The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), a Bangkok-based state enterprise operating under Thailand Finance Ministry jurisdiction, is planning to upgrade its loan cards to credit cards, allowing cardholders to use them for shopping at regular stores.
Launched in 2011, the loan card allows local farmers to gain loan at a cheaper interest rate than offered by other lenders. Additionally, it offers a credit line for up to 70% of farmers’ production value and sales.
Farmers can also use the card to pay for fertiliser, seeds, farm machinery and pesticides at participating suppliers, reported Bangkok Post.
BAAC executive vice-president, Suraphong Nillaphan, was quoted by the website as saying that a study and planning for the upgrade will take six months, which will be done using the Visa and MasterCard system.
According to BAAC, around 500,000 of its farmers’ cards could qualify for the upgrade, but Bank of Thailand’s requirement of a minimum monthly income of THB15,000 ($4,546) for credit card holders could hinder problem for the card upgrade, as farmers income is calculated on an annual basis.
Suraphong said the BAAC expects the number of its loan cards to increase to 4.5 million in 2014 from 4.1 million in 2013.