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SBV steps in as banks overcharge

Update: July, 20/2015 - 08:41

A man checks a receipt after withdrawing money from an automated teller machine in Ha Noi. Many banks currently collect several additional charges, which make card holders dissatisfied. — VNS Photo Truong Vi

HCM CITY  (VNS) — Tran Anh Tuan of HCM City's Tan Binh District, who has a Dong A Bank ATM card, recently had to pay VND5,500 for making an internal funds transfer.

He said before July he did not have to pay for such a transaction.

Card holders accuse not only Dong A Bank but also many others of collecting several additional charges.

ATM card holders have to pay 20 kinds of fees on average, Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer) newspaper reported, while some banks reportedly even collect 30 different fees.

Asia Commercial Bank, for instance, collects an annual fee besides fees for membership, duplicate statements, card replacement, and credit balance transfer.

Market observers said banks have to collect a fee for ATM card services since they are in business and need to make profits.

Besides, they have to inject large sums of money into setting up infrastructure and train personnel to provide ATM card services, they pointed out.

But they admitted that collecting so many kinds of fees as the banks are doing now is inadvisable, especially since the Government is seeking to encourage people to give up their habit of using cash and switch to cards.

SBV not amused

Faced with banks arbitrarily collecting ATM card fees, the State Bank of Viet Nam has stepped in, ordering banks to fully implement Circular 35/2012-NHNN that regulates fees.

The rationale for this circular which took effect on March 1, 2012, was to create a legal framework for the fees charged by banks for using cards, especially at ATMs.

Its goals include ensuring fee collection is in line with the law, harmonising the interests of customers and banks and ensuring proper fee levels so that banks have an incentive to continue investing in their services and improving their quality.

In its recent letter, the central bank reminded banks that they are only permitted to collect fees as regulated in the circular.

Banks' advertisements for cards need to carry their list of service charges as well as interest rates for card transactions, it said.

The SBV also instructed card issuers to resolve in time complaints and technical problems faced by card holders and reply to queries, and pay compensation as prescribed by law for losses caused to customers due to their fault.

Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the central bank's HCM City office, also revealed that the SBV is reviewing legal provisions related to the collection of fees from card holders to minimise them. — VNS



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