Vietnam Business Channel

E-payments boom in Vietnam with new service providers

According to data from Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review and market research firm Statista, electronic payments in Vietnam grew 22% in 2017 from the previous year to $6.14 billion USD and will double to $12.33 billion in 2022.  Electronic payments have grown in the country due to electronic payment options being available, increases in internet usage and smartphone ownership.

According to market researchers, over half of Vietnam's population is online and the potential for the electronic payment sector is huge due to the expanding middle class and improved communications infrastructure VNG, the operator of the country's popular Zalo messaging app, plans to install ZaloPay e-payment terminals at more than 1,000 convenience stores and electronic shop locations by the end of 2018.  These terminals will allow users to deposit money and pay for online transactions and utility bills and can be used to transfer money from bank accounts and handle remittances using QR codes.

Another player in the e-payment market is state-owned PetroVietnam Oil, which introduced a mobile payment system in February. PV Oil is accepting mobile payments using an account card and QR code and expects to ease congestion at its gas stations.  

The PV Oil payment system will also allow business users to keep track of expenses by accessing records online.  

MoMo, Vietnam's e-payment pioneer is also expanding the services that consumers can use. In addition to paying for airline tickets, e-commerce purchases and utility bills, MoMo is negotiating to have its payment services used by taxi and ride-share operators as well as other services that are normally cash-based.

Foreign companies are also aware Vietnam's e-payment potential. China's Alipay, operated by e-commerce giant Alibaba entered into a cooperation agreement with a Vietnamese company to provide e-payment services last year and is encouraging Chinese citizens visiting Vietnam to use its services rather than paying in cash for purchases and services. 

In the case of Alipay and similar services, the Vietnam government has said that it is in favor of international payment companies entering the Vietnamese market as long as they are registered with relevant authorities and the State Bank of Vietnam.  

Banks in Vietnam are also getting involved in the e-payment business.   Maritime Bank and Sacombank have also launched their own QR code-based online payment services that can be used in restaurants and at stores across the country.

The increase of e-commerce companies like Lazada and Sendo as well as thousands of local e-commerce “companies” run by individuals on platforms like Facebook, is also contributing to rising e-payments as online shoppers, many of whom do not have credit cards, avoid paying cash on delivery, a practice that encourages theft by delivery workers.