While numerous banks raise service fees on online and mobile banking as well as ATM withdrawals, more and more people choose e-wallet apps for comfort and freedom.
Nguyen Dong (Nha Be district, Ho Chi Minh City) said he uses e-wallet MoMo to pay online for utilities, internet, and his mobile phone bills every month. He even uses this app to pay when going out with friends or family. Recently, when numerous banks have been adjusting service fees, he uses e-wallet more frequently.
“The e-wallet provides several integrated services, such as buying movie tickets, air tickets, taking up consumer loans, and insurance policies. We can collect points and receive discounts just by using the e-wallet. Some e-wallets even give bonus e-money to users who invite friends,” said Vu.
Pham Minh (Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi) uses the Vi Viet app to pay her bills online. It is very comfortable and free of charge for all transactions.
CafeF.vn quoted leaders of some banks confirming that customers are turning towards e-wallets to pay bills, shop, and among others. E-wallet also provides some extra services to compete with banks’ internet and mobile banking services. Notably, it is very easy to register new accounts via smartphones.
There are around 20 e-wallet apps on the market currently, such as Vi Viet, MoMo, Payoo, Baokim, MobiVi, Nganluong, and Wepay. Several banks also intend to develop e-wallets to match market demand.
Nguyen Ba Diep, vice chairman of MoMo, said that this year the company focuses on the $20-billion Vietnamese tourism market. Holiday-goers can directly book air tickets, train tickets, bus tickets, travel and health insurance, as well as a whole range of other services on Momo. The app has six million users and expects to get 50 million users by 2020.
Meanwhile, LienVietPostBank has just signed an agreement with two Japanese companies to develop solutions of human resources management and wage payment via the Vi Viet app. This app has 2.2 million users and over 19,000 points accepting payments nationwide.
Although e-wallets have great potential, very few apps survive for long. E-wallet companies said that they have poured hundreds thousands of dollars into their apps but saw little returns. This is not always enough to cover the initial expenses. Thus e-wallet developers suffer from losses.
Vietnam holds great potential for e-payments, including e-wallets, but users do not trust these apps enough to put much money in them. Thereby, market shares and survival are a longer-term game spinning on trust and the ability to eke out the smallest gains until the market turns more benevolent.
According to economist Can Van Luc, the development of e-wallets is an indispensable side-effect of the technology boom, and numerous financial technology companies are being established.