HCM CITY — Many banks are making changes in their automatic teller machine (ATM) systems in order to cut costs and improve liquidity.
|Workers withdraw cash from ATMs at Thang Long Industrial Park in Ha Noi. Many banks are making changes in their automatic teller machine (ATM) systems in order to cut costs and improve liquidity. — VNA/VNS Photo Truong Vi
The changes include rearranging the locations of ATMs, reducing the number of machines in low demand areas, improving the connection of ATMs with other banks, and offering more convenient services.
According to figures from the Smartlink Card Service Joint-Stock Company, by late 2011 Viet Nam had around 15,000 ATMs, with nearly 40 million ATM cards in use, resulting in total transactions worth US$32 million.
However, most banks have not earned profits from card services because the costs for building and operating facilities for ATMs are high.
Expenses include the purchase of ATMs, installation and rent.
Revenue earned from ATMs include fees that customers pay when they want to withdraw money from the ATM.
Banks charge around VND3,300 (16 US cents) per inter-bank ATM transaction, and VND1,650 when customers check their account balances.
Phi Thi Phuong, head of the card-service office of the Export–Import Joint Stock Commercial Bank (Eximbank), said the bank had installed 300 ATMs in the last 10 years but had not made any profit from this service.
Meanwhile, the bank has had to pay millions of dong to operate its ATMs, including payments for space rental, security fees and electricity charges.
All banks, however, were still providing card services because benefits were expected in the future, particularly in retail sales, Phuong told the Vietnam News Agency.
To cut costs, Eximbank has re-arranged the locations of its ATMs in a group with three or four machines in order to reduce costs for space rental.
It has also connected with the ATM system of Smartlink, the ATM system of Banknetvn (Banknetvn switching system) and the ATM system of Viet Nam Bank Card (VNBC).
Trinh Thuong Thuc, head of the card service office for the Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam (Vietcombank) in HCM City, said the bank had opened many ATMs at busy spots and would reduce the number of ATMs in low demand areas.
Other banks, such as Dong A Joint Stock Commercial Bank, Asia Joint Stock Commercial Bank and Bank for Investment Development of Viet Nam (BIDV), also plan to rearrange their ATMs during the first and second quarters of this year.
The banks also aim to further develop card services in ways that ensure security and effectiveness.
The banks expect that co-operation between Smartlink, Banknetvn and VNBC will create more favourable conditions for interbank connections, diversify card services and improve usage for cardholders.
Many banks, including ABBank, Vietcombank, MHB, SCB, VietABank and BaoVietBank, accept international cards such as Visa, Mastercard, IBC, American Express, Diners and UnionPay at their ATMs.
However, according to financial experts, the domestic card market has not reached its potential, and has not brought many encouraging business results to service providers.
Nguyen Van Dung, deputy director of the State Bank of Viet Nam Branch in HCM City, said the Government should develop support polices to create an impetus for the domestic card market.
Dung suggested that taxes could be reduced on those enterprises that supplied commodities and services via cards.
He said the Government should develop measures to encourage consumers to pay at points of sale (POS) that accept cards. — VNS