Vietnam e-wallets vie for users
As of March, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) licensed 27 intermediary payment service providers, of which the majority offers user a e-wallet.
Following the global trend of digital banking, banks and fintech companies in Vietnam are paying more attention to e-wallet, aiming to capitalize the country’s young population with rising disposable incomes.
Additionally, Vietnam has a high rate of smartphone users, while only 40% of the citizens have bank accounts.
Tran Thanh Nam, co-founder and CEO of Vietnamese mobile payment start-up Moca, stated that customers are living a modern lifestyle surrounded by digital technology services. In addition to social networks, they have grown fond of applying digital services into everyday life, from transport to buying food, coupled with safe and convenient non-cash payment.
Along with Moca, other popular e-wallets in Vietnam include MoMo, Vi Viet, Bankplus, VTC Pay, WePay, Mobivi, and Vimo, among others.
As of December 2017, MoMo had five million users and expected the figure to increase two or three times in 2018. Meanwhile, Vi Viet had over two million users, aiming to have 3.5 million in 2018.
However, Pham Tien Dung, head of the Payment Department of the SBV, informed that by the end of 2017, only five intermediary payment service providers stayed profitable from online transactions, indicating challenges for companies in the market.
Nguyen Dinh Thang, board chairman of LienVietPostBank, the bank that owns Vi Viet, said e-wallets need more time to meet customers’ demands and fill up the market gap. Besides, customers are still in favor of using cash in transaction, so they should be convinced to try new payment methods and understand their advantages.
Although each e-wallet app has its own development strategy and market segment, most of them do not possess an ecosystem and a large network of points of sale (POS). The key issue to attract customers, thus, would be an ecosystem.
In 2017, Momo had partnered Uber as a move to improve its customer base, which later was disrupted by the latter’s exit from the Southeast Asian market.
Despite being a late comer, Zalo Pay has its own advantage thanks to its 100 million users from the Zalo chat app.
Recently, Grab has made a strategic investment in Moca, aiming to further strengthen its grip in the digital payment sector in the region.
With their respective advantages, these e-wallet apps in subject are putting pressure not only on their competitors in the market, but also to traditional payment services from banks.
In its latest move, TienPhong Bank (TPBank) has provided new service of supporting customers purchasing air-tickets through its mobile payment app, aiming to stay competitive in the market.