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Opportunity grow for cash-less payments due to COVID-19

Update: April, 20/2020 - 08:00
A customer conducting transactions via a mobile banking app. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — As more and more people stay away from supermarkets and crowded shops during the COVID-19 pandemic, experts feel this could lead to a boom in digital transactions.

Between the Lunar New Year and mid-March, cash-less payments grew by 76 per cent.

Some banks are adapting their online services and telephone apps to include major grocery chains, allowing shoppers to order and pay without leaving their homes.

Nguyễn Chiến Thắng, director of the digital banking centre at the Bank for Investment and Development of Việt Nam (BIDV), said that apart from integrating new technology solutions to serve customers during the pandemic, the bank was co-operating with partners to ensure quality, price and origin of goods for their customers.

This includes BIDV adding the Vinmart online supermarket feature to its mobile application.

Statistics from the National Payment Corporation of Việt Nam (NAPAS) showed that the total number of non-cash payment transactions through its system had grown by 76 per cent from Lunar New Year to mid-March.

The total transaction value soared by 124 per cent over the same period last year. Data from commercial banks also reveal online transactions have increased sharply.

The value of transactions via digital channels at Việt Nam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) by the end of the first quarter of this year increased by 25 per cent, while the number of online transactions increased by 50 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The number and value of online transactions at the Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MB) have also grown by about 26 per cent per month on average compared to the time pre-COVID-19.

A representative at Sài Gòn Thương Tín Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank) said the proportion and value of e-banking transactions compared to those at counters increased weekly over the past three weeks, about five per cent, since the fee reduction.

Transactions of less than VNĐ500,000 (US$22) grew by about 21 per cent and transactions worth less than VNĐ2 million, increased by around 16 per cent, said the representative.

Not only shopping, but payment for public services via electronic banking has also grown significantly.

Since social distancing regulations were imposed, the proportion of online payments for public services compared to those at counters at Sacombank has increased by 19 per cent.

Opportunity to explode

In the complicated context of the pandemic outbreaks, online payment channels have become more convenient, safe and suitable for a large number of users instead of cash.

Mobile banking applications have been integrated with more utilities, meeting most of the needs of users instead of just focusing on basic transactions such as managing account information, balance checks and transferring money as before.

Now, with just a smartphone and a banking application, users can save, borrow money online, pay bills for electricity, water, television, internet, even entertainment such as movie tickets, airplane tickets and hotel reservations, or even buying vegetables and meat.

Sacombank will launch an online savings feature on its digital banking application this month and connect with food delivery companies in the coming months, aiming to integrate many features in one application, enhance customer experiences not only in the social distancing time but also in the long run, the bank’s representative said.

Many banks have freed and reduced fees for transactions via e-banking to encourage people to use services online instead of cash.

By the end of March, 37 commercial banks slashed their fees, accounting for 98.9 per cent of the total fund transfer transactions processed by NAPAS.

Of them, 14 banks, accounting for 41.9 per cent of fund transfer transactions processed by NAPAS, cut their fees to zero for transactions conducted on all money transfer channels.

In addition, the issue of information security, ensuring safety for online transactions is also worth attention.

Associate Professor Doctor Đinh Trọng Thịnh, a senior lecturer of the Academy of Finance, said that service providers needed to improve safety, while modernising technology and equipment.

Fighting high-tech crime was relatively difficult, but we had to ensure the security in non-cash payment operations, thereby, increasing the trust of customers and promoting cashless payment, he noted.

The banking industry needed to improve the qualifications of banking and technical staffs, and managers both in terms of skills and ethics, Thịnh added. — VNS


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