Welfare card program hindered by lack of EDC machines

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Permanent Secretary for Finance, Somchai Sujjapongse.
Permanent Secretary for Finance, Somchai Sujjapongse.

Bangkok – The Ministry of Finance has revealed that many welfare cardholders have been unable to use their cards, as most qualifying vendors do not yet accept card payments.

Permanent Secretary for Finance, Somchai Sujjapongse revealed that on the program’s inaugural day, October 1, cardholders purchased over 300,000 items valued at over 90 million baht. However, major obstacles experienced by cardholders included not knowing where local vendors were situated and many vendors not having electronic data capture (EDC) machines to process the transactions.

Somchai said his ministry will discuss with the Ministry of Commerce and related agencies ways to resolve the issues and will propose to the National E-payment Committee a raffle for a one million baht prize, to encourage card usage.

In Uthai Thani province meanwhile, the program was well received by local cardholders. However, many vendors were unable to process card payments, as officials have yet to install EDC machines.

In Bueng Kan province, 152 stores across eight districts participated in the program, but only 14 of the stores currently have EDC machines.

In Yala Province, residents are able to use their cards to receive a 500 baht discount on third-class railway tickets. Meanwhile, 14 stores across eight districts are able at present to process card payments.