Vietnam International Bank (VIB) recently shared its initiatives to pivot to cashless transactions and emphasized the benefits to consumers in Vietnam.

Ms. Tran Thu Huong, Head of Retail Banking - Strategic Businesses and Head of the Strategy & Business Support Department at VIB, underlined the bank’s support for government measures to encourage cashless transactions. She said its strategies of expanding credit card options and digital banking are in line with its goals of anticipating demand and becoming one of the leading banks in cashless transactions in the country.

Cashless transactions are growing around the world at approximately 13 per cent each year and even faster in Asia, at 30 per cent. Among cashless options, she explained, cards still dominate at 67 per cent, followed by mobile payments and internet payments.

Anticipating this trend, VIB has focused on developing its digital payment options through cards and digital banking services, most notably the MyVIB app, which allows users to conduct transactions, including interbank transactions and bill payments.

It has also developed technologies based on digital banking, such as QR code payments and real-time card management. In May, VIB was the first bank in Vietnam to offer digital cards and Green PIN, which allow users to start transacting immediately after being approved, without having to wait for a physical card or a printed PIN code. These technologies shorten the waiting period to begin transacting from five days to 3-5 minutes.

At the same time, VIB is lowering initial barriers against cashless transactions by offering attractive deals, such as a program unconditionally waiving all online transaction fees.

Furthermore, to encourage customers to use cashless methods over the long run, VIB is rolling out unique products with long-term practical benefits. Most notably, six new cards have been introduced and have received widespread acclaim.

These initiatives have resulted in impressive growth in VIB’s card users and MyVIB transactions. VIB is one of the leading banks in MasterCard credit card spending, with growth reaching over 300 per cent compared to 2017; twice the market average. Over the same period, the number of digital transaction users has grown 60 per cent, and the amount of transactions on MyVIB has grown 77 per cent.

Ms. Huong also suggested ways to accelerate the transition to cashless in Vietnam and noted that the two most important factors are supply and demand. Supply comes from the government, which should utilize regulation and executive guidance to ease the way for banks and companies such as fintech and bigtech to participate in discussions and offer suggestions moving forward. With clearer regulations and guidance from managing offices, banks and businesses would be more empowered to take the initiative.

Demand, on the other hand, comes from consumers. Along with banks’ individual efforts to bring cashless options to consumers, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has been observing the rollout closely and encouraging banks to join in the effort to raise consumer awareness. High consumer awareness means consumers would be more receptive to new cashless solutions.

Efforts to stimulate supply and demand need to happen at the same time. The leadership of the government and the SBV have had a major impact, pushing banks to develop strategies moving forward to expand cashless transactions in Vietnam.