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A groundbreaking agreement has been reached between Cambodia and Laos to digitally bridge their payment ecosystems. The initiative comes in the wake of the 13th multilateral meeting between the Bank of Laos and the National Bank of Cambodia. Held in Vientiane Capital, the meeting explored an array of topics, from monetary policies to economic development.
The Trailblazing Meeting
The meeting was chaired by Bounleua Sinxayvoravong, Governor of the Bank of Lao PDR, and Mrs. Chea Serey, Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia. The agenda was broad and covered crucial topics such as macroeconomics, monetary policy, and banking sector development. The focus, however, was squarely on digital connectivity between the payment systems of both nations.
The Lao-Cambodia QR Code Payment System
The highlight of the meeting was the introduction of the Lao-Cambodia cross-border payment system, known as KHQR scan LAOQR. This system allows users in both countries to pay for goods and services using their local currencies—Lao kip and Khmer riel—via QR codes.
The MoU and Facilitating Entities
This new payment avenue is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2022 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The initiative aims to foster cooperation in financial innovation and digital payment systems and is facilitated by LAPNet Company and ACLEDA Bank of Cambodia.
The KHQR scan LAOQR system will be accessible through eight commercial banks in Laos, including BCEL, ACLEDA Bank Lao, Kbank Lao, BIC, APB, LVB, Indochina, and JDB. This rollout means that Cambodian tourists in Laos can make QR code payments at stores that display the logo of one of these banks. A counterpart system for Lao tourists in Cambodia is set to launch in Q4 2023.
A Step Toward International Standards
Both countries have agreed to implement a QR code payment system that adheres to international standards. The move is expected to encourage digital payments regionally and promote the use of local currencies for cross-border transactions.
The launch of this cross-border payment system signifies a significant step in modernizing the financial ecosystems of Cambodia and Laos. By easing the payment processes for both locals and tourists, the new system promises to be a game-changer for the region.
A more digitally integrated future awaits, and this initiative has set the pace for it.