2022 Winner – Kasikornbank Facebook partnership & webinar show good vision – Retail Banker International Asia Trailblazer Awards



Facebook in Thailand has 54 million users and 22m online merchants and sees 17.5m bank slips sent through Messenger every month. Its reach is undeniable and Kasikornbank wanted a part of it, so it launched a collaborative Facebook Pay and a later Ads payment mechanism, winning it the Best Strategic Partnership and Most Dynamic Third-Party Collaboration trophies at the RBI APAC Awards 2022. A live webinar on the platform, held to help restauranters during Covid-19, separately won the Best In-Person (or virtual) Customer Event category.

Covid-19 social distancing hit fashion, cosmetics, and leisure in Thailand, as elsewhere around the world, but Thai people love to eat and wanted to see their favorite small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) restaurant and street food stall survive the pandemic-induced downturn. Kasikornbank (KBank) stepped in to help them with liquidity where it could. However, due to limited data in the SME space targeting the help, while still preventing fraud, and doing it quickly wasn’t easy.

KBank turned to Facebook to help. They programed and organized a virtual rescue-themed webinar within two weeks that outlined the SME help that was available, such as a special 3% interest rate loan and relaxation policy, to hard-to-reach people. Facebook’s (Meta) strong presence as a communication channel to restaurant owners and users, allied to KBank’s own promotional expertise, drove eyes to the webinar. The bank explained how to give them a signal that they are real restaurant owners by starting to accept cashless payment through KBank’s payment services, such as QR payment from KPlus Shop or personal QR codes on the KPlus mobile banking app. That way the bank database is aware of them, releasing help faster.

Participants in the webinar included:

  • KBank President, Khun Patchara Samalapa, showing how important the event and the issue of saving food outlets was.
  • Two Thai restaurant owners who shared their real- world experiences.

KBank’s other non-credit rescue efforts were highlighted during the webinar, such as:

  • Special discounts to customers ordering food from the two biggest food delivery platforms in Thailand – namely, Grab and LINEMan, with special cashback offers to food merchants as well to help them survive.
  • Partnerships with Starving Time, which has more than five million followers, and BKKMenu with more than 270,000, both helped to promote restaurants on their respective Facebook Pages for free. This helped with SME or food stall brand awareness, reach, and order potential on the platforms.

The webinar was recorded and re-broadcast on Facebook with additional commentary from them about the Meta (Facebook) business tools available on the platform. These can help SMEs to create and build presence, ultimately equating to customers and money in the bank, which was crucial during the pandemic.

Collaborative strategy

KBank won the strategy and third-party collaboration trophies at the RBI APAC Awards 2022 because they didn’t just do a webinar. They wanted non-financial Facebook behavioral and finance data to act as predictive indicators for credit scoring and so on.

The collaboration went much deeper with the Facebook Pay tool launched specifically for Meta’s (Facebook) platform. It offered a seamless app switch payment method with full coverage in January 2020 and further upgrades have been added last year,

and this, to address identified challenges, such as the elderly expecting to get a seller’s bank account number to make a traditional transfer – and therefore sending a slip in the Messenger chat instead. To change customer behavior and address this practice:

  • A seller can now do light on-boarding by adding bank account information and this will be automatically and securely sent to buyers. It saves sellers time and effort checking for fake slips in Messenger. The pilot went live in November 2021.
  • Soon after, in January this year, another pilot to enable QR payment for KBank’s Facebook Pay service went live to ensure that any customer can make a payment.

In short, KBank created a digital payment and customer experience (CX) through omni-channel integration on the Facebook platform for sellers and buyers to enjoy a simple end-to-end service, without leaving to any other application. KBank also received a CX commendation for their efforts. Additionally, KBank saw a big opportunity to use its mechanism for Facebook Ads payment, which is still via cards and outdated internet banking. A pilot for this was unveiled in December 2021 after Facebook did an analysis that showed Thailand has the most prepaid card users in Asia-Pacific and many of them were dropping off due to a non-seamless experience and issues with outdated internet banking connectivity. The proven track record of KBank’s seamless app-switch Facebook Pay methodology, which has a less than 2% drop-off rate, meant the corporation was receptive to collaborating on an Ads payment option.

The overall project has a number of key milestones and aims, as follows:

  1. KBank is the first bank to initiate this new seamless payment innovation. Facebook Pay can be copied but first mover advantage counts for a lot in gaining

volume. The aim is not incremental banking fees, but to offer the best customer experience (CX) without ever having to leave Facebook. This enhances ‘stickiness’ and provides access to valuable data, which can help the bank maintain its number one market share for online merchants (51%) and buyers (32%).

Normally, KBank sees transfers, but does not know exactly which one is the online seller. Without knowing that, the bank cannot fully use the data that it has seen to then offer loans with higher approval rates, for example, having seen a source of income to establish creditworthiness. Integrating the service unlocks this data. It is promising that after two months, KBank acquired almost 50,000 merchants actively using the Bank Slip Verification method. These can be moved further down the chain later, but for now their data is valuable. Success is measured by the acquired number of online merchants and the transaction volume.

  1. For the Facebook Ads Pay option, success is measured by the number of transactions that can generate a fee for the bank. The target is three million for the first year of operation in 2022.

For the longer-term, collaborating with Facebook brings access to a powerful regional and indeed global community. The opportunity exists to integrate into every financial moment on Facebook whether that is shopping/eating, donations, and gaming – and it exists beyond the borders of Thailand too.

There are also new potentially big initiatives from Novi remittances on Facebook’s Diem payment system and Facebook’s Metaverse investments, which the bank could benefit from as a first mover already established and integrated into the platform. The Metaverse is an immersive digital world where money is expected to accrue from a creator economy with people selling virtual goods and services – they will need payment mechanisms. KBank is well placed for the future.

Kasikornbank was also HC: Highly Commended at the Retail Banker International (RBI): Asia-Pacific (APAC) Trailblazer Awards 2022 in the following categories, for various initiatives: Best App for Customer Experience (for Facebook Pay); Best Content Marketing Program; Excellence in Omni- Channel Integration; Excellence in SME Banking; and Trailblazing Use of AI or Machine Learning in FS.