirithida noted, “At present, the service can still be used continuously. The company has been ordered to expedite the development of the system to have a process of identifying and verifying the identity of the customer (Know Your Customer: KYC) to comply with the law to be completed within the said time frame.
“This includes setting up a guideline to help and take care of customers who have been affected by the company’s policy change in the past as well as providing convenient and sufficient channels for customers to inquire about problems or doubts relating to the provision of services, of which the BoT will closely monitor the company’s operations in such matters,” she said.
“It is important to ensure that payment business operators comply with relevant laws and regulations. This is to ensure the efficiency and security of payment services and user protection as an alternative to service users and to promote competition and increase service efficiency for customers. This will result in the payment service being able to support doing business for Thai entrepreneurs to their full potential,” Ms Sirithida added.