Real-time mobile funds transfer between Malaysia and Cambodia now a reality

  • Up to USD 2,500 can be transferred from Malaysia to Cambodia daily
  • Uses Maybank’s MAE app and NBC’s Bakong e-wallet
  • Currently, only Malaysia to Cambodia transfers are available
  • Cambodia to Malaysia transfers to come at a later date

Last week, the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and Maybank jointly launched the Maybank-Bakong Cross Border Funds Transfer, a real-time funds transfer service between Malaysia and Cambodia through the NBC’s Bakong e-wallet and Maybank’s MAE app.  

The service allows Maybank customers in Malaysia to transfer funds directly to recipients in Cambodia via the MAE app. Funds can be transferred using just the mobile phone numbers of the recipients registered with Bakong e-wallet. In the first phase, customers will be able to transfer funds from Malaysia to Cambodia, while transfers from Cambodia to Malaysia will be rolled out at a later date.

 The service charges a minimal service fee, and Maybank customers are able to transfer funds up to USD2,500 (or RM10,000 equivalent) daily via their mobile devices. Maybank is currently having a promotion and will waive the service fees for all transfers made from now until 31 December 2021.

Fintech helping migrant workers in Malaysia

On the occasion of the launch, H.E. CHEA Chanto, Governor of the NBC said, “I am confident that Bakong cross-border payment and remittance between Cambodia and Malaysia would enable both countries to reach another level of financial cooperation in further leveraging technology to benefit the people in both countries, especially the migrant workers who need to remit funds to support their family in a secure and cost-efficient manner.” 

H.E. Dr. CHEA Serey, Assistant Governor and Director General of Central Banking of the NBC said, “Cambodian 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.”

“Beyond promoting the development of fintech and enhancing cross-border connectivity between Cambodia and Malaysia, enabling fast, low-cost international remittance to Cambodia is also a tool to accelerate financial inclusion for the underprivileged communities”, she added.

This initiative delivers a practical digital financial solution to provide Maybank’s customers, particularly Cambodians residing in Malaysia, with greater financial empowerment.

According to Group President and CEO of Maybank, Datuk Abdul Farid Alias, the service is the most convenient and cost-effective in the market, as well as the first overseas fund transfer feature on the MAE app. 

Improving financial inclusion through cross-border funds transfer

According to the local Cambodian newspaper The Phnom Penh Post, as of 2015, Malaysia is looking to improve trade opportunities in Cambodia, bolstered by increasing bilateral trades. In 2019, Malaysia was sixth in terms of investment capital by country with $74.06 million investment or 1.61 percent out of a total $4.6 billion investment.

Cambodia’s digital economy has more than doubled in the last five years, and Facebook is, to an extent, powering its digital economy. The social media platform is by far the most popular platform and biggest e-commerce driver in the Kingdom. The Covid-19 pandemic has also accelerated e-commerce startups in the country which have been seeing record take-up rates. 

In Cambodia, financial inclusion, especially amongst underserved communities, is an issue. Improving financial inclusion is very likely to greatly reduce poverty and household budget deficits if the users, females, in particular, have at least basic financial knowledge.

According to the release, the service will address long-standing issues of high transfer fees and lengthy transaction times. Datuk Abdul Farid also added that Maybank is looking to extend the service and enable funds transfer from Cambodia to Malaysia, as well as explore other new possibilities in serving customers more efficiently.