by Nam Pham
HA NOI — The State Bank of Viet Nam will check on ATM fees across Viet Nam after many commercial banks recently not only increased fees for cross-bank (extranet) services, but also started charging for the usually free intranet transactions.
|ATM cardholders withdraw cash from a Dong A Bank ATM in the capital city. Many commercial banks recently not only increased fees for cross-bank (extranet) services, but also started charging for the usually free intranet transactions. — VNA/VNS Photo Ha Huy Hiep
This was allegedly done in secret by the banks who did not notify their card-holders of the changes, said the State Bank's deputy head of inspections, Nguyen Cong Duong.
Duong said the SBV and its branches were working hard to oversee if commercial banks had obeyed recent orders not to charge for intranet services - or adjust extranet fees, even if they want to lower them.
"Most banks are following our instructions," Duong said.
However, he added that the bank was able to oversee the situation throughout Viet Nam, but did not have enough inspectors to complete the task.
Duong advised card-holders to protect their rights by advising banks if they encountered any unrealistic ATM fees. Inspections could then be carried out.
He said some banks not only appeared to be doing what they wanted, but were also charging clients too many varieties of service charges.
Vo Huy from District 1, HCM City, said he has to pay Dong A Bank VND20,000 (US$0,95) for receiving text messages notifying balance changes and Internet banking, but the messages are often late.
Nguyen Thi Tuyet, a Vietcombank cardholder said she was charged a high VND16.500 for withdrawing VND1 million ($48) from a Techcombank ATM. The normal fee would be about VND3,300.
"Besides other strange service fees, I was charged up to VND1.650 (80 US cents) for checking my balance sheet, Tuyet said.
Vietcombank deputy general director Nguyen Thu Ha told Khampha.vn news website that ATM fees, including those for balance checks, had been operating for a long time.
She denied Vietcombank had charged intranet fees and had not adjusted extranet fees.
She also said that Vietcombank and other banks would collect intranet fees and adjust extranet ATM transaction fee when it received a new policy from the SBV. This was expected next year.
Ngo Ngoc Dong, CEO of Viet Nam National Financial Switching JSC, or Banknet, said that many banks complained of the high expenses of investing in ATM systems.
However, the central bank's view remains firm: fees can only be collected under the road map it has developed. This is to ensure a balance of interests between customers and the banks.
Associate Professor Nguyen Van Nam, former director of the Institute for International Economics, said ATM management and transaction services should be improved to boost usage across Viet Nam. — VNS