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Interview: China's fast rise of mobile payments inspiring Cambodia: Pi Pay CEO

Copyfrom:Xinhua News AgencyPost Time:2019-07-22 09:40:19

China's fast growth of mobile payments is an inspiration for Cambodia, which is moving gradually towards a cashless society, CEO of Pi Pay, a leading cashless payment app in Cambodia, Tomas Pokorny said. 

"The widespread adoption of digital payments in China is certainly an inspiration - having digitalizing payments across all spectrum of the payment ecosystem - from banks to service providers to merchants," he said in recent interview with Xinhua. 

For Cambodia, he said to push the cashless revolution, fintech players need to look at how they can build a payment infrastructure that delivers quality, robust and secure solutions for both urban and rural consumers. 

"From expanding internet availability to digitalizing more public services to giving the rural population access to formal financial support, building a seamless payment ecosystem is essential to driving Cambodia towards a truly cashless economy," Pokorny said. 

He said Pi Pay is a Cambodian-owned digital or electronic wallet (e-wallet) that offers cashless payment services where users can use their smartphones to pay for goods and services without the hassle of using physical cash. 

Launched in 2017, the Pi Pay mobile payment app now has more than 260,000 users, processing 7.5 million individual transactions valued at over 170 million U.S. dollars. 

Pokorny said Pi Pay has partnered with China's Alipay, WeChat Pay and UnionPay to allow their customers to use their apps to pay at Pi Pay's Point of Sale payment systems across Cambodia. 

"These partnerships are important as we see a growing influx of Chinese tourists to Cambodia, which means the demand from visitors to safely access the apps they use daily at home is also increasing," he said. 

"Partnerships with Alipay, WeChat Pay and UnionPay allow us to make these payment apps easily available for visitors to use in Cambodia without any disruption to the way they spend money back home," he added. 

Pokorny said he saw a continued trend of growth in the use of mobile payment platforms in Cambodia as evidenced by the number of new players in the market in recent years. 

"More and more users and merchants are starting to appreciate the convenience of going cashless - in terms of increased security, minimized instances of fake bills or incorrect change and greater efficiency," he said.

"Using mobile payment apps reduces waiting time during check-out where people pay with cash and wait for change, or no need to make trips to ATMs or banks to deposit or withdraw cash," he added. 

He said the rapid growth of the Internet users is also a key contributor to the rise of cashless payment app users in the kingdom. 

"We foresee that the adoption of cashless payments will continue to grow, and will be far more normal outside of the main urban areas, as understanding of the convenience of cashless payments is better understood," Pokorny said. 

With the growing cashless trend in Cambodia, it is definitely an exciting time for anyone working in fintech here, the CEO opined. 

"There is plenty of opportunities to convert daily transactions into cashless payments. For instance, paying for utility bills, and monthly expenditures such as life insurance premiums, will continue to grow as people appreciate the ability to do this digitally and avoid lengthy trips to the bank or provider's offices," he said. 

"Another example is having better integration with the growing e-commerce and logistics sector. People are still ordering online, but paying in cash, which is an unnecessary step," he added. 

Pokorny believed digital money transfers and remittances from abroad will also grow. 

"We also see greater adoption of digital payments by government ministries," he said, adding that Pi Pay had signed a partnership with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to boost their digital payment options such as paying for driving licenses and vehicle registration. 

"I foresee more ministries adopting digital payments for public-facing services as a way to meet transparency requirements, and to boost efficiency of their operations," he added. 

However, getting Cambodia's "unbanked" and "under-banked" population to join the cashless society remains a key challenge, he said. 

The work of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in rural locations over the years has brought much of Cambodia's largely unbanked population in the formal financial space, he added. 

"The next step is to help this group, who are used to quick access to daily cash at hand, to embrace the cashless payment ecosystem," Pokorny said. "To this end, we are working with our multiple bank and MFI partners to actively push cashless initiatives so that they can enjoy the convenience of going cashless."


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