Money and Banking are usually some of the top priorities for many people at home or abroad. With so many banks based in Phnom Penh which one would be the right one for you? Here is our guide to banks in Cambodia.
Does it even make any practical sense for you to open a local bank account or not? Well depending on your length of stay in the Kingdom the answer may well be yes.
Here at Cambodia Begins at 40 we present to you a quick snapshot based on our experience of money and banking in Cambodia.
Are There Any Foreign Banks in Cambodia?
The great news is that there are a number of foreign owned and join venture banks in Cambodia. You can find the current list here.
Who to Bank with in Cambodia?
Below you will find a quick snapshot of some of the more well-established banks in Cambodia. We do advise that you take the time to sit down and talk with all the banks to decide which one is best for you.
But here is our quick break down to get you started.
Banks in Cambodia
ABA has a fantastic ATM network and some of the most well trained staff in their branches. Setting up a personal bank account with ABA is generally a very simple and stress free process. You will need a copy of your passport, long stay Cambodia visa and perhaps proof of address from your landlord in Cambodia.
They give you the choice of either Visa or Mastercard debit facilities and for those of you who love your mobile and internet banking services they have one of the most user friendly online systems in the country. ABA boasts more than 50 branches and numerous ATMs country wide. Please visit their website here.
J Trust Royal Bank
Formerly known as ANZ Royal this bank was popular with many Aussie and New Zealanders, and basically was the only bank anyone would touch in the late noughties and early teens. In 2019, JT Trust bought ANZ’s share in the bank. Many expats chose to change their account to ABA.
To open a personal account with J Trust Royal as a foreigner you will be asked for a copy of your passport, long stay visa, a confirmation letter from your employer stating that you work here and probably a proof of residence. ANZ boasts over 23 branches and over 127 ATM machines country wide. Visit their website here.
One of the most recognisable Southeast Asian banks Maybank Cambodia has had a presence in the Kingdom since 1993. With that length of service you would do well to seek their advice on finance in Cambodia.
Maybank currently has around 23 branches countrywide, however 13 of those branches are in Phnom Penh. Please visit their website here.
If you are looking for a local bank then go no further than ACLEDA Bank. The bank first started out in 1993 as microfinance institution giving loans to war victims. It is now Cambodia’s major bank and one of the country’s undisputed business success stories with branches in Laos and Myanmar as well as across the country. They have an internet banking faculty as well as good rates for loans.
If you are planning to spend much time in provincial Cambodia openiing an account here is a sound bet as they have the most extensive network of banks and ATMs in the country. Visit their website here.
ATM Withdrawal Fees
You will find ATM machines throughout the major cities of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and Battambang. However, be aware of is that most ATMs in Cambodia charge at least $5 per transaction, plus you will probably be charged by your bank in your native country also. Now depending on your spending habits all those charges can add pretty quickly.
So if you are planning on staying in the Kingdom for longer than a year, why not open a local bank account? In terms of ATM coverage ABA bank currently appears to boast the most accessible ATM network, the advantages being that having an account with either bank will not only allow you to withdraw your cash without any annoying charges but you can also use each of their ATM machines without charge regardless of who you bank with.
Dollars or Riel?
Most ATMs will dispense your money in US dollars and most seem to be set to default to giving you the largest possible denominations. For example, if you request to withdraw $100 you will probably be given a $100 note. Now when you come to spend your $100 note it is possible your outlet of choice may not be able to provide you adequate change. So it is advisable to always request an amount from the ATM that will be dispensed using smaller notes or do your best to break the large bills whenever you can at banks, hotels or mini marts etc.
It is possible have an optional Cambodian riel facility account allowing you to request Cambodian riel be dispensed from the ATM (depending on who you bank with) some people are comfortable with this others aren’t it’s really just personal preference.
One thing you will find is that when it comes to getting change in smaller denominations many places will offer to give you riel, especially for anything under a dollar – there are no cents in Cambodia. Make sure you are aware what these notes are. It also helps if you know your four times table, as $1 = 4,000 riel. Sometimes you will be offered a 10,000 riel note ($2.50), or 20,000 riel note ($5), so don’t go giddy with all those 000s.
If you like to really get involved with the locals and you spend a lot of time in the markets then you almost can’t fail to notice the local money changers. Typically they are sat at a glass booth with you guessed it, lots of money inside. They will be able to break down and change your notes for you either into USD or Cambodian riel for a small fee.
Big green boxes with one to two people sat inside at almost every market and on most back streets across the country. WING is essentially a money transfer service where you can send or receive small or large amounts of cash across the country for a fee. This generally increases with the amount of cash you send / receive and make sure you agree which party will be paying the transfer fee. Rates are fairly competitive and they can be a very quick and easy alternative to using a bank to transfer cash in country and they are more accessible then money changers in the markets depending on where you are.
WING also provides a very handy bill payment system that works in the same way, you can top up your mobile phone or even pay your internet bill every month at one of their booths. Visit their website here.