Renting a car without a driver for a day in Cambodia

It turns out renting a car without a driver for short-term in Cambodia is not easy at all. Most companies that rent cars have various requirements. The only two that are simple and straightforward are Avis and Lyna Car Rental. They even help you converting your foreign/international driving license to a Cambodian one (as Cambodia apparently does not recognize any other driving license except its own). They also offer online booking.

If you need a car for longer, there are some other options. After contacting a few places, I found the following companies that will rent cars without a driver, each with varying minimum rental periods:

Name Phone Email Minimum
AN Kong Car Rental 071-7171727 [email protected] 1 month
Bung Sopheap Taxi Service 012-894155 [email protected] ?
Henry Car Rental 088-8261175 [email protected] 3 days
IZUMI Enterprise & Development 012-437375 [email protected] 1 year
Nisay Car Rental Service 092-503011 [email protected] 3 days
Ravy Angkor Tours Cambodia 023-215618 [email protected] 6 months
Sok Hour Car Rental/Asia Explorer Travel 023-218609 [email protected] 7 days
SVR Service Vehicle Rental (Mr. Seng Votry) 092-820887 [email protected] ?

On the other hand, if you are also willing to pay for the driver, there are plenty of options. Most travel agencies can arrange for a car plus driver, even for daily rental. Rates usually seem to be quoted for either in-city or provinces, and can include unlimited mileage + gas. But I will do a separate post on that.

Comparing accounting service prices in Phnom Penh

I contacted about 100 accountants by email and received quotes from 18. Obviously, accounting can get very complex and this is just purely a price comparison, not an evaluation of the quality of the service. This is merely intended as a reference and starting point. It is certainly necessary to do your own thorough research.

With the disclaimer out of the way, here are the details of the comparison. The assumed business case is a limited liability company with no employees and only a few transactions per month. I asked for quotes for the legally required monthly and annual tax declarations as well as bookkeeping service. It was not always clear what exactly is included in the service, so these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. But I thought it was still an interesting & enlightening exercise. Just for fun, I also threw in some of the big accounting firms.

It seems setting up and running a limited liability company in Cambodia involves quite a bit of bureaucracy and does not come cheap. Barachina CPAs quoted a cost of about $1,200 just for the setup fees payable to the government. Besides, it appears that tax laws are vague and the tax officers have strong incentives to interpret them in ways, so as to increase tax revenue. For these reasons, and because they said a single-member private limited company was “unusual”, Barachina CPAs did not even want to consider taking me on as client. Brian from Covenant suggested that, in my case, it would be probably more advisable to set up a company in a low-tax jurisdiction and then bill clients through that entity. Clients will then have to deduct 14% withholding tax from your invoices. However, in the end, that will amount to less than all the various taxes owed by a LLC, plus it involves none of the red tape.

As for the fees the accountants charge, here is a rough summary (not including the big accounting firms):

Monthly tax declaration: avg $137/m ($70-$240)

Annual tax declaration: avg $295/y ($120-$550)

Monthly bookkeeping: avg $177/m ($100-$250)

What was a bit disappointing is how few responded to my inquiry. Out of about 100, only 24 bothered to get back to me. Quite a few emails were invalid, even though some of them were taken from the member list of the Kampuchea Institute of CPA and Auditors dated December 2015 (you can access the list here). Below is the list of all accounting firms that came back to me with an answer (not necessarily a quote, tough). If anyone wants to see the actual quoted prices, they can leave their contact info in the comments, and I will send it to them.

Name Email KICPAA member
AT & Associates (Cambodia) [email protected] Yes
Barachina Consulting [email protected] Yes
BSE Accounting [email protected] No
Cambotax Accounting [email protected] No
Camer-Go Limited [email protected] No
CH NG Associates [email protected] Yes
Chan & Associates [email protected] Yes
Chhin Heng Accounting [email protected] No
Covenant Cambodia [email protected] Yes
Crowe Horwath (KH) [email protected] Yes
Deloitte (Cambodia [email protected] Yes
Donasco & Company Ltd. CPAs [email protected] Yes
EBM Co Ltd [email protected] No
Em Tola [email protected] No
Grant Thornton (Cambodia) [email protected] Yes
HR Group Cambodia [email protected] No
HRDP & Associates [email protected] Yes
KH Business Consulting [email protected] No
NAS [email protected] Yes
PAT Professional Limited [email protected] Yes
PMH Asia Family [email protected] No
PricewaterhouseCoopers [email protected] Yes
Rosoco Ltd [email protected] Yes
V Chartered Accountants [email protected] Yes

Comparing cash transfer services

Everyone is probably familiar with Wing. But there are another five providers offering the same cash transfer service. We tried them all out.

