As the value of cashless payments rose to $9.9 billion for 2018, according to the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and with more players entering the market driving further innovation within the sector, experts warn that the issue of cybersecurity needs to be addressed before Cambodia can become truly cashless.
“I think what’s lacking much more when it comes to fintech (financial technology) is solutions that will really help – long term solutions, mainly in identification, KYC (know your customer), money laundering and big, big issues on fraud,” says Tomas Pokorny, CEO of Pi Pay – one of the leading Cambodian cashless payment providers.
Mr Pokorny warns that, without governmental assistance, costly but necessary fintech innovations won’t happen in time to keep pace with the growing level of digitisation taking place across the Kingdom.
“It’s not only about the money, but the legislation right?” he continues. “For example, what would really help would be a centralised ID system – everybody, including foreigners, being registered with a centralised ID system, everything is uniform, including your KYC procedures, through one simple ID.”
While Mr Pokorny admits that this, as well as the switch to a cashless, digital society, is a long way off for Cambodia, progress is clearly being made.
Last month Visa announced their Security Roadmap for Cambodia, laying the groundwork for a promising series of advances in cybersecurity through the devaluation of sensitive data and the implementation of further safeguards for merchants and consumers.
“Securing the commerce ecosystem is our highest priority and one we view as a shared responsibility between payment networks, consumers, banks and the government,” explains Shivakumar Sriraman, Visa’s Head of Risk for Southeast Asia. “Ultimately, though, electronic payments are going to underpin Cambodia’s future growth – and we at Visa look forward to supporting this.”
As more cashless payment options enter the Cambodian market, Matthew Tippetts – CEO and co-founder of Clik – hopes to create an aggregator that will enable greater flexibility for merchants and consumers, with Clik expected to go live next year.
“We’re blessed to be in Cambodia, because the NBC has created a specific legal framework – the payment service provider licence – which is a very comprehensive application. It goes through all the key paths for managing risk, managing data security,” Mr Tippetts explains, adding that when operational, Clik will be abiding by global standards of KYC and providing greater security to Cambodian consumers.
“We are going to be certified PCI DSS level one, which is the highest level of certification for payment companies, which process Visa, MasterCard, for example,” he says.