|Customers withdraw money from ATMs of ANZ bank in Ha Noi. Domestic banks last year issued nearly 12 million bank cards, a 22 per cent increase over 2012. — VNS Photo Doan Tung
HA NOI (VNS) — Banks issued nearly 12 million bank cards last year, raising the total number of cards issued in the country to 66.2 million.
This was an increase of 22 per cent over 2012, according to the latest data from the State Bank of Viet Nam.
Of the total, the domestic cards accounted for 59.87 million, up 19.1 per cent, and the number of international cards increased by 57.3 per cent to reach 6.34 million.
In the last quarter alone, 3.28 million cards were issued of which 2.64 million were domestic cards.
The central bank said that credit cards were finding favour with the Vietnamese people, adding that their number doubled last year to 2.43 million.
Debit cards were up 10.22 per cent to reach 61.11 million, while the number of prepaid cards doubled to reach 2.67 million.
The country has more than 14,400 ATMs and over 111,000 points of sale.
However, millions of bank accounts are mainly used to withdraw cash rather than make payments via cards and banking facilities.
This is due to the fact that most businesses do not encourage the use of cards for payment.
In many supermarkets and shopping centres, customers who use cards for payment are not entitled to discounts and other sales promotions. So they often withdraw cash from ATMs before a trip to the market.
To accelerate non-cash payments, experts emphasised the important role of the relevant ministries and agencies. For example, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has stated that all shopping centres and restaurants should have the facility to accept payment via bank cards, and the Ministry of Finance should issue a tax reduction policy to encourage their use.
The central bank is also drafting a decree under which individuals will not be allowed to pay in cash for securities, houses, land and vehicles including cars and motorcycles.
Organisations will not be permitted to use cash for transactions involving the real estate, securities, aircraft, ships or cars, regardless of the value. There will also be a limit on the amount that individuals and organisations can be paid in cash. — VNS