Finding an agent

First, Wing charges a premium, but it’s worth the money. While most providers have a lot of locations, you might have to try two or three before you can find one that actually serves you. One problem is that some agents no longer offer the service, but don’t bother to remove the sign. The online directories on the provider websites aren’t really up to date either. Another issue we encountered is that, at some agents, they didn’t know how to operate the machine. And finally, not all agents have what I would consider consumer-friendly opening hours, ie they’re closed on weekends. Only Wing and AMK seemed to be easy to find and also have competent staff.

Customer service

We contacted all agents through Facebook to ask some questions (except Wing, because there was nothing to ask). They were generally very responsive, except for True Money, which took several days to respond. But when we had follow-up questions, they all of a sudden were much quicker to reply. AMK also replies to emails, True Money doesn’t. We didn’t try emailing the other providers.

Actually transferring money

As for the actual service procedure, it’s very much the same for all the providers. We compared the case where neither the sender nor the receiver have accounts. If either the sender or both the sender and receiver have accounts, the fees will be different (and you can use apps instead of going to the agent). Below is an overview of the number of locations and fees. The location numbers are just approximations. For the fees, we assumed three cases, ie. sending $20, $100 or $1000. Detailed fee tables are available online, except for Asia Wei Luy, where we had to inquire.

Name Locations $20 $100 $1000 Detailed fee table
AMK 2645 office: $1

agent: $0.75

office: $1

agent: $1

office: $1

agent: $2

here
Asia Wei Luy 867 $0.50 $1.00 $2.00 <=$50:$0.5, <=$500:$1, >$500:$2
E-Money 4500 $0.75 $1.00 $2.00 here
SmartLuy ? $1.50 $1.50 $1.50 here
True Money 5000 $0.625 $0.625 $2.25 here
Wing 3700 $1.50 $1.50 $2.50 here

For convenience, here’s the same table as an image

Fixed deposit interest rates in Cambodia

The tables below show the interest rates for fixed deposits at Cambodian banks. Most of the data was collected from the official bank websites, so there is no guarantee for the accuracy of the data.

There are two types of fixed deposits. One is interest payment at maturity (aka high growth). The other is monthly interest payment (aka high income). This data is only concerning the former.

Some banks have different minimum deposits depending on the term length. They are marked with a star.

After a certain amount (perhaps north of $100k), most of the banks should be willing to negotiate the rates, though.

And as a last note, the tables are sorted by the 12-month rate in descending order.

