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Central bank inaugurates digital campaign

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NBC assistant governor and director general Chea Serey delivers a speech at the lunching ceremony of the Bakong Pay App last year. Hean Rangsey

Central bank inaugurates digital campaign

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) on May 24 launched a new campaign to encourage a shift to digital banking channels, reducing the need for person-to-person transactions and limit the potential risk of Covid-19 transmission.

With its mandate to promote financial inclusion throughout the Kingdom, the NBC has been stalwart in its backing of digital and electronic payment services.

Using the slogan “Go online and go cashless to beat Covid-19!”, the central bank urges customers and retailers to adopt e-wallets and applications such as Bakong to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

According to the NBC, more than 59 per cent of Cambodians currently conduct payment transactions online.

NBC assistant governor and director general Chea Serey said: “As the regulator in banking sector in Cambodia it is vital that we work with the industry as part of our concerted national effort to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is why we are encouraging all Cambodians to use e-wallets and payment platforms such as Bakong because they minimise contact and risk.”

ACLEDA Bank Plc president and group managing director In Channy recently told The Post that his institution pioneered the transition to digital with the debut of ACLEDA Unity in July 2010 and still leads the fray with the continued development of the ACLEDA Unity ToanChet app launched in 2017.

“I think ‘digital’ means to increasingly support inclusive finance and leave no one behind in terms of having access to finance,” Channy said, adding that the Acleda mobile app currently has more than one million subscribers.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), however, urges caution when handling banknotes and advises people to wash their hands thoroughly after handling money – especially when touching or eating food.

The NBC’s Serey said: “While we realise that many Cambodians prefer to conduct their transactions in person and often in cash, we would like retailers and customers to become more used to a cashless life and for the payment platforms to do their best to educate and attract people to their apps.

“Digital transactions are now the new normal.”

Last year, the central bank launched the Bakong Pay App, the Kingdom’s only integrated payment system that offers a plethora of services including e-wallets, mobile payments, online banking and financial applications.

The app connects the country’s major financial institutions, allowing consumers and institutions far more flexibility and efficiency in digital transactions.

Participating institutions include Advanced Bank of Asia Ltd (ABA Bank), Acleda Bank Plc, AMK Microfinance Institution Plc, Bank for Investment and Development of Cambodia Plc (BIDC Bank), Cambodia Post Bank, Canadia Bank Plc, Chief (Cambodia) Commercial Bank Plc, Chip Mong Commercial Bank Plc, E-money Payment Solutions Plc and Foreign Trade Bank of Cambodia (FTB)

Also on the list are Hattha Bank Plc, LOLC (Cambodia) Plc, Prasac Microfinance Institution Plc, Prince Bank Plc, Phillip Bank Plc, Phnom Penh Commercial Bank Plc (PPCB), Sathapana Bank Plc, Speed Pay Plc, True Money (Cambodia) Plc, Vattanac Bank, WB Finance Co Ltd, WING (Cambodia) Limited Specialized Bank and Cambodia Public Bank Plc (Campu).

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