April 8, 2015
Rabbit is an e-money system active in Bangkok (Thailand) that can be used for mass transit networks, such as BTS, as well as at a number of retailers and other partners. Bangkok Smartcard System (BSS) Company Ltd., the company behind Rabbit, provides e-money services with a common ticketing and payments platform. BSS has obtained an official e-money license from the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, and launched its e-money service under the name Rabbit back in May 2012.
The current number of Rabbit cardholders is already at a respectable 3.5 million and is expected to increase by 33% to 4 million next year. Rabbit cards are NFC enabled and leverage the MIFARE contactless platform by NXP.
Rabbit also includes a loyalty program called Carrot Rewards—a points based program where members can earn Carrot Points for filling & spending the Rabbit Card. Carrot Kiosk, a multi-function redemption machine and a target marketing tool, allows Carrot Rewards members and Rabbit cardholders to check balances, redeem points for reloading the Rabbit card, and print discount coupons offered by target merchants. The company is introducing dedicated mobile apps for the Carrot Rewards program.
Rabbit’s retail partners include, but are not limited to, big brands like McDonalds, Baskin Robbins, Burger King, Dominos, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and Subway. Depending on consumer demographics, Rabbit offers different types of cards, such as student and senior citizen specific versions. Rabbit Business is offered to organizations who wish to offer their own customized Rabbit cards. Rabbit Joint is issued by financial institutions or organizations that need to integrate Rabbit to make it compatible with debit or credit cards. Rabbit has also partnered with Alipay, making these cards available for purchases on the Alipay wallet app as well.
Rabbit brings the following benefits to the consumer:
> A single e-money system for travel on BTS or other mass transit networks and retail
> No queuing up for single journey tickets or change
> Use Rabbit instead of cash so less need for ATMs
> No annual fee
> Convenient, secure and time saving
> Accurate to the exact "Satang" (Thai currency)
> Easy to refill and use - simply "beep and go"
> Valuable benefits through Carrot Rewards Loyalty program
> Rabbit can also be used for personal identification, security, and access control
Rabbit brings the following benefits to businesses:
> Offers access to the Rabbit cardholder base from mass transit
> Improves cashier throughput
> Reduces cash handling costs
> Ensures better protection against cash handling, fraud & human error
> Encourages increased customer spending and frequency through "Carrot Rewards", a loyalty and CRM program associated with Rabbit
> Flexible creation of strategic marketing campaigns
> Enhancement of brand experience and brand image
As we review the Rabbit system, it seems quite similar to the Octopus Card system that is highly popular in Hong Kong. We believe that an important focus for the Rabbit card should be ubiquity. Millions of people have to use this and thousands of merchants need to accept it in order to make it an immense success. Although the Rabbit card is still in a very nascent stage, it does make for a good role model for developing nations. It will be interesting to see whether this smartcard can go beyond Bangkok and make significant strides in the Asian market.
My first hand experience: So far, I think Rabbit has not done a great job of marketing and advertising the brand. I didn't see anybody using it or even talking about it. On the other hand, if you are visiting Hong Kong, there is no way you would not hear or read about the Octopus card. In the case of Rabbit in Bangkok, there is no such thing for the visitors or even the residents. I saw a lot of these lonely machines in the malls...