VietNamNet Bridge – Banks have begun charging fees on the card services, which has met public opposition.


Notices from banks on service-fee increases and the setting of new kinds of fees have been sent to cardholders in recent days.

ATM cardholders were informed by a joint stock bank in HCM City that from August 1 the bank will begin collect a deposit account management fee, VND11,000 a month, if the average monthly balance is less than VND100,000.

Nguyen Thi Ngoc in district 7, HCM City, complained that she will have to pay that kind of fee because of the low balance in her account.

“My salary is modest and I always withdraw all the money right after my company pays monthly salary,” she explained.

Prior to that, her bank set up a new kind of fee – an e-banking service registration annual fee of VND176,000. Cardholders have also been told to pay VND10,000 for every transaction to remit money to other banks in the same provinces and cities.

They also have to pay 0.05 percent (VND20,000-1 million) in fees for the remittance of money to banks in other cities and provinces.

In early May, Dong A Bank began charging fees on those who pay in cash into payment accounts, VND10,000-20,000 per transaction.

Meanwhile, some commercial banks have raised the cash withdrawal fee within the same networks to VND2,200 per transaction, and it could be increased to VND3,300 by 2015.

A client of Dong A Bank complained that the existence of too many kinds of fees has caused confusion. As an ATM cardholder, he now pays 20 kinds of fees, including the annual fee, cash withdrawal fee, cash pay-in at the counter fee and many others.

When Dong A Bank’s clients make transactions at the bank’s ATMs, they have to pay six kinds of fee, including the cash withdrawal fee (VND3,300), information query (VND550), statement printing (VND880), inner-network transfer (VND1,650), scratch card (VND1,100) and interbank transfer fee (VND13,200).

Some commercial banks charge first card issuance fee (VND100,000), quick card issuance fee (VND200,000), replacement card issuance (VND50,000-100,000), PIN reissue fee (VND30,000) and complaint verification fee (VND80,000). Cardholders will have to pay other kinds of fees if they register additional services, such as e-banking, mobile banking and SMS banking.

The deputy general director of a joint stock bank in HCM City denied the fact that banks are now trying to charge fees on banking services because of the stagnation in credit activities.

He said that banks have to collect fees to cover major expenses they paid in the past to develop banking infrastructure, such as the ATM system or core banking.

According to Dr. Le Dat Chi from the HCM City Economics University, Vietnamese began using banking services in 2006-2007, but they did not have to pay service fees in the past. At that time, banks could not collect fees because they feared the fees would keep customers away from banking services. And now banks think it is the right time to charge fees to cover the investment capital.