Malaysia’s Maybank and the National Bank of Cambodia yesterday announced the launch of a real-time funds transfer service between Malaysia and Cambodia — the first international partnership between a bank and Cambodia’s Bakong digital payments system.

Fast facts

  • The service facilitates fund transfers via NBC’s Bakong e-wallet and Maybank’s MAE app. It allows Maybank customers in Malaysia to transfer up to US$2,500 daily via the MAE app to recipients in Cambodia through mobile phone numbers registered with Cambodia’s Bakong e-wallet. A minimal fee will be charged for the service, according to Maybank. Fund transfers from Cambodia to Malaysia will be rolled out at a later date.
  • Serey Chea, an assistant governor at the National Bank of Cambodia, said in a statement: “We are very pleased to launch the Maybank-Bakong Cross Border Funds Transfer, which is Bakong’s first inter-country payment service. Cambodia citizens working or residing in Malaysia will greatly benefit from this service as they are now able to transfer money to their Bakong e-wallets easily and at a low cost. This gives them greater financial empowerment as they are able to actively manage their own funds including paying bills for their families and transferring money to their loved ones.”
  • Bakong is a digital payment system that allows for payments, deposits and cash transfers in a tokenized version of the Cambodian riel or U.S. dollar. Speaking at an event in June, Chea said that Bakong, while widely regarded as a central bank digital currency due to some of its features, such as its underlying technology, was intended to be a backbone payment system. “From a legal perspective it is not [a CBDC],” said Chea, adding that the Cambodian central bank did not have any direct liability to the public.
  • Since its launch in October 2020, Bakong has acquired 5.9 million users across Cambodia, with 1.4 million transactions recorded on the network amounting to a value of US$500 million.

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