Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - QR codes make late entry into under-banked Cambodia



QR codes make late entry into under-banked Cambodia

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
QR codes can reduce the invisible costs associated with cash. Photo supplied

QR codes make late entry into under-banked Cambodia

Cambodia has struggled to increase the number of digital transactions in its economy, but Quick Response codes, a technology commonly known as “QR,” could be the solution to rapidly and cheaply reduce cash usage in the Kingdom.

QR codes allow for money transfers from one entity to another, usually a customer and a merchant, through a barcode that can be scanned by a smartphone or a QR reader device. The technology eliminates the need for cash and can make instant transfers between bank accounts.

The technology remains relatively unknown in Cambodia but several players in the financial sector are looking to transform the payment market by introducing Cambodia’s young and technology savvy population to QR code applications. Tomas Pokorny, CEO of soon-to-be launched digital payment company Pi Pay, said that QR payments are highly adapted for Cambodia’s growing digital payment sector.

“QR code payment is one of the best available options for leapfrogging the standard and more conservative payment methods used around the world,” he said. “It is more affordable and less invasive than card payments for example, and utilises already existing smartphone software that does not require any other equipment, like a card reader, that is necessary in other payment methods.”

Pokorny noted that deploying this type of cheap technology made particular sense in a country with a low-banked population, such as Cambodia. It reduces costs for both merchants and customers and enables payments with either low or inexistent payment fees, he added.

“Being able to deposit cash into a system that uses QR is more secure than carrying money around,” he said. “QR code payment is particularly suited to an ‘under-banked’ population like Cambodia, where cash has traditionally been kind but where smartphone ownership keeps rising at a staggering rate.”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Acleda Bank CEO In Channy has implemented QR codes. Heng Chivoan

In Channy, president and CEO of Acleda Bank, said that his institution had made QR code payments available to its customers through its Toan Chet mobile application launched earlier this month. He noted that the service had already seen rapid adoption, with the application growing to 22,500 registered users and 391 merchants.

“We hope to have 2 million active users in five years,” he said. “It is like a mini bank in their hands, and there are no fees involved.”

Digital payments solutions like QR codes reduce the invisible costs associated with cash, Channy explained, eliminating risks of counterfeit or torn bank notes. He added that it also reduced the burden on governments and official institutions like the National Bank by reducing the amount of bank notes needed to be printed, saving time and money.

For merchants, QR codes would also drastically reduce the costs of accepting digital payments, allowing for widespread adoption, even for smaller businesses with less capital, Channy said.

“For the merchant, investment for a point of sale system costs them at least $400, but for QR, there are no additional costs, you just print the code,” he said. “It is secure, convenient and quick. The customer does not need to come to the bank branch and it saves a lot of time for them.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Aeon, Micromax partner again for third mall

    AEON Mall (Cambodia) Co Ltd and a locally-owned Micromax Co Ltd have entered into a partnership agreement to develop fibre optic infrastructure for $200 million Aeon Mall 3, which is expected to be opened in 2023. The agreement was signed on June 20 between Masayuki Tsuboya, managing director of