Boosting card-based payments

11:12 | 03/09/2014 Finance - Banking

(VEN) - Non-cash payments are becoming more widespread in Vietnam. This can be seen through the growing number of card users, automated teller machines (ATMs) and points of sale (POS). The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) said that along with promoting payments through POS, many commercial banks had asked for permission to provide payment services through mobile points of sale (mPOS).

The most recent data announced by the SBV showed that by the end of June 2014, 37 commercial banks throughout the country had installed 149,000 POS, a rise of 15 percent compared with late 2013, fulfilling 75 percent of the annual plan for 2014. The top four banks with their POS accounting for nearly 80 percent of all POS in Vietnam include the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) with more than 49,600 POS, the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) with more than 49,400 POS, the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) with more than 10,600 POS, and the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) with over 9,100 POS.

According to the SBV, 19,200 POS in Hanoi and more than 28,000 POS in Ho Chi Minh City account for over 30 percent of the total number of POS nationwide. By the end of June 2014, over 14.6 million transactions with total value of VND75.7 trillion had been carried out through POS, equal to 18 percent of the annual plan for 2014, of which cash withdrawals accounting for about 3.8 percent of the total number of transactions and 50 percent of total transaction value.

Following the government’s guidelines to boost non-cash payments in Vietnam in the 2011-2015 period, the SBV has worked out a master plan to promote card-based payments in 2014-2015 aiming to increase the number and value of transactions through POS, gradually building the habit of paying through POS for card users. To achieve this goal, the SBV has required commercial banks to take many solutions such as further expanding the POS network and encouraging card-based payments through POS, tightening the links and coordination between service and solution providers, commercial banks, international card organizations and some other partners to boost card-based payments through POS. Notably, the SBV also required service providers to improve the POS switching infrastructure and increase connectivity to meet the demand for a higher number of POS and improved quality of POS services. Reality shows that card-based payments are booming in big Vietnamese cities and provinces as well as major tourist and entertainment sites, especially in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hai Phong, Can Tho, Khanh Hoa, Quang Ninh and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

Under its plan for development of card-based payments through POS in 2014-2015, the banking sector is striving to have about 200,000 POS installed nationwide by the end of 2014 to serve around 80,000 million transactions annually, and about 250,000 POS by the end of 2015 to serve 200 million transactions annually.

An official from the SBV’s Payment Department affirmed that card-based payments through POS had increased. Organizations which accept payments through POS have actively coordinated with commercial banks in promoting card-based payments through POS. Card users have gradually got used to using cards to pay when buying goods and services in places where POS have been installed, instead of just relying on them for cash withdrawals at ATMs. Notably, some banks have coordinated with solution providers to promote card-based payments through mPOS. Compared with payments through POS, payments through mPOS have more advantages and require lower investments.

In the first six months of 2014, some banks such as Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank), Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MB), VietinBank and Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) asked the SBV for permission to provide payment services through mPOS. Sacombank has received SBV permission and is preparing to provide payment services through mPOS./.

By Duy Minh