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Banks grab customers with mobile services

Banks grab customers with mobile services

In a country where only one in 15 people has a bank account but nearly all have a cell phone, a handful of Cambodian banks are expanding mobile banking services in hopes of reaching new customers.

“In Cambodia, reports from various phone companies show there are more cell phones than people,” says Sok Sophea, senior vice president of marketing at ACLEDA Bank, which first introduced mobile banking to the Kingdom in April 2010.

Its mobile service is growing by 10 per cent a month and is used by 54,000 of the bank’s some 794,000 customers, Sok Sophea said.

Kim Vada, deputy general director of the National Bank of Cambodia, said at a banking and microfinance conference yesterday that mobile bankers in Cambodia number around 400,000 but growth in mobile banking has been slower than hoped because of a “limited understanding” of the technology.

The service is just one of several innovations banks are using to attract new customers and cater to the fast-changing market.

Internet banking, fingerprint verification at ATMs and dual currency dispensing ATMs were some of recent innovations mentioned at the conference yesterday by Senior Manager at Foreign Trade Bank of Cambodia Ros Sokha.

Banks are also working to establish ATMs where  US dollars, riel, and Thai baht could be exchanged for one another, Rajan Narayan, managing director of BPC Banking Technologies Group, said at the banking conference yesterday.