Mobile banking widens gap with internet banking in Cambodia

Mobile banking widens gap with internet banking in Cambodia

Mobile banking remains the most popular form of banking in Cambodia as mobile-based transactions reportedly continue to grow, while internet transactions are now declining.

According to the Khmer Times, data from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) shows that banking transactions via mobile phones grew 11% year on year to 746.7 trillion riel ($164 billion) in 2023, while internet banking transactions using laptops and PCs shrunk 7% in the same period to 74.5 trillion riel.

Figures from the last five years show that while mobile banking has outpaced internet banking since 2019, it’s growth rate has been much faster. This is to be expected, as Cambodia has twice as many mobile connections as internet connections. According to Datareportal, there were 22.16 million active mobile connections in the country at the start of 2023, versus 11.37 million internet connections, which works out to penetration rates of 131.5% and 67.5%, respectively.

However, internet banking in Cambodia appears to have peaked in 2021, which NBC said is partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The figures from 2023 mark the biggest decline in internet banking transactions since then.

Bridge Bank CEO Richard HC Liew told Khmer Times that the disparity is partly to do with the fact that internet banking is used primarily by corporate clients, while mobile banking is driven by the consumer sector.

Liew also credited the promotion of NBC’s Bakong mobile payment system for the surge in mobile banking, the report said.

Bakong was developed by NBC in partnership with Japanese tech firm Soramitsu and launched in 2020. An earlier report from NBC said the Bakong mobile app recorded 200.93 million transactions in 2023, five times higher than the previous year.

The NBC report also credited Bakong’s interoperability between banks and merchants as a factor in its growing popularity.

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