Cash stifles Mobile Payment

Published: 06/06/2011 05:00



Despite the great efforts by service providers, the payment via mobile phones (Mobile Payment) is still far from becoming popular in Vietnam, because Vietnamese people still prefer using cash in payment.

Bankers, telcoms launching services massively

In Vietnam, the concept of making payment via mobile phones was first heard when Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) allowed clients to use mobile phones to query bank account balances, transfer funds, pay cable TV, Internet bills. After that, a lot of other banks, including Vietcombank, Techcombank, BIDV and Vietinbank also provided many facilities to users.

Not only bankers, big telecom companies namely VinaPhone, Viettel and MobiFone, which have good telecom infrastructure, have also been trying to cooperate with bankers to develop applications.

Especially, online payment companies such as VinaPay, VnPay, PayNet have also launched a lot of services allowing to make payment via mobile phones, creating most favorable conditions for users to easily purchase mobile phone cards, game cards or online learning cards.

In late 2008, another concept - “e-wallet” was introduced. The appearance of VnMart, MoMo, Payoo, MobiVi developed by mobile service providers like VinaPhone, MobiFone and Viettel has helped Mobile Payment market become more bustling.

Mobile Payment “inferior” to cash payment

Experts and service providers believe that with the high mobile phone access level of Vietnamese people, Vietnam is a potential market for Mobile Payment services. However, to their surprise, Mobile Payment still has not become popular after eight years of development.

Jan Jirovec, Business Development Director of BSC Praha, which provides multi-channel banking solutions from Czech, who carried out research works on banking services in Vietnam, said that a lot of problems still can be seen in mobile payment in Vietnam.

“Vietnamese people still prefer using cash in making payment, while mobile phone users hesitate to learn about the facilities provided by enterprises,” he said, adding that Vietnam is still in the early development stage of mobile payment, which European countries once experienced more than 10 years ago.

Sharing the same view, banking experts have also said that the habit of using cash to avoid risks of Vietnamese people has hindered the development of mobile payment.

According to Duong Thu Huong, Secretary General of the Vietnam Banking Association VNBA, though ATM cards have become popular to Vietnamese people for the last 10 years, 83 percent of card holders say they only use cards for the only purpose – withdrawing cash from ATMs. Therefore, it is understandable why Mobile Payment remains unfamiliar and unfavorable to the majority of people.

However, Huong has also blamed commercial banks on the low popularity of modern payment facilities in Vietnam. “Many people want to use Mobile Payment, but they do not know where they should start,” she said. This means that bankers and service providers have not paid appropriate attention to launching media campaigns and giving basic introductions to users.

Meanwhile, some experts believe that Mobile Payment still cannot develop in Vietnam because Vietnamese clients still have doubts over the security of banking services.

Despite the difficulties, bankers still inject big money in developing Mobile Payment services, because they believe that “early birds can catch worms”. “Mobile payment will develop strongly in two or three years, and it is now the right time to make investment,” a banker said.

Buu Dien

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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