The introduction of the current currency in Cambodia only came into effect in 1980. The country had no official monetary system between 1975 and 1980. Under the Pol Pot regime, the Khmer Rouge abolished money and destroyed the National Bank building in Phnom Penh. Because of this, most Cambodians prefer to use foreign currency.
Cambodia is still a cash-dominated society, but urban and tourist areas generally accept credit cards. Although, it is best to have some local and foreign currency if venturing further out of the capital.
Money in Cambodia
The currency in Cambodia is the riel, abbreviated as KHR or just an ‘r’ after the sum, divided into a hundred sen.
Notes: 100 KHR, 200 KHR, 500 KHR, 1000 KHR, 2,000 KHR, 5,000 KHR, 10,000 KHR, 20,000 KHR, 50,000 KHR and 100,000 KHR
The US dollar is also widely used and accepted throughout the country. Most prices will be listed in US dollars, but expats should note that they may receive change in riel. Also used – though largely in the west – is the Thai baht.
Expats should have some riel for taxis, snacks and other inexpensive items.
Banking in Cambodia
There are many banks located throughout Cambodia, especially in the capital. Widely available ATMs dispense both US dollars and riels. The Cambodian currency is non-convertible outside the country, so when expats leave Cambodia, they should ensure that they exchange or spend any remaining riels within the country before leaving.
Popular banks include Acleda Bank, Canadia Bank and J Trust Royal Bank (formerly ANZ Royal Bank).
Opening a bank account
Most banks are open from Monday through Friday, from 8am to 3pm or 4pm. Some banks are open on Saturday mornings. Expats should note that many Cambodian banks do not give loans to foreigners, but they may offer credit cards.
Taxes in Cambodia
If a person is considered a resident in Cambodia, they are eligible to pay tax. A resident is classified as a person who has lived in Cambodia for at least 182 days during 12 months. Resident expats are subject to income tax, calculated based on their earnings.
Expats should be aware that, depending on their country of origin, they may be liable to pay taxes back home, too. We recommend consulting an expat tax specialist on these matters to stay on the right side of the law.
►See Cost of Living in Cambodia for information about monthly expenses
Are you an expat living in Cambodia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Cambodia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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