Cambodia's Acleda Bank Plc and Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank Pcl (SCB) have teamed up to launch an innovative payment system that will allow customers to pay in either country using their own currency.

The system uses QR codes to allow customers to conduct cashless transactions.

The move comes after the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bank of Thailand on cooperation in financial innovation and payment systems.

The agreement aimed to create an ‘Interoperable QR Payment’ system to promote the use of the Cambodian riel and the Thai baht.

NBC selected three locals banks to participate in the new cross-border payment service – Acleda Bank, Foreign Trade Bank of Cambodia and Cambodian Commercial Bank Ltd.

On Tuesday, Acleda Bank, Cambodia’s largest locally-owned bank, and SCB launched the new cross-border, QR code-based payment system, which will help Cambodia and Thailand achieve their goal of attaining $15 billion in two-way trade in 2020.

Recent data from the Thai Embassy in Cambodia shows that two-way trade was worth about $9 billion last year, an increase of 7.14 per cent from 2018.

Speaking at the launch on Tuesday, Acleda Bank president and group managing director In Channy said the partnership with SCB will be of great benefit to customers when they travel to Thailand.

“Now SCB’s customers can make payments in Cambodia using Cambodian QR codes and Acleda Bank’s customers can pay in Thailand using Thai QR codes,” he said.

“Thailand is one of the most attractive tourist destinations globally. This partnership with SCB will give a tremendous boost to our cross-border, QR code-based payment network.

“As leaders in digital banking, the synergy between Acleda Bank and SCB will bring many benefits to travellers in the region,” he added.

SCB president Sarut Ruttanaporn said: “The Interoperable QR Payment system is important because Cambodia is a popular destination for Thai tourists who like to go to Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh.”

“In Thailand, the number of users of digital mobile applications surpassed 47 million in 2019, with SCB alone having about 10 million users. The Interoperable QR Payment system will provide a better experience for Thai tourists travelling to Cambodia and making payments for goods and services,” he added.