VN banks race to lower service fees
A number of local commercial banks, including major players, have reduced and even eliminated service fees to attract more service users and depositors.
Since early this month, Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) has offered free services for the first 10 money transfer transactions made on its VPBank Online app. From the 11th transaction, customers will be refunded the fee if their account balance is at least VND10 million, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported.
At Tien Phong Bank (TPBank), customers have also been exempted from fees when transferring money through the TPBank eBank app to accounts in other banks and when withdrawing cash from ATMs nationwide, except for the ATMs of foreign banks such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and Vietnam-Russia Joint Venture Bank.
By December 31, Nam A Bank will provide free services to new customers. Customers using the bank’s Internet Banking, SMS Banking, Mobile Banking and Open Banking services are also entitled to the fee exemption.
Those who transact at the bank’s branches are exempt from account management, money transfer and cash withdrawal fees.
Large banks, such as Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank), Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank), Vietnam International Bank and Viet Capital Bank, have also introduced fee reduction and exemption policies to attract customers.
Specifically, Vietcombank will reduce its fee for domestic debit card holders withdrawing money from the ATMs of other banks, from VND3,000 (excluding value added tax) to VND2,500 per service. The policy will be applied from November 11 this year to the end of next year.
According to experts, customers pay the most attention to fees when using banking services. Therefore, many banks have reduced or cut their service fees, and these policies have proved successful.
Techcombank, for example, after applying the zero-fee program for all transactions on its F@st I-bank and F@st mobile apps, has seen demand deposits made at the bank increasing 13% in the January-September period. In addition, the number of customers surged.
According to the leaders of some commercial banks, the annual interest rates of call deposits now range from 0.1% to 1%, much lower than the rates of 4.5%-5% for one-month savings. The large amount of non-term deposits will help improve banks’ liquidity amid the decline in short-term capital used for long- and medium-term loans, as required by the State Bank of Vietnam.
Bui Quang Tin, an expert in banking and finance, said the fee reduction and exemption policies are indispensable in the context that many noncash and intermediate payment service providers are competing directly with banks.
Meanwhile, Huynh Trung Minh, another expert in the sector, stated that banks will also benefit from the free service policy as they can build their customer database to promote the cross-selling of products and services, such as lending and insurance. SGT
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This is a far cry from two years ago, when charges were placed on electronic services in a bid to increase bank revenue.