October 21, 2020

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Vietnam develops national payment support portal PayGov

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has launched a national portal, PayGov, designed to promote electronic payments for public services.

PayGov is not a payment service but acts as a platform to connect public service portals and single-window systems with intermediary payment service providers.

Once connected with the platform, online public service portals of ministries and local authorities will be provided with a single interface to use all the services of the intermediary payment providers.

At the same time, intermediary payment companies can provide their services to all ministries and local authorities through PayGov.

In addition to public services, PayGov can provide payment services for other utilities such as electricity, water, healthcare, and education, all in the one place.

Speaking at the launch ceremony on 24 July, the MIC Deputy Minister, Nguyen Thanh Hung, explained that PayGov is just the beginning of a process to promote electronic payments for public services.

The Vietnamese government is aiming to raise the ratio of public services that can be delivered online to at least 30% by the end of 2020. As of June, the ratio had doubled to 14.6% from the end of last year but remained far behind the target.

The launch of PayGov is anticipated as one of the measures to accelerate the delivery of online public services and meet the above target.

The platform is also expected to help Vietnam realise the target of 50% of the population having electronic payment accounts by 2025, and 80% by 2030 as part of the national digital transformation program.

To date, PayGov has coordinated with nine intermediary payment companies, including Napas, Viettel, and VnPay. More are expected to come soon.

The platform has also connected successfully with the portals of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and Quang Ninh Province and are undergoing tests with the portals of other provinces and cities such as Hanoi and Thua Thien Hue.

Amidst the increased use of online banking and e-wallets, partly fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersecurity experts are reminding banks and financial services in Southeast Asia to learn from the lessons of previous cyberattacks like the costly US$ 81 million heist in 2016.

According to a press release, a global cybersecurity company, in an online conference with selected news correspondents from the region, spoke about how the financial sector could utilise comprehensive threat data to beef up their defences against sophisticated cybercrime groups.

Besides threat intelligence, the human factor is also important when it comes to securing financial systems.

The threat of phishing and spear-phishing remains present with the company detecting 40.5 million globally in the first five months of 2020.

To improve banks’ and financial organisations’ cyber defences, experts said they should integrate threat intelligence into their systems, conduct regular security training sessions for staff, use traffic monitoring software, install the latest updates and patches for all of the software they use, forbid the installation of programs from unknown sources, and perform regular security audits of the organisation’s IT infrastructure.