Banking association promotes development of eKYC in Cambodia

Harrison White

The Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC) has highlighted its members must continue to develop its electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) capabilities as Cambodia’s finance sector a digital transformation.

Enabling secure and effective electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) capabilities has been a key goal for the sector and is underpinned by the Cambodian government’s Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework 2021-2035 agenda.

eKYC is a technology that enables an organization to digitally verify customer documents against a previously verified database. In Cambodia, common problems with eKYC include people using multiple forms of identification to apply for services and a lack of a digital standard for verifying identity.

Inaugural Digital Forum on Cambodia Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework

Speaking at the recent event hosted by the association, Kong Marry Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance explained that Cambodia Digital Economy and Society refers to the digital transformation on every socio-economic sector.

He added. through the utilization of and take a maximum advantage on the advancement of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and digital technology to boost the economic growth and efficiency towards building a civilized society founded on the digital citizen who adopts the digital services with inclusion, trust, safety, and still maintaining our national identity and culture.

“The role of digital technology in banking, finance, business and other sectors is very important for the country,” Marry said.

“In addition, the Cambodia Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework 2021-2035 underscored the importance of eKYC. “MFIs, PSIs, and banks are key drivers in promoting the development and adoption of Fin-Tech and Digital Payment space and eKYC in Cambodia,” Marry added.

Cambodia’s only fully Singaporean-owned commercial bank, Phillip Bank Plc, has launched its new internet banking platform that will bring a whole host of new solutions to their clients, allowing them to efficiently process financial transactions through a safe and convenient internet gateway.

This newly launched product comes as Cambodia’s e-payment sector continues to grow rapidly. In 2020, the National Bank of Cambodia reported that more than 59 percent of Cambodians conducted online payment transactions.

Taing Nguonly, Executive Director of Techo Startup Centre, in his presentation, pointed out that eKYC is a process to onboard customers electronically in a secure manner while assessing the identity of those customers.

He forecast that eKYC will be in demand in the financial sector, public services, telecommunication sector, social protection, insurance, E-Commerce, trading platform and online transactions, health sector and many others.

“eKYC is one of the key enablers for digital economy development. In order to catch up with other countries’ digital economy and enhance financial inclusion in Cambodia, the government should have one workable and regulated eKYC used by public and private sectors,” he said.

Self banking infrastructure key for lowering operational costs

Over the past two years Cambodia’s banking sector has been increasing lending while also maintaining operational costs through the installment of self-banking infrastructure. One of Cambodia’s most digitally advanced banks ABA Bank has recently announced record profits.

ABA Bank has installed several self-banking spots in the high-traffic areas in Phnom Penh, and expanded existing premises to bring more self-banking areas as a response to the steadily growing clientele.

The infrastructure has allowed the company to rapidly increase lending and loan accounts while slightly reducing staff numbers from 6,410 staff at the end of 2019 to 6,372 today.

“These results rest primarily upon the Bank’s leverage on its state-of-art digital banking and self-banking platforms. In the period, the Bank continued improving its ABA Mobile banking application by bringing new convenient services and features, such as scheduled payments and transfers, improved bill payments and phone top-ups, enhanced cardless cash withdrawal feature, to name a few,” ABA Bank Chairman Yves Jacquot stated.

Cambodia Investment Review has previously reported on E-payments in Cambodia which are continuing a strong upward trend with data from the National Bank of Cambodia revealing there were 698.8 million transactions, valued at $199.76 billion in 2021 as more companies utilize e-payment technology.

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