PayPal Thailand to cut off most users, all foreigners next month

The majority of PayPal users in Thailand will no longer be able to use the service next month unless they jump through a series of byzantine and bureaucratic steps that are only available to citizens.

A year after it first warned of the change and several subsequent delays, PayPal notified customers this morning that they will not be able to use the service after Dec. 15 unless they take “certain actions” that, while mystifying and poorly explained, will likely be out of reach to most.

To comply with a change in regulations meant to combat money laundering by reining in electronic transfers, the global finance giant will shut off private account holders who are not registered under a government digital identity program.

To proceed, users must first enter their Thai national ID numbers – sorry, foreign friends, noncitizens seem out of luck here. PayPal said no other forms of identification will be accepted.

“For the time being, a Thai national ID is required to enroll … other forms of identification which do not have a 13-digit Thai national ID number, such as a non-Thai passport, work permit, non-Thai Identification card (pink ID), or Thai Permanent Resident Permit cannot be accepted,” it said.

After that, users have until midnight on Nov. 30 to register under a government digital identification program known as the National Digital ID, or NDID.

“Financial services providers like PayPal are obliged under Thai law to verify the identity of their customers, which helps us keep PayPal safe for everyone using it,” the company said. 

Once the changeover is completed by Dec. 15, domestic payments between Thai account holders can only be done in Thai baht. Commercial payments involving conversion of baht to other currencies will be capped at THB800,000 (US$21,400).

Only credit cards and not debit cards can be used to make domestic payments.

The VAT tax of 7% will be collected on all PayPal fees.

Enrolling in the program, it continues, can be done via some mobile apps or in person at the bank. To enroll, PayPal refers people to the program’s website, which simply tells people to “check with your banks.” So that’s helpful.