CARDS & PAYMENTS | Cesar Tordesillas, Thailand

Mobile payments promoted in Mekong region

The latest developments in mobile payments in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Viet Nam are being showcased at a banking summit in HCM City.


“Non-cash commerce in Viet Nam is facing challenges currently, but it will have great opportunity in the future,” Than Trong Phuc, managing director of DFJ VinaCapital, predicted confidently during the two-day Greater Mekong Mobile Payments and Banking Summit.

He said that the disadvantages are that the benefits are still unclear and/or not compelling, customers do not feel secure, infrastructure is still evolving, directions are fragmented, networks are still in their early stages, and the regulatory system is primitive.

In a recent survey of people buying online in HCM City, Ha Noi, Hai Phong, and Da Nang, 64 per cent said they would not buy anything online in the future and the rest said “maybe.”

But of the latter, only 17 per cent said they would pay using ATM, credit, or debit cards, with the rest preferring to pay by cash.

“To improve the situation, changing consumer habit and regulatory support are the most important tasks,” Phuc said.

But he did mention the Government’s major plan to boost non-cash payment by 2015 by paying salaries to 80 percent of State workers through banks, accepting non-cash payment at all public utilities, doubling banking penetration to 30–40 per cent, increasing the number of merchants accepting cards from 70,000 to 250,000, and reducing taxes on non-cash transactions.

Through all this it hopes to reduce cash payments to below 11 per cent of the total.

Participants will discuss how to roll out these services to customers and educate them and how operators and banks need to support this innovation through collaboration.

Commercialising mobile payments, ensuring transaction security, and leveraging mobile messag-ing technology for financial inclusion are also on the agenda.

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