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Central Bank, Cellcard tackle financial illiteracy

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times Share:
The National Bank of Cambodia building in Phnom Penh. KT/Mai Vireak

In a bid to improve financial literacy in the country, the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) today presented to the public a mobile phone information service that will give users access to tips on the management of personal finances.

The initiative is a collaboration with leading mobile operator Cellcard, whose on-demand mobile information service, dubbed ‘3-2-1 Service’, has been expanded to include financial management topics.

Other partners in the initiative are Good Return, an Australian international development agency, and Viamo, a social enterprise that has helped implement the 3-2-1 Service in 15 countries.

Cambodians can now dial the numbers 321 on their cellphones to access information in Khmer language on savings, using credit effectively, managing debt and preventing over-indebtedness, among other financial topics. The service can be accessed in basic mobile phones and does not require an internet connection.

While it is free for Cellcard users, customers of other networks will have to pay, with NBC saying it will cost the same as a regular phone call.

“The National Bank of Cambodia is committed to improving financial literacy in Cambodia through various projects. The 3-2-1 Service is another initiative that aims to provide financial education tips for Cambodians,” said Rath Sovannorak, director general of banking supervision at NBC.

Shane Nichols, CEO of Good Return, said the pre-recorded messages are designed for communities that have traditionally experienced financial exclusion. “We are excited to continue our collaboration with the National Bank of Cambodia on initiatives to empower all Cambodians as consumers in a rapidly evolving financial system.”

Meanwhile, Ian Watson, Cellcard’s CEO, said that financial education, combined with mobile technology, can have a huge impact on those living below the poverty line.

“This is why Cellcard focuses on accelerating mobile data penetration in Cambodia by giving affordable access to mobile data for all, irrespective of income, education or location.

“We are proud to support the NBC, Viamo and Good Return in making the 3-2-1 Service available in Cambodia,” he added.

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