Cambodia edges towards digital payments

National Bank of Cambodia's Serey Chea discusses project Bakong.

Serey Chea, director general of the National Bank of Cambodia, talks to Bhavin Patel, senior economist and head of fintech research at OMFIF, about the country’s soon-to-launch mobile payments platform, Bakong.

Bhavin Patel: Could you provide an overview of the Bakong system and the specific policy objectives?

Serey Chea: We aim to improve financial inclusion, efficiency and safety, as well as promote the use of our local currency. Cambodia’s banking system consists of banks and payment service providers – these are purely technology companies that provide ewallet and money transfer services.

Banks have mobile applications, but these don’t interact. Payment service providers have a separate customer base. This has resulted in calls for greater financial inclusion, as banks do not serve the lower segment of the market. These two separate parts of the market do not talk to each other, nor do the actors in each respective segment. Each provider is just comfortable within its customer base.

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