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Vietnam Witnesses Surge in Mobile Money Subscribers

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) reported that the number of Mobile Money subscribers has quadrupled since the service was launched in January this year. 67% of subscribers are from rural, mountainous, border, island, and remote areas.

Subscribers with at least a Mobile Money transaction by the end of June exceeded 1.72 million, accounting for 97.3% of the total. Additionally, the number of households with fibre optic connections in the first half of this year increased by 9% compared to the same period of 2021 and by 17% against that of 2020. According to MIC, the goal of having 75% of households using fibre optic services this year is achievable. Vietnam is aiming to have more than 50% of the population own digital payment accounts, it said.

In deploying Mobile Money, the government has taken advantage of existing infrastructure and data and telecommunications networks. This has reduced social costs and expanded cashless payment channels on mobile devices. Industry experts have stated that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to universalise digital payments. Regardless of an Internet connection or bank account, and with just phone numbers, users can easily make cashless transactions through their Mobile Money account. In fact, the pandemic greatly boosted the e-commerce market, with non-cash payments accounting for 70% of total retail transactions in Vietnam last year. Even in the new normal scenario, Mobile Money plays an important role in expanding trade opportunities for everyone, bridging geographical and technological divides.

As 40% of the Vietnamese population does not have a bank account, Mobile Money also enables the government to carry out support activities for people in remote areas such as distributing subsidies, social security funds, and loans to facilitate economic development. The government should speed up disbursement activities and support production and business operations for disadvantaged groups through Mobile Money.

Furthermore, state management agencies must work out support policies to build and further replicate non-cash payment models across the country, allowing all citizens to access and accept digital payments as a familiar and convenient form of spending. The government believes that Mobile Money will contribute to the development of a comprehensive financial system in the country and will help make non-cash payments a habit of the people.

Cities and provinces around the country are ramping up efforts to boost digital payment methods. In April, traders at wet markets in the central city of Da Nang went cashless using the e-wallet mobile application Viettel Money, under a 4.0 wet market model. As OpenGov Asia reported, owners of over 1,000 stalls at Da Nang’s three major wet markets, namely Con, Han, and Dong Da, used QR codes that allowed users to make online payments through access to select banks and Viettel Money.

More recently, the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade announced plans to raise cashless payments in e-commerce to 45% and transactions with electronic bills on e-commerce platforms to 65%. Hanoi also aims to raise the amount of small and medium-sized firms doing business on e-commerce platforms to 45% and enterprises engaging in e-commerce via mobile applications to 35%. It is also working to increase the rates of customers paying water and power bills online to 98% and 99.7%, respectively.

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