USD

Name Min 1m 3m 6m 9m 12m 24m
Prasac $50 4.75% 5.50% 6.50% 7.00% 8.00% 8.00%
HKL Hattha Kaksekar Limited $50 4.00% 5.35% 6.35% 6.85% 8.00% 8.30%
LOLC $50 3.50% 4.50% 5.50% 6.50% 8.00% 8.25%
Sathapan Bank (Maruhan Japan) $50 4.50% 5.00% 5.50% 6.50% 7.50% 8.00%
Visionfund $25 n/a 4.00% 4.50% 4.75% 6.25% 6.50%
Cambodia Post Bank $100 2.00% 3.10% 4.15% 5.20% 6.25% 7.25%
Phnom Penh Commercial Bank $500 2.50% 4.20% 5.20% n/a 6.20% n/a
Cambodia Asia Bank Ltd $1,000 2.50% 3.80% 4.80% n/a 5.80% 6.30%
Phillip Bank $500-$1,000 * 2.25% 3.00% 4.25% 4.75% 5.50% n/a **
Advanced Bank of Asia Ltd $100 2.25% 3.25% 4.25% n/a 5.25% 5.75%
BIDC $100 2.25% 3.00% 4.25% 4.50% 5.25% 5.50%
Sacom Bank $500 2.25% 3.00% 3.50% 4.25% 5.25% 5.85%
Rural Development Bank $1,000 3.00% 3.50% 4.00% n/a 5.00% n/a
MB Bank $500 2.75% 3.20% 4.20% 4.50% 5.00% 5.25%
CIMB Bank PLC $500 1.50% 3.25% 4.25% n/a 5.00% n/a
ACLEDA Bank PLC $500 1.50% 2.50% 3.75% 4.25% 5.00% 5.50%
Foreign Trade Bank of Cambodia 1.50% 2.50% 3.75% 4.25% 5.00% 5.25%
Canadia Bank PLC $1,000 2.00% 2.50% 3.50% 4.00% 4.75% 5.50%
RHB Indochina Bank $500 2.00% 2.50% 3.50% 4.25% 4.75% negotiable
Hong Leong Bank (Cambodia) $1,000-$10,000* 1.75% 2.50% 3.75% 4.00% 4.75% negotiable
Maybank Phnom Penh Branch $1,000 1.50% 2.25% 3.25% 3.75% 4.25% n/a
Shinhan Khmer Bank 1.25% 2.25% 3.50% n/a 4.25% n/a
Credit Mutuel Kampuchea $10 n/a n/a n/a n/a 4.00% 5.00%
Cambodia Mekong Bank Public Ltd $5,000 n/a 2.75% 3.50% n/a 4.00% n/a
Cathay United Bank (Cambodia) $1,000 n/a 2.50% 3.00% n/a 4.00% n/a
Cambodian Public Bank $500-$1,000* 1.50% 2.25% 3.25% 3.50% 4.00% n/a
Bangkok Bank $1,000 1.00% 2.00% 3.00% n/a 4.00% 5.00%
Union Commercial Bank PLC n/a 2.00% 3.00% 3.75% 3.55% 4.00%
Booyoung Khmer Bank $100 1.50% 2.50% 3.00% 3.50% 3.50% 3.50%
Vattanac Bank Ltd $1,000 1.50% 2.00% 3.00% 3.25% 3.50% n/a
Bank of China Limited $500 1.50% 1.75% 3.00% 3.25% 3.50% n/a
Agribank Campuchia $200 1.00% 2.05% 2.75% 3.00% 3.25% n/a
ANZ $10,000 *** 0.40% 0.80% 1.50% n/a 2.25% n/a
First Commercial Bank $10,000 1.00% 1.20% 1.40% n/a 1.80% n/a
Cambodian Commercial Bank $2,000-$10,000 * n/a 1.00% 1.25% n/a 1.50% n/a
Mega International Commercial Bank $1,000 0.50% 0.80% 1.00% 1.20% 1.30% n/a

KHR

Name Min Deposit 1m 3m 6m 9m 12m 24m
LOLC $50 4.00% 5.50% 6.50% 7.50% 10.00% 10.50%
Prasac $50 5.25% 6.50% 7.50% 8.00% 9.75% 9.75%
Sathapan Bank (Maruhan Japan) $50 5.00% 6.00% 7.00% 8.00% 9.50% 10.00%
HKL Hattha Kaksekar Limited $50 5.00% 6.35% 7.35% 7.90% 9.00% 9.80%
Visionfund $25 n/a 5.00% 6.25% 7.00% 8.50% 9.50%
Cambodia Mekong Bank Public Ltd $5,000 n/a n/a n/a n/a 8.00% n/a
ACLEDA Bank PLC $500 3.00% 5.00% 6.00% 6.50% 7.00% 7.00%
Cambodia Post Bank $100 3.00% 4.00% 5.00% 6.00% 7.00% 8.00%
Canadia Bank PLC $1,000 n/a 5.00% 6.00% n/a 7.00% 8.00%
Foreign Trade Bank of Cambodia 3.00% 5.00% 6.00% 6.50% 7.00% n/a
BIDC $100 3.50% 4.60% 5.55% 6.25% 6.75% 7.00%
Booyoung Khmer Bank $100 3.00% 4.00% 5.00% 6.00% 6.00% 6.00%
MB Bank $500 3.50% 4.50% 5.00% 5.75% 6.00% 6.75%
RHB Indochina Bank $500 3.50% 4.00% 5.00% 5.50% 6.00% negotiable
Rural Development Bank $1,000 3.50% 4.00% 5.00% n/a 6.00% n/a
ANZ $5,000 *** 3.25% 3.50% 4.00% n/a 5.50% n/a
Sacom Bank $500 2.25% 3.00% 3.50% 4.25% 5.25% 5.85%
Agribank Campuchia $200 3.00% 4.00% 4.25% n/a 5.00% 5.25%
Credit Mutuel Kampuchea $10 n/a n/a n/a n/a 4.50% 5.50%
Bangkok Bank $1,000 1.00% 2.00% 3.00% n/a 4.00% 5.00%
Cambodian Public Bank $500-$1,000 * 1.00% 1.25% 1.75% 2.00% 2.50% n/a
Bank of China Limited $500 0.125% 0.125% 0.125% 0.125% 0.125% n/a
Cambodian Commercial Bank $250 n/a 1.00% n/a n/a n/a n/a
Advanced Bank of Asia Ltd no KHR available
Cambodia Asia Bank Ltd no KHR available
Cathay United Bank (Cambodia) no KHR available
CIMB Bank PLC no KHR available
First Commercial Bank no KHR available
Hong Leong Bank (Cambodia) no KHR available
Maybank Phnom Penh Branch no KHR available
Mega International Commercial Bank no KHR available
Phillip Bank no KHR available
Phnom Penh Commercial Bank no KHR available
Shinhan Khmer Bank no KHR available
Union Commercial Bank PLC no KHR available
Vattanac Bank Ltd no KHR available
* Cambodian Commercial Bank -> 3 mths: $2k/KHR1m, 6 mths: $5k, 12 mths: $10k
Cambodian Public Bank & Phillip Bank -> <=2 mths: $1k, >=3 mths: $500
Hong Leong Bank -> $1k (18 mths: $10k)
** For long-term deposits (more than 12 mths), Phillip Bank has different conditions
*** These are the rates for $10k-<$50k. For higher amounts, the rates are better

