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Ly Hour to join cash transfer market

Ly Hour to join cash transfer market

Domestic money-transfer service Ly Hour Pay Pro has received an operating licence from the central bank and will begin operations soon with 1,000 agents nationwide, the chairman of the eponymous Ly Hour Group said yesterday.

According to Ly Hour, the new company will focus on domestic money transfers, pre-paid mobile phone top-ups and bill payment services.

“We will provide an international standard of service with trusted and secure [operations],” he said. “We will be open seven days a week with a competitive cost, and with our agents located close to our clients’ home.”

Established in 1986, Ly Hour Group’s subsidiaries are engaged in microfinance, real estate and pawn shop operations.

Ly Hour Pay Pro is the latest entrant in Cambodia’s crowded money-transfer market, which includes Royal Group-backed Wing, AMK Money Transfer, Metfone’s E-money and AsiaWeiluy. True Money, a subsidiary of Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, entered the market last December with plans to establish 5,000 agents across the country.

Kim Vada, director general of banking supervision at the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), said the Kingdom’s domestic money transfer services have developed significantly in the last five years. In 2010 there was just one service, today with the launch of Ly Hour Pay Pro there are 10.

“Half of adults in Cambodia are using this kind of service and the sector has grown significantly,” Vada said. “NBC will continue to monitor the financial and banking system, as well as money transfer services, to ensure [they adhere to its] efficiency, safety and standard regulations.”

Chea Roattana, head of branchless banking and channel management at AMK Microfinance Institution, which operates AMK’s money transfer service, said the launch of Ly Hour’s money-transfer service will increase competition in the market. He expects the increased competition will lead to market segmentation, with each player selecting a target group to focus on.

“I don’t know what clients Ly Hour will target, but for AMK, we only target smaller transfers by lower-income people,” he said “I think the smaller transfer segment is a bit narrow now.”

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