Rules Coming Soon For Cambodia’s FinTech Industry

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Cambodia has huge potential to develop and adopt digital platforms to deliver a wider array of financial services, according to experts speaking at a forum in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

The National Bank of Cambodia and the private sector are holding talks to determine inputs for regulation of financial technology, or FinTech.

Bank director-general Chea Serey said yesterday at a FinTech Awareness Forum at the Sofitel Hotel on Tuesday that the bank was preparing regulations which would be announced publicly soon. “There are a variety of services in FinTech and it is not only a service for money transferring,” she said.

“FinTech contributes a lot to financial inclusion and that allows people access to financial services at reasonable prices. It also enables rural people to access financial services easily. For example, if customers want to borrow from a bank, they go to the bank office to fill out a form. But if there is a good digital system that can be trusted, customers can just use their phone to fill in the form,” she added.

Serey revealed that the regulations are being prepared and they would be published in the third quarter of the year. “It requires us to prepare FinTech strategies and it needs stakeholders to collaborate with each other,” she said, adding that the FinTech forum was a first for Cambodia and its aim was to disseminate information about financial technology “because the understanding of FinTech is limited”.

“FinTech has just started in Cambodia, but ASEAN countries are far ahead of us with the technology,” she said.

Sim Chankiriroth, CEO and founder of online accounting firm BanhJi, said his company was working with financial institutions to help customers get easy access to finance online by using technology. “The government is trying to understand the sector first before passing any regulations, so this is the first important step for us as a startup business,” he said.

Samuel Hall, program director of Startupbootcamp FinTech, said the Cambodian FinTech scene was less developed compared with other countries in ASEAN. “But that could change,” he noted. “Many of the necessary elements exist in Cambodia to develop FinTech ecosystems. There are good reasons to believe the kingdom will rise up to the occasion.”

Digital finance could boost Cambodia’s gross domestic product by six percent, according to a report of Asian Development Bank.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.