Non-cash payments are booming

16:21 | 28/05/2014 Economy

(VEN) - The latest statistics announced by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) at the Vietnam Banking Conference and Expo (Banking Vietnam 2014) showed that by the end of March 2014, Vietnam had more than 15,500 automated teller machines (ATMs), over 137,700 points of sale/electronic draft capture (POS/EDC), and 68.5 million cards had been issued. The non-cash payment market in Vietnam is booming.

In the recent period, the government and SBV have gradually improved the legal corridor for non-cash payments. Decree 101/2012/ND-CP regarding non-cash payments and Decree 222/2013/ND-CP regarding cash payments have been issued with the aim to reduce the use of cash in transactions. A circular regarding the installation, operation and protection of ATMs as well as measures to ensure the security of ATM operations has also been issued.

The quality of facilities catering for payment transactions has improved, facilitating the provision of new payment services and the use of new means of payment not using cash. A modern inter-bank electronic payment system has been established, connecting 66 member units of the SBV and nearly 500 member units of 94 credit institutions nationwide, serving about 140,000 transactions with total value of over VND100 trillion per day.

Most commercial banks have established their core banking and internal payment systems based on advanced technologies which allow them to provide modern payment services. Commercial banks have applied international security standards such as ISO 27001:2005 in building their information management and security systems.

Facilities catering for card-based payments have continued to be improved. The number of ATMs and POS/EDC has rapidly increased. In late 2013, Vietnam had 14,300 ATMs and 101,400 POS, and these numbers increased to over 15,500 ATMs and 137,700 POS/EDC in late March 2014.

The Vietnamese banking sector has taken the initiative in coordinating with the Ministry of Public Security in combating crimes to ensure security and safety of payment transactions. Information exchange channels have been established to help the sector deal on a timely basis with fraud in card-based and electronic payments, contributing to reducing risks in payments, and protecting the rights and interests of organizations and inpiduals.

Cash payments decrease

Dr. Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh, Director of the Banking Strategy Institute, said that the ratio of cash payments to total means of payment had gradually decreased, from 30.8 percent in 1997 to 18 percent in 2005, 14 percent in 2010 and about 12-13 percent currently.

So far, banks have issued 68.5 million cards. In 2013, the volume and value of card-based transactions increased 25 percent and 43 percent respectively compared with 2012. Also in 2013, the volume and value of transactions carried out via POS considerably increased (28 million transactions with total value of over VND120.7 trillion, up 34 percent in volume and 26 percent in value compared with 2012). It is expected that by the end of 2014 Vietnam will have 200,000 POS nationwide to serve about 80 million transactions annually.

The payment of salaries from the state budget through bank transfer has expanded. Currently, 69,200 units receiving salaries from the state budget, which account for over 72 percent of the total number of such units, pay their employees through bank transfer, i.e. about two million state employees receive their monthly salaries from bank accounts.

Notably, SBV’s Payment Department said that the use of new, modern payment services based on information technology such as bank cards, internet banking, SMS banking, mobile banking and electronic purses was rapidly increasing. Statistics show that in 2013, the number of customers using electronic payment services, especially via the internet, and the value of electronic transactions grew 83 percent and 42 percent respectively compared with 2012.

However, in the opinion of some experts who attended Banking Vietnam 2014, technical facilities catering for non-cash payment transactions are still concentrated in urban areas but have not reached rural and remote areas. The quality of information technology and telecommunications facilities catering for non-cash payments remains unstable and insufficient to facilitate these modes of payment.

Banks must improve their integration capabilities and effectively manage service distribution channels to ensure equal quality of services which are provided through different distribution channels. Customers will not suffer any service interruption when shifting from using one distribution channel to another. The application of new technologies such as core banking systems, cloud computing, mobile computing and smart outsourcing will help banks resolve this problem./.

By Quynh Nga