Is it possible to make digital payments in Cambodia? The good news is that yes it is! Although it can be quite a complicated world. This is compounded by the fact that there are tens of thousands of people stuck in Cambodia on tourists visas. The difference between what apps you can and cannot use in Cambodia are very much linked to what your visa status is.
Tourist vs EB Visa
A tourist visa is what many of us entered Cambodia on, then along cam Covid-19 and we became stuck as it were. For those of us that did get stuck in Cambodia we were extremely lucky compared with countries such as Vietnam and Thailand for example. Essentially we were given blanket amnesty.
To read about how normal things were in Cambodia click here .
The only problem was that it severely restricted our ability to do things like set up a bank account.
A tourist visa is just that and will not allow you the ability to open a bank account, such as at ABA Bank. Whereas an EB visa will. An EB visa is technically like a a business visa, but when compared to countries such as China is much more akin to an actual work visa. I will do a bigger blog on this whole thing at a later date.
Long story short the EB visa allows you to not only get a bank account, but also potentially find work, or become self-employed. Pretty good stuff.
Digital Payments in Cambodia with a tourist visa
So, whilst your options are a bit limited, they are not completely limited. There are actually lots of apps that will allow you to top-up your phone, pay bills, and send money to Khmer bank accounts, but we will concentrate on the main one, Wing.
Check out the Wing App here
Wing is an easily downloadable app from where you can do many functions. To put money onto it you will need to go to a physical wing store, but, well they are pretty much everywhere. You top up as much as you want and can doe everything from top-up your phone to paying local Khmer accounts, scubas on ABA. The system actually works really well. Wing also act as agents for Western Union, so throughly useful bunch.
Technically you have a digital MasterCard, but it does not have a CVV, so is essentially useless. That being said you can do the QR code thing to pay for things in restaurants, shops and even Tuk-Tuk drivers.
This is the best option should you not have an EB visa.
Digital Payments in Cambodia – EB Visa
Getting an EB visa in the current climate will get its own article, but for now I will just say “its complicated”. It is though now a possibility.
And with possibilities come possibilities. Welcome to digital payments in Cambodia.
There are lots of banks in Cambodia and it turns out that if you have an EB visa it is really easy to open one. The most popular and easy to use bank in Cambodia is ABA. ABA is not only everywhere, but they offer WeChat style scanning, as well as ABA pay where you can just pay the vendor regardless of if they have a machine to process cards.
There are also numerous other features such as being able to send cash to ATM’s without he need for the other person to have an account (they simply pick up the cash). And of course you can receive money from abroad, something very important during these times.
How do you open an ABA account?
If you have the correct visa it is as simple as going to the bank. Account takes ten minutes to open and within a few days you can pick up your MasterCard, Visa, UnionCard, or even all of the above if like me you are a bit of a card collector.
Next stop going self-employed……