The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is set to extend the reach of its innovative mobile payment application, Bakong, to China and India within this year, aiming to facilitate easier cross-border transactions using local currencies. This strategic move follows the successful integration of payment systems between Cambodia and its neighboring countries, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos, alongside collaborations with several international payment service providers.
NBC Governor Chea Serey announced the plans, highlighting the potential for Cambodian users to make payments via QR Code directly from their Riel accounts at a multitude of stores across these nations. This initiative is expected to significantly simplify payment processes for both Cambodians and international users within the expanding network, promoting seamless transactions within Cambodia.
During NBC’s recent annual meeting, which focused on evaluating the achievements of 2023 and setting goals for 2024, the development and progress of payment systems were key topics. The advancements in this area have been praised for making financial transactions more straightforward, secure, and efficient, thereby eliminating the hurdles of cross-institutional payments and excessive fees.
The enhanced payment infrastructure has been instrumental in fostering the exchange of goods and services, enriching the financial landscape, and encouraging the adoption of the Cambodian Riel. These efforts align with the Royal Government’s ambitions to advance the nation’s digital economy and social development initiatives.
Furthermore, the strengthening and broadening of Cambodia’s payment system connections with regional counterparts have bolstered trade, investment, tourism, and remittance flows. Bakong, developed in collaboration with Japanese technology company Soramitsu, offers a digital platform for users to conduct financial transactions via smartphones, bypassing the need for conventional bank accounts.
The introduction of KHQR in 2022, Cambodia’s unified QR code system for retail payments, underscores the country’s commitment to simplifying digital transactions. This system enables merchants to accept payments from various mobile applications, including Bakong, through a single QR code.
Looking ahead, NBC aims to expand its cross-border payment network further, enhancing the convenience and cost-effectiveness of remittances for migrant workers. Additionally, Cambodia is exploring partnerships with the central banks of Fiji, Rwanda, and the Solomon Islands, aiming to diversify its international transaction options beyond the US dollar. This initiative marks a significant step towards integrating Cambodia more deeply into the global financial ecosystem.
Source: Khmer Times