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Vietnam Promotes Security For Digital Payments

The Vietnamese government is looking to make the nation a cashless society with new methods of electronic payments being deployed widely. However, security risks come hand in hand with new technologies and applications. The use of mobile wallets and payment apps in the country in recent years has seen a surge, according to a press release. Over 85% of consumers have at least one electronic payment app and over 42% use mobile contactless payments. Further, 71% of consumers use e-wallets or payment apps at least once a week.

Mobile transactions are forecast to increase by 400% in the country by 2025, thanks to the booming digital economy. This trend could be accelerated by the effects of the unexpected COVID-19 outbreak and the government-approved pilot application, ‘mobile money’, that allows the use of mobile phone credit to pay for small-value goods and services.

According to statistics from the Department of Telecommunications, by the end of 2020, Vietnam had 132.5 million active mobile subscribers accounts (with a population of less than 100 million). Therefore, the mobile-money service is expected to quickly spread cashless payment across the country, even to rural, remote, and isolated areas. Together with cashless payment systems such as e-wallets, credit cards, and banking services, Vietnam is on its way to becoming a completely non-cash society in the near future.

Over the past few years, people have increasingly been receiving malicious messages from cybercriminals disguised as banks. The message usually says suspicious transactions related to the customers’ accounts were found and tells them to login into their accounts using a link provided in the message, failing which their accounts will be locked. The release quoted an industry expert saying that the increase in society’s reliance on e-wallets and mobile banking apps invites greater interest from cybercriminals who are almost always after money and confidential data. As a result, there is an increase in sophisticated smishing and phishing attempts targeted at mobile banking users.

More of these incidents are expected in the future, hence it is important to secure devices and be aware of the risks online as the world embraces a digital society. Phishing is a social engineering technique used by cybercriminals to steal information or money from a user’s PC, laptop, or smartphone. The Vietnamese government, alongside its drive for a cashless society, has also been actively spreading awareness and conducting campaigns against threats lurking online. With the right cybersecurity measures and correct cyber habits, Vietnamese can securely conduct financial transactions online.

OpenGov Asia had reported earlier that Vietnam’s digital economy will likely reach US$52 billion in value by 2025. With the gross merchandise value (GMV) of its Internet economy accounting for over 5% of the country’s GDP in 2019, Vietnam is emerging as the most digital of all economies in the region. Last year, the Vietnamese internet economy continued to record double-digit growth, at 16% year-on-year, the highest in Southeast Asia. All sectors except travel continued to grow in 2020, of which transport and food, and online media grew 50% and 18% compared to 2019. Only online travel dropped 28% in terms of GMV but is expected to grow 25% by 2025. This year’s seismic consumer and ecosystem shifts have advanced the Internet sector in unimaginable ways, putting it in a stronger position than ever.

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