Speakers discuss cashless payments and the digital economy at a seminar in Hà Nội on Friday. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — There have been rapid developments in Việt Nam's digital payment ecosystem in recent years due to efforts made by the Government to digitalise transactions in the public sector, a top central bank official has said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also pushed a large number of consumers to adopt digital payments, said Phạm Tiến Dũng, a senior official from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) during a seminar on the digital economy in Hà Nội on Friday.
An SBV report found more than 50 commercial banks, in close co-operation with tax and customs agencies, have set up digital payment services to allow businesses to fulfil their financial duties electronically. More than 30 large hospitals have also adopted cashless payment systems while online payment of utility bills such as electricity and water has been made widely available to the public, especially in major towns and cities where Vietnam Electricity, the country's sole power distributor, said up to 90 per cent of their customers pay online.
Nearly 94 per cent (or more than 85,000) of public offices and Government agencies pay their 2.8 million employees via bank accounts. By the end of August this year, the total value of domestic transactions reached VNĐ547 trillion (US$23.7 billion), a 28.9 per cent and 15.8 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
However, there are still barriers to overcome including a deep-rooted habit of using cash, hesitation to use new technologies and lack of policies to encourage the use of digital payments, Dũng said.
The country has not been able to extend its electronic payment infrastructure to rural and remote areas. Meanwhile, there has been a spike in the number of high-tech crimes which require authorities to take action to secure and protect digital payment systems.
Trương Sơn Lâm, deputy-chief of the Department of Cyber Security and Hi-tech Crime under the Ministry of Public Security, said there have been cases in which criminals had access to and used thousands of bank accounts and ATM cards to commit crimes.
Lâm stressed the importance of raising awareness among the public and workers in the banking sector so they can quickly identify and report fraudulent and criminal activities.
"By nature, transactions in a digital economy happen at a fast pace. We won't be able to keep up with criminals if we allow red tape to slow us down. There is an urgent need to put in place an inter-agency to fight high-tech crimes," he said.
Cấn Văn Lực, chief economist of the Bank for Investment and Development of Việt Nam urged the Government to continue building the country's digital payment legal framework to monitor and regulate fintech firms, e-wallets and mobile money. — VNS