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Banks look to charge ATM fees

Update: April, 12/2012 - 10:13

HCM CITY — Banks are seeking to introduce ATM charges saying without the fees they are making big losses on ATM services.

The Viet Nam Bank Card Association (VBCA) said its members had agreed to seek permission from the State Bank of Viet Nam to charge fees on all ATM transactions. Now, banks only charge a fee for cash withdrawal if the card holder is a customer of another bank.

The fees collected would be used for expanding networks, upgrading technology and equipment, and other infrastructure works, the VBCA said.

The Viet Nam bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) has been tasked with drawing up a note listing the reasons why banks need to collect the fee after analysing ATM operations by banks and the costs and revenues involved, it said.

Some banks have said that they want to collect the fees because they are making losses on the service.

The cost of installing and maintaining ATMs was increasing every year, they said. Annual maintenance alone cost VND500 million (US$24,000) on top of others like the cost of renting data transmission lines and checking cash. They also had to pay millions of dong to rent a place to install an ATM.

Besides, with Vietnamese yet to get used to paying with ATM cards, many withdraw their money as soon as it comes into their account, meaning banks cannot profit by using it.

They still do collect issuing fees, annual fees, complaint fees, and others.

The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam (Vietcombank), for example, among the banks issuing the largest number of cards, has started collecting a monthly management fee of VND3,300.

Trinh Thuong Thuc, head of Vietcombank's card services office in HCM City, said from the six million cards it had issued, the bank hopes to collect around VND200 billion ($9.6 million) to invest in its ATM network.

The number of payment cards, which are accepted at 13,000ATMs and 70,000 points-of-sale nationwide, has more than doubled from 14.7 million in 2008 to 40 million at present. Non-cash payments reached $32 billion by late 2011. — VNS

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