The number of e-banking service users had reached 81 percent by the end of 2017, according to IDG.
Meanwhile, according to the Vietnam Card Association, 132 million cards had been issued with associated services.
Vietcombank in early March announced fee increases applied to a number of services. The account maintenance fee was raised from VND8,000 a month to VND10,000.
The bank has decided to collect the fee of VND2,000 for every inner-network remittance transaction via Mobile Banking and Mobile BankPlus.
Following Vietcombank’s move, Eximbank has announced the collection of fees for transactions via monthly Internet Banking instead of annually as previously applied.
The monthly collection is VND10,000, commencing from May 7. Every month, clients will have to pay VND30,000 for SMS Banking, Internet Banking and Mobile Banking services.
Dong A Bank and VIB Bank have also begun collecting fees from services which were previously free.
Explaining their decisions, banks said the adjustment of service fees will be associated with new services with higher quality.
In early May, all four state-owned banks namely Agribank, BIDV, VietinBank and Vietcombank announced the new fees for ATM cards.
Clients will have to pay VND1,500 for every inner-network transaction of withdrawing cash from ATMs instead of VND1,000.
The representative of the Vietnam Card Association said the cost for one transaction of cash withdrawal is VND7,000-10,000, so the VND1,500 fee is still very low.
Banks’ clients said the explanations are ‘unconvincing’ and voiced strong protests against the decisions. The State Bank then asked commercial banks to stop the fee increases.
An official of the State Bank said the service fee frame was set by the watchdog agency in 2013 and commercial banks have the right to set service fees themselves, provided that the fees are not higher than ceiling levels.
“However, the State Bank’s view is that everything needs to be transparent. When banks raise fees, they have to satisfy both clients and banks, and they must give reasonable answers to the question about why they need to raise fees,” he said.
A branding expert said: “Local newspapers have reported a series of cases in which ATM card holders lost their money. Banks still have not fixed the problems with their ATMs and clients still have to queue up to withdraw cash on rush hours or Tet days.”
A local newspaper said this means that the fee increases may still be implemented.
By Tran Thuy