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ACLEDA reports e-payments boom after Pay Me launch

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The ACLEDA Bank headquarters on the capital’s Monivong Boulevard, on December 2019. Hong Menea

ACLEDA reports e-payments boom after Pay Me launch

Locally-owned ACLEDA Bank Plc reported strong growth in digital and electronic payments, just a few days after it launched the new Pay Me function on its mobile app to make transactions easier and faster.

ACLEDA senior executive vice-president and group chief operations officer So Phonnary said the digital transactions processed by the bank last year amounted to 143.623 trillion riel ($35.030 billion), accounting for a 34 per cent market share. As of last month, the ACLEDA Mobile app has more than 2.5 million downloads.

She ascribed the positive results to the Covid-19 pandemic, a surge in digital and technological awareness and adoption amid an evolving scene, and Cambodians’ improving economic situations.

“Moreover, customers and suppliers are encouraged … to transact via digital banking channels as much as they are able to,” Phonnary said. “To promote such a strategy, customers are rewarded via many ways by [promotions] such as cash back, discounts, vouchers, and so on.”

Phonnary said the Pay Me feature would make it easier for merchants to request payment for customers via dynamic QR code, where the amount of payment and the receiver account have been determined. She said the feature also aims to improve efficiency, accuracy, and security.

According to the National Bank of Cambodia’s (NBC) 2021 Financial Sustainability Review (FSR), electronic payment transactions worth 415.5 trillion riel ($102 billion) were made nationwide last year, 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.

The large proportion of young people with access to mobile devices and internet, coupled with supportive regulatory frameworks, have encouraged banks and financial institutions to introduce innovative digital payment services with agents across the country, which in turn has significantly helped boost financial inclusion, it added.

NBC assistant governor and director-general Chea Serey said at the FSR’s launch 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 last year.

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 110 trillion riel for last year.

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