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State Bank of Vietnam Urges Support for Digital Payments 

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has urged banks, foreign bank branches, and intermediaries in payment services to actively support the advancement of cashless transactions and the implementation of the national digital transformation programme.

The move aims to aid the plan on developing the application of resident data and electronic identification and authentication to support the national digital transformation agenda during the period of 2022-2025, with a vision extending to 2030.

According to Document No 3956/NHNN-TT, the SBV has requested banks, foreign bank branches, and intermediaries in payment services to persist in their efforts to devise favourable programmes and policies concerning payment and intermediary payment service fees for customers. The SBV has also urged them to waive account maintenance fees and cash withdrawal fees for customers entitled to the social security policy. They were instructed to proactively engage in practical initiatives to commemorate Cashless Day 2023, which takes place on 16 June, and to continue their efforts throughout the entire month.

Furthermore, the SBV advised banks and foreign bank branches in Vietnam to collaborate with payment acceptance entities, including utility providers like power, water, and telecom services, e-marketplaces, supermarkets, restaurants, and shopping centres. The purpose is to organise promotional events and enhance marketing efforts to promote cashless payment methods.

Intermediary payment service providers have also been asked to work with banks, foreign banks’ branches, and goods and service suppliers to launch preferential policies and appropriate promotions for their users.

Over the past three years, the number of customers opening new accounts and registering for digital banking services in remote and rural parts of the country has been increasing. This shift in payment behaviour can be attributed to the government and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) actively promoting and encouraging such practices.

As OpenGov Asia reported, the introduction of the Mobile Money service has become an important motivation for cashless payment in Vietnam. Data from the SBV show that the country has 72,000 transaction posts providing cashless payment services. Out of this figure, 39,000 are in rural and remote areas. In the first nine months of 2022, nearly 14 million customers, of whom 37.5% were from rural areas, used cashless payment services with a total transaction value of VND 167.68 trillion (US$ 7.09 billion).

For the Mobile Money service alone, as of the end of September 2022, the service had 2.34 million accounts, including 1.62 million from rural and island areas. As of January, about 15 million transactions worth nearly VND 950 billion (US$ 40.1 million) were conducted.

By 2025, the government wants the volume of mobile payment transactions to grow by 50-80% and transaction value to surge by 80%-100% annually. It also aims for at least 80% of the population aged 15 and above to have bank accounts.

Cashless payment methods like contactless cards, QR codes, and mobile banking for digital and e-commerce services are becoming increasingly popular in Vietnam, especially among young people. The country has witnessed a strong shift to electronic payment methods replacing cash, which is also a target of a plan for cashless payment development in Vietnam for the 2021-2025 period. The government aims for 85% of adults in the country to own and use smartphones.

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