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Thunes, ABA partner on fast remittances

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Customers come and conduct transactions at a ABA branch in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Thunes, ABA partner on fast remittances

Global cross-border payment network Thunes has entered into a partnership with ABA – Cambodia’s largest commercial bank – to allow millions of overseas Cambodians to send money back home faster and more affordably, and cement its focus on the Kingdom as a vital Asian market, “with more capabilities to be rolled out in the near future”.

“Now, powered by Thunes’ last-mile capabilities and extensive global network, Cambodians living, working and studying overseas can send money back home instantly and at more competitive rates,” ABA said in a July 13 press release.

“Previously, customers making international money transfers to Cambodia had to pay high fees averaging close to 12 per cent on a $200 transfer and wait several days for the funds to reach their recipient,” it said citing World Bank data.

It noted that a migrant worker employed in Europe could “easily transfer funds to a family member back home in Phnom Penh using any bank, money transfer operator, or payment service provider within Thunes’ network, and the money would reach their beneficiaries instantly”.

At the same time, “locals and expats in Cambodia will also be able to receive real time bank account transfers from Thunes’ extensive network of sending partners, in addition to cash payouts already made available through Thunes”, the bank added.

Thunes global head of networks Andrew Stewart said the partnership with ABA “marks an important milestone as Thunes continues to improve access to Cambodia, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies”.

“We are delighted to offer this market-leading real-time payments service, supporting local and overseas Cambodian communities who rely on fast, secure transfers for their day-to-day needs and operations,” he said.

ABA chief international operations officer Zhiger Atchabarov said the bank is “committed to providing every customer with fast and convenient access to funds.

“Therefore, we praise the opportunity to leverage the speed, efficiency and global reach of Thunes to serve our customers’ needs even better. Accelerating digital innovation and value-added services for the benefit of the Cambodian community is core to the bank’s vision,” he said.

Cambodia received $1.2 billion in remittances from migrant workers abroad last year, marking a sharp 17 per cent drop from $1.5 billion in 2019, the National Bank of Cambodia reported last month.

The top source countries for remittances to the Kingdom – Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia, booked shares of overall remittances at 73 per cent, 16 per cent, six per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively, all logging year-on-year drops of 11 per cent, 30 per cent, four per cent and 51 per cent.

The central bank said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated economic activities, especially businesses, thus reducing demand for labour.”

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