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Mobile payment: new trend in Vietnam

Buyers nowadays only need to scan a QR code by their phones to pay for items, and shops have even stopped accepting cash payments.



A banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) shop on Dang Van Ngu Street in Hanoi attracts a large number of young buyers not only because its banh mi is less than VND20,000 ($0.8), but also because young customers are excited with the shop’s new payment method. Instead of paying cash, buyers can swipe the QR code that is affixed right on the glass cabinet containing the sandwich.

The store accepts payment via more than 10 types of e-wallets, enabling faster and more convenient payments.

Payment via QR code has become popular in Vietnam. On social networks, people were impressed with the story about a shoe shiner in the mountainous province of Tuyen Quang who refused cash, only accepting payments via QR Code.

Cashless payments everywhere

The story was told on the Facebook page of Vu Thanh Trung. Trung was impressed by a shoe shiner in Tuyen Quang City who asked Trung to not pay in cash but via an electronic wallet. The shoe shiner turned his shoe shine box with a QR sticker on it and explained why cash shouldn't be used.

Trung was quite shocked when the shoe shiner told him the story about a QR code in a faraway country. He didn't think that a shoe shiner would be so tech savvy.

Trung scanned the QR code and was more surprised to see that the name of the money recipient shown on his phone was “Danh Giay” (shoe shine), with a total amount of VND20,000 for two pairs of shoes shined. Trung asked him why he decided to use this electronic payment, and he replied: "I can save money if you transfer it to my e-wallet. If you pay me in cash, I will spend the money very quickly."

For housewives who shop at Vinmart chain, the Scan & Go feature is very convenient. They only need to open the application; select the products they want to buy; and add them to the e-shopping cart then scan the barcode on the product price stamps to create an order on the app. With this order, they can pay quickly at the priority counter. The payment time only takes about 30 seconds.

The advantage of this feature is the ability to pay super-fast, saving up to 90% of waiting time - a concern of housewives when shopping during rush hours. In fact, Scan & Go shopping technology has been adopted by many of the world's leading retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury's and Amazon Go.

Shoe shining in the 4.0 era

“With just a simple operation, patients can immediately pay hospital fees without having to queue and they don't have to take cash or bank cards with them, and at the same time the hospital can save costs, human resources and manage effectively," said an official of the Medicine and Pharmacy University Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.

So far, 15 banks have cooperated with the hospital to provide the payment service via QR code.

Ms. Thuy, the owner of a breakfast shop, said that up to 50% of customers use this payment method. For her, the best benefit is that she no longer has to worry about change. So she encourages customers by giving discounts to those using this payment mode.

When the poor benefit

2019 was the year of e-wallets when many were launched in Vietnam, with huge promotions to attract users, and each wallet had its own strengths. Many non-cash payment services offered spending stimulus programs, online payment solutions or financial services. Mobile money services were also deployed by mobile carriers to energize a cashless economy, and the poor also benefited.

At a seminar on mobile money, Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung said that in developing countries, about 15% adults earn revenue from selling agricultural products, but most of them receive cash - a risky, inefficient and inconvenient form of collecting money.

But they cannot sell agricultural products to a person far away, so according to Minister Hung, payment via mobile subscription accounts helps people in the city pay for bananas from an orchard in any village in their country. Thus, farmers can sell their products at a higher price.

In fact, the poor in rural, remote and isolated areas have been excluded from the mainstream financial system. Mobile money is expected to be the solution to help them access life-changing paid services on Internet platforms such as healthcare, education, finance, employment, and social security.

Vietnam will be the 91st country in the world with Mobile Money service if this platform is licensed this year.

"Technology can help solve many problems of the country, but we have to change, dare to change, dare to accept new models," Minister Hung said.

Mobile money is also expected to contribute to a boom in Vietnamese startups. The Minister of Information and Communications explained that along with mobile money, many digital businesses and technology startups will appear. This will be the most popular payment method accepted by startups.

Mobile Money allows people to receive, store and spend money from mobile phone accounts from anyone and anywhere with cellphone signals, and without any intermediaries. In areas with no internet connection, people, including feature phone users, can use their Mobile Money accounts to make payments via SMS. 

Mobile payments are already booming. "Even a shoe shiner has a rather progressive thought, so it is not far away to apply electronic payment methods to buy vegetables, to shop at the market, or buy and sell anything in the future," said Trung, who told the story about the shoe shiner.

Duy Anh

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