Cambodia-Thailand cross-border QR (Quick Response) code transactions have risen significantly since the central banks launched their transnational QR code payment system in 2020.

In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA Bank Plc, one of the system’s participants, made the remark while speaking to reporters after the lender penned an agreement with Credit Bureau (Cambodia) Co Ltd (CBC) on a financial health check service for the “ACLEDA mobile” app.

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and Bank of Thailand (BoT) on June 6 formally rolled out Phase II of the QR code payment system, 1,204 days after the launch of the first phase on February 18, 2020.

The system currently enables KHQR payments to 7.6 million merchants in Thailand and ThaiQR payments to 1.5 million merchants in Cambodia, according to a statement posted on NBC deputy governor Chea Serey’s official Facebook page on June 6. KHQR and ThaiQR are universal QR code standards for retail payments in Cambodia and Thailand, respectively.

Channy noted that the system allows ACLEDA mobile users to make up to the equivalent of 52 million riel ($12,600) in payments each day to Thai merchants, through an unlimited number of transactions.

Between February 2020 and May 2023, ACLEDA mobile users made 9,555 transactions to the tune of 27 million baht ($775,000) through the system, he revealed.

He also shared that Bakong, the blockchain-based nationwide payment system, now boasts 48 members.

On July 3, 2022, the NBC formally launched the KHQR system – following a pilot run – which the central bank states was designed for cross-border retail payments within ASEAN.

Meanwhile, the central bank reaffirmed in its Annual Supervision Report 2022 that e-payment trends in Cambodia have greatly consolidated in recent years as more and more people switched from cash-based to digital transaction options.

By end-2022, “the number of registered e-wallet account[s] increased to 19.5 million and the total number of transactions jumped from 708 million to one billion with a total amount of $272.8 billion (increased by 34 per cent), approximately nine times the gross domestic product (GDP)”, the report said.

The report also highlighted a few of the several recent initiatives to enhance cross-border payment mechanisms and schemes with neighbouring countries.

“After a successful cooperation with the Bank of Thailand, the NBC has been working with the Bank of [the] Lao PDR and the State Bank of Vietnam to connect with payment systems of the countries, aiming at making cross-border payment more convenient, faster, safer, and inclusive,” it said.