Opening a bank account in Cambodia as a self-employed foreigner (unkempt & unshaven)

If you are not formally employed or do not have your own registered company in Cambodia, not every bank is willingly going to provide you with a bank account. Moreover, if you don’t have a lease agreement (e.g., you live at a hotel), it’s even more difficult.

I tried to open accounts with all 36 licensed banks in the Kingdom. I’m self-employed, do not have a registered company, and don’t have a lease agreement. I succeeded nine times.

I discovered that there are three types of banks:

  1. The no-hassle, no-questions asked banks. You just walk in with your valid visa (I have a 6-month visa), deposit a low amount, usually just $10, and walk out with your passbook!
  2. The ones that want at least some kind of proof that you live here. A lease agreement is usually required. Other requirements may be an official address confirmation, a visa valid for at least a certain period of time or a recommendation letter from an existing costumer.
  3. Those banks that require proof of employment or a Cambodian business license.

On the other hand, it’s also entirely possible that some banks just aren’t inclined to open accounts for unkempt & unshaven random foreigners like me. So, your mileage may vary. But anyways, here’s the list:

1. No-hassle banks

ABA Bank

Bank of China

Cambodia Post Bank

Canadia Bank

Cathay United Bank *

Phnom Penh Commercial Bank

RHB Indochina Bank

Sacom Bank

Shinhan Khmer Bank

2. Some-proof banks

Agribank **

BIDC Bank

Bank of India

Bangkok Bank

Cambodia Asia Bank ***

First Commercial Bank ****

ICBC Bank ***

MB Bank
Phillip Bank

Sathapan Bank (Maruhan Japan)

SHB Bank

Taiwan Cooperative Bank **

3. Proof-of-employment banks

Acleda

ANZ Royal

Booyoung Khmer Bank

Cambodia Mekong Bank

Cambodian Commercial Bank

Cambodian Public Bank

CIMB Bank

Foreign Trade Bank of Cambodia

Hong Leong Bank

Kookmin Bank

Krung Thai Bank PLC

Maybank
Mega International Commercial Bank

Union Commercial Bank

Vattanac Bank Ltd

* without proof of employment, you won’t be able to apply for an ATM card
** need some official proof of address
*** at these banks, they only got apprehensive once they saw me copying the address from my hotel card (it took me a while to realize that it would be advisable to memorize the address). They might have given me the account otherwise
**** First Commercial Bank wants a recommendation letter from an existing customer. That’s apparently the only requirement

Comparison of Savings Account Interest Rates (MFI)

This table contains the interest rates of Cambodian MFIs** as of May 31st, 2016. Some MFIs have tiered rates (i.e. the higher the balance, the higher the interest rate). For these, a balance of USD1000 or KHR4m was assumed

Institution USD KHR Tiered?
Credit Mutuel Kampuchea 4.50% 5.00% No
AMK Microfinance Institution Plc 4.00% 5.00% Yes
Amret Microfinance Institution 4.00% 4.50% Yes
HKL Hattha Kaksekar Limited 4.00% 4.50% Yes
Kredit 3.50% 4.50% No
Visionfund 3.50% 4.50% No
LOLC 3.00% 3.00% No
Prasac 2.00% 2.50% No

For convenience, here is the same table as image:

Comparison of the saving account interest rates of  deposit-taking MFIs

** Credit Mutuel is not an MFI, but a credit co-operative