Cambodia is primarily a cash-based economy but in recent years have seen a greater prevalence in the use of cashless payments through credit cards, digital payments, and transfers through online or mobile banking apps, e-wallets, etc. National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) has been at the forefront of this transition by encouraging and supporting innovation, improving interoperability between the various banks and financial institutions, as well as the provision of digital financial services to reduce costs and promote financial inclusion.
The Kingdom of Cambodia has made significant progress to regulate the digital economy. The promulgation of the first Cambodian Law on E-commerce has created a significant improvement for electronic commerce in the country. The law covers the issues of electronic communication, electronic record and signature, intermediary and e-commerce service providers, electronic evidence, and so on.
In October 2020, it formally launched Cambodia’s first and only blockchain-based integrated payment system, called the Bakong, where e-wallets, mobile payments, online banking, and financial applications can all be used through one system interface. The digital payment system enables Cambodians to use a free mobile app to make payments and transfer money through any bank on the platform, even if they don’t have a traditional account with the bank.
According to the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), the Fintech ecosystem in Cambodia, particularly in digital payments and transfers, has greatly expanded in recent years. In fact, the Covid pandemic may have helped to catalyze this shift to cashless transactions. It assessed that this increased pace of adoption of digital payments and mobile banking has helped to lower the costs of financial services (for the unbanked) and operational costs (for the payment service institutions), providing an overall more efficient, convenient, and secure services to all. AMRO noted that despite a late start:
- Mobile money services have expanded rapidly within 5 years from just 34 agents per 100,000 adults in 2015 to 400 per 100,000 adults in 2020
- The number of registered e-wallet accounts increased more than 20 times to 9.6 m in 2020, accounting for more than 80% of the adult population, higher than deposit accounts with commercial banks or MDIs
- The number and value of mobile e-transactions also expanded rapidly to 266.5 m in 2020, with a total value of 168.6% of Cambodia’s GDP
Some of the commercial banks that offer their own mobile payment gateways are:
Some of the e-wallet / e-payment industry players are:
- Pi Pay
- Smart Luy
Startup Landscape by Category
Cambodian Payments Topology
Feel free to enquire with the Aquarii team should you need further advice.
If you are looking for a more nuanced insight or advice in terms of other indicators/observations not commonly found in publications for a better understanding of how a business or investor can navigate the local environment or seek out collaboration opportunities and trustworthy partners, get in touch with our team at Aquarii. Ask to speak to our CEO if you wish to know why he has decided to make Cambodia his 2nd home, perhaps the strongest testament of his conviction in the potential and opportunities in the Kingdom.