Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, has said that the increased use of digital payments has the potential to add $72 million annually to the economy of central Da Nang city. The findings are based on the results of an independent study, “Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments”, conducted by Roubini ThoughtLab and commissioned by Visa and examining the economic impact of increasing the use of digital payments in major cities around the world.

The findings were presented at the Smart City Summit 2019 in Da Nang, which also saw presentations by representatives from the Da Nang City People’s Committee, the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Information and Communications.

The Smart city concept is one in which metropolitan areas use a variety of technologies and data collection methods in order to improve administration and benefit citizens. It often focuses on developing more efficient ways of delivering services and running infrastructure.

According to Visa’s research, converting Da Nang’s economy to an “achievable level of cashlessness”, defined as the entire population of a city moving to digital payments equal to the top 10 per cent of users in that city today, could improve job creation by 3 per cent, productivity by 3.4 per cent, wages by 3.1 per cent, and GDP growth by 0.34 per cent.

Ms. Dang Tuyet Dung, Visa Country Manager for Vietnam and Laos, discussed how part of Da Nang’s cashless evolution could be led through e-government initiatives such as disbursing welfare benefits and income tax returns electronically, paying for travel of government officials via electronic means, and paying taxes and utility fees online.

“Da Nang has earned a reputation as a hive of technological innovation, particularly with the establishment of the Da Nang IT Park earlier this year, and we commend the city’s officials in having such foresight in this area,” Ms. Dung said at the summit.

“The Smart City Summit 2019 is another way in which Da Nang is moving into the future, and at Visa we’re excited to be able to play a role in helping to bring this vision to fruition. Through greater integration of electronic payments into both the public and private sectors, many aspects of day-to-day life for citizens can be simplified or improved, while the government itself can more effectively manage the economy.”

Card ownership is on the rise in Vietnam, with more citizens entering the formal banking ecosystem. Findings from Visa’s Consumer Payment Attitudes Study 2018 suggest this trend is set to continue, with nearly two-thirds of Vietnamese consumers indicating that they expect to increase their use of digital payments in the next year.