From Zero to 160,000 in less than a year – Pi Pay’s surging popularity proves that cashless is king in Cambodia

Pi Pay CEO Tomas Pokorny receives the IFM award at a ceremony in Singapore earlier this year.
Pi Pay CEO Tomas Pokorny receives the IFM award at a ceremony in Singapore earlier this year.

Pi Pay’s bright pink logo has become such a familiar sight around Phnom Penh that it seems hard to believe the cashless payment app was launched less than nine months ago – with beta testing starting as recently as June last year.

The sight of customers at some of the city’s most popular merchants paying with Pi Pay now seems quite normal, with more merchants every day offering their customers this secure and convenient way to pay.

“With Pi Pay, payments have been more convenient than ever. For the consumer, it really helps without having to carry too much cash, not to mention the discounts,” said myBurgerLab Director and co-founder Simon Choo.

“For us at myBurgerLab, our accounts have been easier as well, with less discrepancies in daily cash management.”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Pi Pay static QR code on display at a street-side coffee seller in Phnom Penh. The QR code allows small merchants to take payments directly from customers just using the Pi Pay app.

Pi Pay reports that as of the end of January 2018 the app has been downloaded more than 160,000 times and transactions totalling over US$43 million have been processed using Pi Pay.

Partnerships have been at the core of Pi Pay’s early success – with the likes of giant global partners such as AliPay now rubbing shoulders with small merchants inside the Pi Pay ecosystem.

Major local banks and financial institutions like ABA and AMK, petrol stations like Sokimex and Total, and a huge range of other retailers and service providers have also partnered with Pi Pay, allowing its users to take full advantage of the security and convenience of cashless payments throughout their day.

The roll-out of Pi Pay into Siem Reap is already well underway with expansion into Sihanoukville and other key cities across the Kingdom coming very soon.

“We are delighted with the rapid acceleration of Pi Pay which has grown from an idea to being accepted as a normal part of everyday life in such a short span of time,” said Pi Pay CEO Tomas Pokorny.

“It shows that Cambodians are more than ready to adopt state of the art technology to add security and convenience to their lives,” he added.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Pi Pay flag outside a Total petrol station in Phnom Penh. Total and Sokimex now accept Pi Pay payments as the company expands its network of merchants to include more of the goods and services that people use every day.

Pokorny added that there are many more developments in the pipeline for Pi Pay, including Pi Pay Lite – which makes the sign-up process simpler still and lets customers put smaller sums of money in their digital wallets.

But it’s another upcoming feature that Pokorny says he is the most excited about.

“We call it All Users Are Merchants – or AUAM – which simply means that any merchant, whatever their business, can accept payments from customers using just their smartphone with the touch of a couple of buttons inside the app,” he said.

“The most obvious example of this is the PassApp tuk tuk drivers we are now signing up, who can receive fares from their customers in a secure digital wallet without worrying about handling cash,” he added.

“For me and the team behind Pi Pay, AUAM is a bit like our Shangri-La. It is the feature in the app that we think will most define our contribution to financial inclusion in Cambodia, by bringing more of the unbanked population who have so far operated entirely in cash, into the formal financial services sector,” said Pokorny. “We’re tremendously excited about this new feature and what it will mean for small traders and merchants!”