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ABC collaborated with International Card Schemes to drive payment card interoperability in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, 23 Nov 2021 –The Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC) together with International Card Schemes—Visa, MasterCard and UnionPay International, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to extend the access of the contactless EMV chip standards, to strengthen the domestic payment ecosystem, to support the National Bank of Cambodia’s Cambodian Shared Switch (CSS) network as well as CSS Co-Badge.

The MoU signing ceremony is presided over by H.E Dr. Chea Serey, Assistant Governor and Director-General of Central Banking at the National Bank of Cambodia, accompanied by Dr. In Channy, Chairman of the Association of Bank in Cambodia, Ms. Monika Chum, Visa Country Manager for Cambodia, Mr. Sophal Tek, Director Country Business Development Cambodia and Laos of MasterCard and Ms. Leang Chenda, Cambodia Country General Manager of UnionPay International. The event is organized by ABC with around 50 participants physically and more than 100 virtually from government officials, Member Banks, members from the international card schemes and relevant stakeholders.

There are three MoUs signed in this event.

  1. ABC-Visa MoU: Visa will extend the access to Visa’s contactless EMV chip[1] standards to strengthen the domestic payment ecosystem and support the Cambodian Shared Switch (CSS) network to co-badge with other international card schemes. In 2019, Visa offered its EMV chip standards to the ABC as the national chip specification to accelerate the migration of magnetic stripe payment cards to secure contact EMV chip technology. In addition, ABC and Visa will work together to support the National Bank of Cambodia in developing the domestic payments system. Under the MOU signed with ABC, Visa has also agreed to invest in white plastic review and support the CSS network in this work. For ABC members that choose to co-badge with other international card schemes, Visa has pledged to connect them with third party companies for the relevant services.
  2. ABC- Mastercard MoU:the prime objective, is to establish possible business co-operation between Mastercard and ABC with regard to the issuance of co-badged debit cards in Cambodia in accordance with local issuance and branding regulation, including National Bank Cambodia’s Prakas on The Utilization of Trademarks for Fast Payment and the Cambodian Shared Switch System.
  3. ABC-UnionPay International MoU: the collaboration on the co-badged debit card issuance will enable ABC Member institutions  to issue  co-badged cards to their customers with accessibility to the CSS network domestically to support domestic payment ecosystem, and to inform all ABC Members of UnionPay-CSS co-badged debit card requirements.

NBC’s Assistant Governor and Director-General of Central BankingH.E Dr. Chea Serey said, “Payment system plays a crucial role in contributing to the economic development through providing efficient payment for trade and fund transfer.” H.E Dr Serey added that with rapid development of technology, banking and financial institutions have leveraged on innovative technology such as ATM/POS, Contactless, Mobile payment and QR payment to facilitate their operation and meet market demand.

“The MoU signing today is believed to further address remaining challenges by enabling faster adoption of CSS system for members of institutions, providing the convenience to customers to use payment cards and CSS system, and improve the NBC’s implementation of the NBC’s Notification. Promoting safety and efficiency of the payment systems is the main objective of the National Bank of Cambodia in order to support financial inclusion agenda of the government and move toward the cashless economy. To achieve this, it requires the commitment and collaboration between authorities and private sector, not only in Cambodia but also in the region,” H.E Dr. Serey added.

Chairman of the Association of Banks in Cambodia, Dr. In Channy, said: “The MoUs signing with the three international card schemes, namely Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay International, marks a big milestone toward the adoption and the implementation of a digital economy and the transformation to a cashless society. The ABC and the three international card schemes have been actively collaborating to promote the digital agenda in Cambodian society.”

He added that the MoUs is in line with government’s National Strategy on Financial Inclusion 2019-2025 and with Cambodia Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework 2021-2035. Dr. Channy said the objective of the Royal Government of Cambodia is to build a vibrant digital economy and society by laying the foundations for promoting digital adoption and transformation in all sectors of society, the state, citizens, and businesses—to promote new economic growth and improve social welfare in the “New Normal.”

Ms. Monika Chum, Visa Country Manager for Cambodia, said: “Providing our technology for co-badging by commercial banks and Microfinance Deposit Taking Institutes is a testament to Visa’s commitment to the market. This will allow the entire payments industry to benefit from our world-leading technology, supporting the local payments ecosystem to grow more robust.”

Winnie Wong, Country Manager, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, Mastercard said, “Across the world and even in Cambodia, consumers are adopting a digital-first approach to how they live, work, and pay. Mastercard is honored to be part of this MoU that will play a pivotal role in enabling Cambodia’s ambition of becoming a leading digital economy. Together with key players in the private and public sector, Mastercard will be leveraging its global knowledge, expertise, and innovation to create a payments ecosystem that provides consumers in Cambodia greater choice and flexibility in how they want to pay, anywhere and anytime”.

Ms. Leang Chenda, Cambodia Country General Manager of UnionPay International, said that UnionPay International is fully aligned with NBC on fostering a cashless society in the kingdom and making financial services more inclusive and efficient. She added, “We are delighted to collaborate with ABC to help modernize Cambodia’s payment infrastructure and encourage more innovation in payment products and services. Under the co-badge debit card arrangement, ABC members will be able to extend their customer accessibility to the CSS network domestically to support the domestic payment ecosystem. Outside Cambodia, UnionPay customers can use the cards internationally through our network across 179 markets.”