November 28, 2023
BANGKOK – The Finance Ministry launched a new retirement-saving service via Krungthai Bank’s Pao Tang digital wallet on Monday.
The new “AOMPLEARN” feature is designed for the millions of Thai freelance workers who do not have pension plans.
It gives users an automatic saving option whenever they spend money through the Pao Tang app.
They can, for example, choose to save 10 baht on every purchase of 60 baht. The minimum amount saved per purchase is 5 baht and the maximum is 500 baht.
Each time the savings reach 50 baht, the money is automatically transferred to their account in the National Saving Funds (NSF) programme, a government-sponsored scheme to encourage freelancers to save for retirement.
The World Bank estimates that self-employed workers make up 51.83% of Thailand’s workforce.
The AOMPLEARN service is open to self-employed Thai citizens aged 15-60 who are not members of any social security fund.
They must also download the Pao Tang app and be a member of the National Savings Fund.
The new service is part of Thailand’s plan to cope with its ageing society, Finance Ministry permanent secretary Lawaron Sangsanit said at Monday’s press conference to unveil AOMPLEARN.
“Thailand will soon become an ageing society with the elderly accounting for 20% of the population, so the government must draft plans to take care of senior citizens,” he said.
Encouraging people to save money for retirement would reduce financial burdens on the government significantly, he added.
A 2022 National Statistical Office study found that while 66.4% of Thai households have a retirement savings plan in place, only 18.2% are able to carry it out. The biggest obstacle is household incomes that are lower than expenses.
The AOMPLEARN feature is designed to overcome that obstacle with “Automatic Saving for Retirement” that adjusts saving behaviour based on users’ spending.
“Instead of waiting until you have money to save, you can gradually deduct small amounts from your daily spending,” Lawaron explained.
Payong Srivanich, CEO of Pao Tang operator Krungthai Bank, said the add-on feature should help educate Thai citizens on financial literacy. It also serves Krungthai’s plan to develop an open national digital platform to strengthen financial inclusivity.
The Fiscal Policy Research Institute Foundation will survey the habits of around 5,500 AOMPLEARN users for the first six months. Data from the survey will be used to expand saving options beyond the NSF programme. Participants in the project will receive additional incentives from National Saving Funds.