Cambodia records sharp rise in digital payments in 2023: NBC

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia has seen a significant rise in mobile payments thanks to digital transaction options allowing more people transition from cash-based to digital transactions, the National Bank of Cambodia said on Friday.

The deployment of modern payment systems, the development of apps for QR code-scanning payment, and Internet usage have facilitated the digital payments in a secure and fast manner, the NBC said in a press statement.

“Digital payment transactions in Cambodia are growing rapidly through the use of credit cards, debit cards, money transfers, in particular QR code scanning payment, ranging from small to large shops, covering almost everywhere across the country,” it said.

The total number of mobile payment transactions in and US$ rose to 1,100 million in 2023, with a total amount of US$492 billion, equal to 16 times gross domestic product (GDP), read the statement.

Among the payment systems, the use of Bakong system has increased significantly, with a total of 27.6 million accounts, available for payment with more than 2.9 million shops and services throughout the country by the end of 2023.

Developed by NBC in partnership with Japanese tech firm Soramitsu, Bakong allows Cambodians to transfer and receive digital funds using their smartphones without traditional bank accounts.

In the context of technology progress, the NBC has grabbed the opportunity to develop a payment system, enabling payment transactions easier, safer, and faster, particularly solving obstacles in inter-bank payment transactions, NBC Governor H.E. Dr. Chea Serey said recently.

“Efficiency of the payment transaction system has actively contributed to boosting trading of goods and services, financial inclusion, and promoting Khmer Riel uses, which support the target of the government's digital socio-economic development,” she underlined.

The NBC's report was made to reject a result of a survey by digital payment service provider stating that the use of digital payment methods in Cambodia is declining and still low, and that the use of cash continues to increase, contrary to regional trends.

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