Cambodian Market Slow To Adopt Digital Payment Apps

Cambodian vendors can be slow to accept cashless payments because of the cost and risks of relying on digital transactions.

A cashless society within 10 years has been predicted for Cambodia, but despite an uptick in digital payment apps now available, experts say the absence of an e-commerce law, reluctance among both consumers and vendors, and the diminutive Cambodian market are major hurdles to overcome before such a system really takes hold here.

The use of e-wallet apps, already extremely popular in China, is growing fast in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, with Vietnam declaring earlier this year its intentions to rely on cash for less than 10 percent of all transactions by 2020.

Meanwhile, numerous e-wallets apps have been launched in Cambodia, including bill payment and money transfer service SmartLuy from mobile operator Smart, and food ordering service Tesjor. PayGo also allows users to pay utility bills, book tickets, purchase goods and play the lottery, with accounts loaded via kiosks throughout the city.

A new digital payment app called Pi Pay aims to combine features from popular Chinese social media apps WeChat and Alipay, such as buying goods, book travel, transfer money and send messages. The app is backed by an undisclosed international bank, with local support from Anco Group and businessman Rithy Samnang.

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