Vietnam gears up for a Digital Banking Boom despite the COVID-19 issue and boom within the E-Commerce Arena

Vietnam is geared up for a huge boost up in the digitalized banking progression and the most positive part is that it has accelerated on the brink of swifter FinTech adoption, a boosted-up E-commerce arena and despite the ongoing COVID-19’s scare.

Within the second quarter the preceding year (Q2 2020), the overall clicks for the online procurement apps within Vietnam had reached 12.7 Billion, thereby registering an expansion of 43% quarter-on-quarter and also outclassing most of other Southeast Asian Nations. Across Southeast Asia, Vietnam graded third in the territory by number of clicks and accounted for 19.5% of online procurement traffic.

As per the report done through Vietnam times, Digitalized payments have also suggestively surged up this year, amidst the ongoing turmoil of COVID-19. Within the first quarter (Q1) preceding year in 2020, the electronic payments mobility surged up by 76% with an overall value of transactions mounting ahead at 124%, comparatively then the first quarter (Q1) in 2019.

Social distancing measures put in place to avert the advancement of the virus have thrusted out the clients towards online commerce and digital payments, two trends experts that are believed here to stay.

M-Service, the operator of Mobile wallet MoMo, stated that the payments have doubled since February 2020. Vietnam Payment Solution Company (VNPAY) announced that it witnessed a 600% upsurge in payment transactions on its VNPay – QR Payment Gateway during February.

The government has also been assertive for superior progress and adoption of technology within the banking and financial sector, with SBV governor Le Minh Hung quoting endorsing non-cash payments, digital banking as well as green banking as the three top significances for the industry for the 2020-2025 period.

E-payment firm NextPay is presently in talks with investors from the US, Japan, South Korea and China to advance up to US$100 million in the first quarter of 2021 for 20% of the company.

NextPay also offers mobile points-of-sale (POS) devices and an app for cashless payments. It entitles up to 70,000 merchants in Vietnam and primary intention is to upsurge the number to 300,000 by 2023.

These rapidly shifting client behaviours are compelling banks to upgrade up their digital transformation. The previous month, Vietnam’s Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) broadcasted a partnership with digital-first banking platform Backbase to offer the bank’s clients with digital-first products and services.

The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade Vietnam (Vietcombank) launched its new digital bank service, VCB Digibank, in July, participating its online trading platforms.

In the FinTech start-up community, Vietnamese players sustained to appeal investors’ interest this year. Just during October 2020, FinTech start-up Fvndit elevated US$30 million for its Vietnamese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending firm, and Kim An Group, which focusses in credit scoring technology, held an undisclosed Series A funding round.

A lot has happened for Timo, Vietnam’s initial digital banking platform, this year too. After five years of operation, Timo, a service operated by Lifestyle Project Management Vietnam, released its initial banking partner VP Bank and switched to Viet Capital Bank. The digital banking platform was rebranded to Timo Plus and presented a new website and mobile app.

Over the span of three months, Timo Plus was confronted with the intimidating task of moving over 100,000 accounts onto the latest platform. The huge volume of clients, attached with banking regulations necessitating wet signatures to fully onboard clients, forced the company to set up additional remote onboarding venues to accommodate all its clients, an issue that could have been avoided with rules enabling remote onboarding such as electronic know-your-customer (eKYC).

“We ran into hurdles such as restrictive parking space in our Hangout positions and individuals dropping in or coming to their appointment at incorrect times,” the spokesperson stated further.

“We moved swiftly to set up larger event spaces that had adequate parking and space for our Timo Care representatives and back-office staff to operate. Clients had to wait up to 1 month just to get in individual their new ATM cards and offering up a signature to alter the accounts.”

Timo Plus was officially relaunched on September 28 with a new CEO, Henry Nguyen, whose extensive portfolio includes a McDonald’s franchise in the nation and a Los Angeles football club.

Nguyen stated Nikkei that unlike the old association with VP Bank where Timo was more of an outside party to the bank, this latest association with Viet Capital Bank will witness both firms working meticulously together to introduce new merchandize.

Phoenix Holdings, which embraces a regulatory stake in Timo, is run by Nguyen and his wife Nguyen Thanh Phuong, daughter of ex-prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung and a board member at Viet Capital Bank.


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