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Diversifying and expanding Cards and Payments Industry in Cambodia: Ken Research

Posted on 31 January 2017 by KenResearch Banking Financial Services and Insurance,

Ken research announced recent publication on, "The Cards and Payments Industry in Cambodia: Emerging Trends and Opportunities to 2021". This report provides detailed analysis of market trends in the Cambodian cards and payments industry. It provides values and volumes for a number of key performance indicators in the industry, including check payments and payment cards during the review period (2012-2016).

The report also analyses various payment card markets operating in the industry, and provides detailed information on the number of cards in circulation, and transaction values and volumes during the review period and over the forecast period (2017-2021). It also offers information on the country's competitive landscape, including the market shares of issuers and schemes. The report brings together modelling and analysis expertise to allow banks and card issuers to identify segment dynamics and competitive advantages.

One year since the central bank soft-launched its FAST payment system it is taking the system public, making electronic riel-denominated transfers available to the customers of more than a dozen financial institutions. The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) launched the Fast and Secure Transfer (FAST) Payment system in July 2016. Cambodia is gradually shifting from a cash-based economy to an electronic payment culture as more financial institutions launch internet or mobile banking and expand their ATM networks.

FAST Payment offers a quick, secure and efficient method of interbank transactions in local currency for commercial banks and micro deposit-taking institutions (MDIs). FAST Payment offers its services to 13 commercial banks and MDIs. Banks that have adopted this system include Acleda Bank, Cambodian Public Bank, Canadia, Advanced Bank of Asia (ABA), BIDC, Phillip and Sathapana. The NBC is developing a Shared Switch System, an integrated platform to facilitate electronic payments such as transactions at ATMs, POS terminals and online and mobile payments.

This innovation in payment method in the country will promote the use of local currency, enhance transparency through electronic payment, reduce cash circulation in the market, and finally, improve effectiveness of financial resources utilisation, Leading international schemes, including MasterCard and UnionPay International, are making their presence felt in the country's debit card market, which was previously dominated by Visa. MasterCard is collaborating with several banks to strengthen its foothold in Cambodia; in July 2016, for instance, MasterCard established partnerships with 13 banks in Cambodia, including six foreign-owned banks and Acleda Bank, the leading debit card issuer.

The new riel-denominated payment transfer system helps to reduce time and fees on transactions between banks or MDIs. UnionPay International collaborated with ABA to offer the ABA UnionPay Debit Card in Cambodia, following their card issuance cooperation agreement in 2014. The transaction fee is also very much lower than before. The system, which aims to increase riel use and circulation, allows customers to transfer funds across banks and deposit-taking MFIs. The funds can be used in various ways such as to pay bills, send remittances, cover online payments or pay taxes.

 Although a dual-currency economy, it has a potentially good environment for card acceptance – does not have a wide merchant compliance of credit cards.  Since the inception of the CBC in 2011, the average growth in the number of credit card users has been at a steady rate of about fifty per cent per annum. All financial institutions licensed by the NBC to operate in the Kingdom are members of the CBC, which comprises 120 members by today. Even though the use of credit cards in Cambodia is limited to the capital and major tourist areas, more businesses and consumers are opening up to credit cards. however, acknowledges it is true that some people right now still prefer to use cash, seeing it as a more convenient way to control their real-time, physical money.

Banks still do not offer credit card services. Instead, it taps into the safer option of debit cards, offering as many as three different types to its customers – all with a rewards system that encourages the continuous use of the card, in collaboration with big-brand names such as Lucky Supermarket, Guardian, and Aeon Supermarket. Economist although are optimistic that credit cards will be widespread among Cambodians in the coming years, with the entrance of more banks to accommodate the country’s free-market economy and steadily rising economic growth and the number can only increase as Cambodians start to understand the practice of using credit cards in the very near future.

The emergence of mobile banking applications is likely to accelerate a shift towards alternative payments in Cambodia. In May 2016, Maybank launched a mobile banking app for customers in Cambodia, allowing them to conduct banking transactions, transfer funds and make online purchases. In the same month, ABA introduced ABA Mobile, allowing ABA customers to conduct a number of transactions using a code rather than a card, including P2P payments, cash withdrawal at ATMs, transaction and balance history checks, and utility bill payments.

FAST system will help improve and encourage electronic fund transfers, such as those used for bill payments, remittances or online purchases. It would contributes to boosting business activity as it facilitates the ordering of goods and payments are made the same day. It will also help to boost e-commerce activity.


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Related links:

Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (KOTAKBANK)-Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review 

Perpetual Limited (PPT)-Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review 


Ken Research
Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications