Thai bank offers e-merit-making service for Buddhist donations

DPA, Nov 17, 2007

Bangkok, Thailand -- Kasikorn Bank, Thailand's second largest, has launched a new service that allows customers to make donations to a Buddhist temple through telephone and internet banking, news reports said Saturday.

Dubbed 'electronic merit making,' customers of Kasikorn Bank can now make donations to Wat Phra Baht Nam Phu, a Buddhist temple in Lopburi province that is famous for its treatment of HIV/AIDS patients, through telephone banking, direct debit and internet banking channels, said the Bangkok Post newspaper.

Weerachai Amornrattana, Kasikorn's senior vice-president, said the bank had facilitated donations via its automatic teller machines (ATMs) in the past for other charities, but 'with Wat Phra Baht Nam Phu, it's the first time we've opened up merit-making through electronic banking channels.'

Merit-making is the Buddhist equivalent of the Christian concept of 'charity.' Buddhism encourages its followers to provide food or donations to monks and temple charities, such as caring for the poor, the ill or stray animals, as a means of 'making merit' for the next incarnation.