The number of e-wallet accounts in the Kingdom reached 17.9 million at end-December amid an acceleration in electronic payment volumes driven in part by Covid-19 anxiety, reflecting gradual fintech (financial technology) development towards achieving the government’s digital economy objectives.

The figure was revealed by the National Bank of Cambodia’s (NBC) “Macroeconomic and Banking Sector Development in 2022 and Outlook for 2023” report, which noted that newer advanced technological solutions and upgrades have led to an increase in “the efficiency of payment and settlement in both domestic and international transfers”.

The central bank added that “regional connectivity with other countries has also been strengthened to help facilitate interoperability between banks and financial institutions, thus promoting trade, investment and tourism”.

Cambodia Post Bank Plc (CPBank) CEO Toch Chaochek told The Post on January 22 that digital payment growth in the Kingdom has gradually been picking up speed over the last few years, especially during the pandemic, as technological innovations make paying for goods and services even more convenient.

This trend “underscores that our people are gaining a greater understanding of and are becoming more accustomed to using fintech solutions as daily life payment options.

“This has also improved financial literacy and inclusion in Cambodia,” he said, sharing that e-wallet accounts at CPBank have passed the 200,000 mark and have been rising significantly each year.

NBC assistant governor and director-general Chea Serey in June said that fast-growing digital payment systems have facilitated the flow of goods and services transactions, adding that the resulting changes were most evident during the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2021.

She also pointed out that electronic payment transactions, including amounts in US dollars and the local currency, were equivalent to about 3.8 times the 2021 gross domestic product (GDP), suggesting a GDP estimate of roughly 0.11 quadrillion riel ($27 billion) for 2021.

For reference, the NBC had reported that electronic payment transactions worth 415.5 trillion riel were made nationwide in 2021, marking a 34.5 per cent rise over 2020, as the number of e-wallet accounts reached 13.6 million, amounting to more than 80 per cent of the total population.

Some 343.8 million transactions worth nearly 200 trillion riel were made via e-wallet accounts in 2021, representing a 17.3 per cent increase in value over 2020, the central bank said in its 2021 Financial Stability Review (FSR).

ACLEDA Bank Plc senior executive vice-president and group chief operations officer So Phonnary said the digital transactions processed by the bank in 2021 amounted to 143.623 trillion riel, or $35.030 billion, which she said accounted for a 34 per cent market share. As of May, the ACLEDA Mobile app had more than 2.5 million downloads.

Advanced Bank of Asia Ltd (ABA Bank), meanwhile, reported the total digital transaction volume on its ABA Mobile app at “almost $100 billion” as of June 30, 2022.