Interest in cashless payment options among Cambodians grows in post-COVID environment while cash use still popular habit: Visa Study
Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, today released findings from its latest Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study showing Cambodians are embracing new forms of cashless payment while also continuing to use cash.
After dropping to 64% in 2021, 86% of those surveyed in 2022 said they use cash for payments, the same percentage as in 2020. 65% of respondents said cash was their favorite payment method, followed by QR codes at 21%. This return to the use of cash after the COVID-19 pandemic suggests decreasing concern over spreading the virus through the handling of bills and that cash remains a pillar of Cambodia’s payment ecosystem.
“Surprisingly, Gen Z respondents reported the highest preference for cash usage among any group,” said Ms. Ivana Tranchini, Visa Country Manager for Cambodia. “This reliance on cash among the youth, and the erroneous perception that cash is almost as secure as paying by QR, underscores the timeliness of Visa’s recent initiatives with its Cambodian partners to promote financial literacy.”
At the same time, the use of QR codes to make payments has continued to build. 68% of consumers said they use QR for payments, up from 36% in 2021 and 12% in 2020. Cambodians are also using QR codes for purchases more often, with 68% saying they use it once a week or more, up from 49% in 2020. 90% of survey respondents expressed interest in paying by QR codes and interest in contactless cards rose to 58% from 42% in 2021. This increase shows that the benefits of digital-first payment methods have become a permanent feature of Cambodian purchasing habits.
In fact, many consumers say they expect the Kingdom to transform into a cashless society this decade. 46% of survey respondents said they foresee Cambodia becoming a cashless economy by 2030 at the latest. More Cambodians are also starting to experiment with going cashless. In 2022, 32% said they actually tried going cashless, up from 20% in 2021, and of those, 52% went cashless for at least a week.
The survey also shows the key role SMEs will play in the digitalization of Cambodian society. 76% of respondents said they shop at small and medium-sized retailers at least once a week, and 66% pay in cash while just 11% pay by QR codes. This data suggests a huge opportunity in the expansion of cashless payment options at SMEs.
“In addition, the Cambodian government has placed a strong emphasis on SME digitalization, and Visa has supported this push with its recent partnership with The Asia Foundation and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia for female entrepreneurs. Visa has also contributed to the digitalization of SMEs by investing heavily to promote digital commerce platforms like delivery and ride-hailing apps,” shared Ms. Ivana Tranchini.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was seen throughout the study, such as in the use of home delivery. 52% of those surveyed said they currently use home delivery, and a whopping 37% said they used it for the first time during the pandemic. Those that use home delivery also said they plan to use it more often in the coming months.
“At Visa, we are well positioned to support our local partners with this kind of market insight while providing Cambodians the most convenient, reliable and secure payment network, one that enables individuals, businesses and economies to thrive,” said Ms. Ivana Tranchini.
Cambodians were naturally eager to travel once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, with one quarter of survey respondents saying they travelled in 2022, mostly on domestic leisure trips, while more than a third of consumers expect to travel in the next 12 months, either domestically or overseas. Cambodians are also using new tools to pay for these trips, with survey respondents ranking travel as the top category for installment payment plans such as Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL).
“Cambodians are leveraging new money management tools, such as BNPL and credit cards, as well as protecting themselves for the future by taking up insurance,” said Ms. Ivana Tranchini, Visa Country Manager for Cambodia. “Banks should be thinking about how they can bring these kinds of propositions into their mobile banking environments to help consumers maintain positive financial behaviors.”
 The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study was prepared by CLEAR in Sep-Oct 2022, surveyed amongst 6,550 consumers in Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The study conducted online interviews with 500 Cambodian consumers across the country who are working part or full time with a demographic mix that sought to create a representative mix of ages and genders.