Banking sector invests big in digital transformation

Vietnam’s banking sector has invested over VND15,000 trillion in digital transformation by the end of 2022, according to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).

The effort has started bearing fruits as the Southeast Asian economy maintained a 40% growth rate in digital payments in the last four years, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing economies in banking digital transformation.

Banks have reported up to 90% of their transactions were handled through digital channels with as many as 74.63% of Vietnamese adults having a bank account, SBV Governor Nguyen Thi Hong said at the Banking Industry Digital Transformation Day 2023, held Hanoi on May 18.

In addition, by the end of March this year, 3.71 million Mobile-Money accounts had been opened, with over 70% of them being in rural, remote, and disadvantageous regions across the country.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai said a speedy digital transformation must go hand in hand with stronger measures to ensure security and trust among the population. He urged the sector to closely collaborate with government ministries and agencies to minimise the risk of attacks on digital banking systems.

Transformation

Digital transformation has helped the banks bring down the cost-to-income ratio to as low as 30%, on par with regional and international standards.

In 2022, the interbank electronic payment system processed approximately 155.2 million transactions with a value exceeding 196.36 trillion VND, a 29.90% increase in value. The financial switching and electronic clearing system processed nearly 4.83 billion transactions with a value of about 46.82 trillion VND, an increase of 96.63% in volume and 87.30% in value.

By the end of 2022, the total number of ATMs in the country reached 21,038, and the number of POS terminals reached 410,743, corresponding to a growth of 3.11% and 26.94% respectively compared to 2021. The low increase in ATM numbers could also indicate a positive trend, as people increasingly prefer non-cash payment methods.

Non-cash payment activities have experienced significant growth. By the end of 2022, 82 credit institutions had implemented internet-based payment services, and 51 credit institutions had implemented mobile payment services. There are currently 48 intermediary payment organisations licensed by the SBV providing intermediary payment services in the market.

In comparison to 2021, non-cash payment transactions increased by 89.05% in volume and 32% in value. Transactions through internet channels increased by 98.54% in volume and 50.24% in value; transactions through mobile phone channels increased by 139.32% in volume and 106.54% in value; QR code transactions increased by 225.36% in volume and 243.92% in value.

Non-cash payment transactions increased by 53.51% in volume during the first three months of 2023 compared to the same period last year. Transactions through internet channels increased by 88.11% in volume and 7.43% in value; transactions through mobile phone channels increased by 65.55% in volume and 13.31% in value; QR code transactions increased by 160.71% in volume and 43.84% in value; POS transactions increased by 37.57% in volume and 32.09% in value; ATM transactions decreased by 2.37% in volume and 4.02% in value.

The National Public Service Portal has continued to expand its payment services. By the end of 2022, the portal had served over 4 million online payment transactions, totalling more than 3.53 trillion VND. As many as 61% of citizens had access to social insurance and unemployment benefits through personal accounts in urban areas.

Legal catch-up

There is still much to do to improve the banking sector’s digital transformation, however, said industry experts and policymakers.

Pham Anh Tuan, head of the payment department at the SBV, said more must be done to help speed up the transformation including enhancing institutional frameworks, leveraging population data in banking operations, upgrading infrastructure, prioritising resource allocation, and implementing effective communication strategies.

Regarding current regulations related to electronic transactions, digital signatures, electronic documents, electronic customer identification and authentication, data sharing, and customer information security, Tu?n said changes should be made to bring them closer to real life and the new economy.

He said there is still a lack of coordination and standardisation of infrastructure, which hinders the efficiency, connectivity and integration of a digital ecosystem. He stressed the importance of investing in human resources and infrastructure early for the next phase of development./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency