The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) plans to expand its cross-border payment and transfer connections to China, Singapore and India this year.

NBC governor Chea Serey made the announcement during a workshop titled “Financial Technology (fintech) Development Policy for 2023-28” held last week in Phnom Penh.

With the surge in fintech, she said, the central bank introduced the blockchain-based Bakong system, enabling seamless transactions between financial institutions via QR Code, which now serves over 10 million users.

She emphasised how fintech has bolstered Cambodia’s banking sector, especially through the introduction of a user-friendly, efficient and affordable digital payment system.

“[Bakong] has streamlined our domestic banking infrastructure and revolutionised international transactions,” she said.

Serey noted that Cambodia has already established cross-border payment connections with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

“[Fintech] has made international remittances faster, more affordable and transparent, benefiting Cambodians abroad in particular. This year, we’re extending our services to China, Singapore and India,” she said.

In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA Bank, said it is crucial for Cambodia to broaden its cooperative efforts.

“Our bank, chosen by the NBC, has been partnering on cross-border payments with India’s NPCI International Payment Ltd (NIPL) system since May. It’s a source of national pride that our currency is accepted in these partner nations,” he said.

Serey noted that during the first half of this year, Bakong saw over 35.4 million transactions, amounting to more than $12 billion, equivalent to approximately 67% of gross domestic product (GDP). Digital payment transactions during this period constituted 892% of GDP.