• Maybank, Cambodia’s central bank, collaborates on cross-border digital currency transfers

  • Malaysia’s Maybank and Cambodia’s National Bank of Cambodia announced the launch of a real-time funds transfer service between the two countries yesterday, marking the first international collaboration between a bank and Cambodia’s Bakong digital payments system.

    The service enables fund transfers via the NBC Bakong e-wallet and the Maybank MAE app. It enables Maybank Malaysia customers to transfer up to US$2,500 per day via the MAE app to recipients in Cambodia using mobile phone numbers registered with Cambodia’s Bakong e-wallet. According to Maybank, the service will be charged at a low cost. Fund transfers from Cambodia to Malaysia will be implemented in the future.

    “We are very pleased to launch the Maybank-Bakong Cross Border Funds Transfer, which is Bakong’s first inter-country payment service,” Serey Chea, an assistant governor at the National Bank of Cambodia, said in a statement. Cambodians working or residing in Malaysia will benefit greatly from this service because they can now easily and cheaply transfer money to their Bakong e-wallets. This gives them more financial power because they can actively manage their own funds, such as paying bills for their families and transferring money to loved ones.”

    Bakong is a digital payment system that enables payments, deposits, and cash transfers in a tokenized version of the Cambodian riel or the US dollar. Chea stated at a June event that Bakong, while widely regarded as a central bank digital currency due to some of its characteristics, such as its underlying technology, was intended to be a backbone payment system. “From a legal standpoint, it is not [a CBDC],” Chea said, adding that the Cambodian central bank had no direct liability to the public.

    Bakong has gained 5.9 million users across Cambodia since its launch in October 2020, with 1.4 million transactions totaling US$500 million recorded on the network.

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