The digital payments landscape in Cambodia has experienced significant growth in 2022, with the number of transactions rising by 34% to $272.8 billion, according to the National Bank of Cambodia’s (NBC) latest annual banking supervision report. This figure is equivalent to over nine times the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and highlights the rapid expansion of digital payment services in the country.
The report revealed that digital payments were facilitated by 35 payment institutions and two banking and financial institutions, all licensed by the central bank. The number of payment transactions increased from 708 in the previous year to one billion in 2022. Furthermore, the number of consumers registered for e-wallet accounts rose to 19.5 million, while financial institutions issued 12.3 million payment cards for internet and mobile banking.
NBC Governor Chea Chanto emphasized the central bank’s efforts in modernizing the country’s payment system infrastructure, including the development of the KHQR code to promote QR payments and the enhancement of cross-border payment services with neighboring countries. He added that the use of financial technology in digital payments has contributed to increased financial inclusion, competition, creativity, and trust in the sector.
The report also highlighted the effective fund management by payment institutions and financial institutions, maintaining balances higher than the total balance of issued electronic currencies. Additionally, the number of credit and debit cards issued in 2022 increased to 185,360 and 4.57 million, respectively, due to advancements in technology and improvements in living standards.
To ensure the continued growth and security of the digital payments sector, the NBC has focused on updating guidelines regarding technology risk management, strengthening cybersecurity, and ensuring data safety. The central bank has also conducted a survey to assess the technology risk management of financial institutions in 2023, emphasizing the importance of legal frameworks in balancing opportunities and risks.
As Cambodia’s economy and banking system continue to develop at a remarkable pace, the payment system plays a crucial role in maintaining the effectiveness of the entire financial and economic system. The NBC report called for further modernization of payment infrastructure, including updating the national clearing house (NCS) and FAST 2.0 systems.
In a recent demonstration of the capabilities of digital payments, Chea Serey, director general of NBC, showcased the use of Acleda Bank Plc’s mobile app to make a cross-border payment to a vendor in Thailand. The growth of digital payments in Cambodia signifies a positive trend in financial inclusion, offering consumers more efficient and cost-effective ways to access financial services.
The surge in digital payments in Cambodia has had a profoundly positive impact on the nation’s financial landscape. As more consumers gain access to e-wallet accounts and digital payment options, financial inclusion is enhanced, enabling a broader segment of the population to participate in the economy. This increased accessibility not only fosters competition and innovation within the financial sector but also empowers individuals and businesses to manage their finances more efficiently and securely.
Furthermore, the adoption of digital payments promotes economic growth by streamlining transactions and reducing costs associated with traditional banking methods. As Cambodia continues to embrace digital payment technologies, the country is well-positioned to reap the benefits of a more inclusive, dynamic, and robust financial ecosystem.
Source: Khmer Times