Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bakong-powered transactions soar

Bakong-powered transactions soar

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Transactions through the National Bank of Cambodia’s Bakong, an inter-bank system, have grown rapidly, said NBC director-general Chea Serey. Hong Menea

Bakong-powered transactions soar

Digital payments are becoming crucial to the management of daily expenses, especially during Covid-19 when social distancing is the norm, according to National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) director-general Chea Serey.

Serey told CNN that the number of digital transactions across the Kingdom jumped 350 per cent from end-2019 to the end of last year, and total value surged 200 per cent to $68 billion. Transactions through NBC’s Bakong, an inter-bank system, have also grown rapidly, she said.

“At the moment, we have about 1.5 million transactions in the Bakong ecosystem with a value of about $500 million. It is growing quite rapidly given that last quarter we only had 100,000 wallet users, but as of quarter two, we’ve seen that number double, now we’ve reached 200,000 users, and we hope it will increase further.

“And just as importantly, we hope that we can cooperate with other countries as well to promote cross-border transaction for tourists and migrant workers,” she said.

NBC on October 27 launched an inter-bank mobile payment platform, known as the “Bakong System”, aiming to give a powerful impetus to rural financial sector development and nurture financial inclusivity in the Kingdom.

Bakong enables interoperability between banks and financial institutions that is safe and cost-effective.

Serey stressed that there are three main goals of Bakong, the first of which is interoperability, to consolidate the Kingdom’s highly-fragmented banking system where payment service providers and banks “are not talking with each other”, and make financial translations easy.

The other two, she said, are financial inclusion and increasing the usage of local currency.

“In fact, during these social distancing measures, Covid-19, thank the gods that we had been working on the project way before the pandemic hit. So, the lining of the situation is that digital adoption is much faster, so we have simplified KYC [Know-Your-Customer] measures,” Serey added.

KYC rules ensure that financial service professionals authenticate and assess the identity, suitability and risks involved with maintaining a business relationship with a client.

Prasac Microfinance Institution Plc senior vice-president Say Sony said his institution joined Bakong in September 2019 and implemented the system the following month, adding that there has been a rise in the number of transactions through the system.

“We joined this NBC initiative because we [saw] the trend of technology and market demand, [and that] our clients – and [those of other financial institutions – were finding it] difficult to do cross-bank transaction[s],” he said.

He said there are now two main services available at all 182 Prasac branches and more than 140 merchants nationwide able to process transactions from Bakong Wallet and Transfer to other bank accounts through Bakong.

Backed by rapid technological and innovation development, Cambodian tech and digital businesses achieved $470 million in revenue for 2019, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) reported in late May.

Broken down by sectors, e-commerce accounted for 27.6 per cent, e-services 7.8 per cent, digital media 10.2 per cent, advertising technology 12.7 per cent, transportation 3.8 per cent and online travel 37.9 per cent, the Metro Manila-based multilateral lender said.


  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement