The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) on Tuesday unveiled a financial literacy campaign aimed at boosting awareness among young Cambodians by way of their mobile devices.
The central bank’s new digital application, available as “NBC-Edu” in app stores, allows users to study basic financial tools on iPhone and Android devices.
The programme, developed by NBC experts and sponsored by Visa Cambodia, is designed for students 8 to 18 years old.
Chea Serey, the NBC director-general, said on Tuesday that consumer credit and digital payment systems have become more available in Cambodia, with an increasing number of people using them to purchase goods.
Serey warned that without an understanding of basic financial tools, young Cambodians are at risk of becoming over-indebted or falling victim to scams and predatory lending from the informal banking sector. The Kingdom’s poor are also vulnerable, she said.
“For now, what they want, they can purchase it [through a consumer loan]. But they must know their ability to pay it back,” said Serey, adding that the NBC’s role is to protect consumers and that increasing financial literacy is part of that function.
“Through our new digital education program, we hope to make them more knowledgeable about how to properly use financial services, and to make them less vulnerable to risk,” she said.
The new mobile app is not the only aspect of the NBC’s financial literacy campaign. The bank said it had worked with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, as well as with development partners, to design a curriculum to teach students about savings, loans and financial management.
The curriculum is being finalised now, the bank said, and will be rolled out in the 2019 academic year. The central bank said it had already distributed materials to some Cambodian schools in a bid to increase financial literacy.
Chum Monika, the country manager for Visa Cambodia, said at Tuesday’s ceremony that increasing financial awareness among young Cambodians was crucial, especially as the economy accelerates and financial services and products become more accessible.
At the launching event, the NBC and Visa signed a memorandum of understanding to continue their partnership on financial literacy initiatives in Cambodia.
Monika said that Cambodians have a responsibility to understand financial management “because their decision on any expenditure affects their own economic status, family economy and the country’s economy.”