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VN banks urged to go hi-tech   2010-12-10 - VNS

HCM CITY — Viet Nam's banking sector will have to develop more useful and modern services to meet future challenges, and the application of information technology and security systems will play a more important role in the future, experts said at a conference yesterday.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of Viet Nam 2010 Banking conference and exhibition in HCM City, Nguyen Van Giau, Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV), said: "Developing more useful banking services, widening the use of the new Point of Sale (POS) for plastic money, and seeking more idle capital in rural areas are new trends in the banking industry."

Other experts spoke on ways to push up non-cash payment in Viet Nam, encouraging Vietnamese consumers to adopt the new POS plastic money system for shopping.

In a recent survey carried out by the State Bank of Viet Nam's HCM City branch, 70 per cent of banks said they needed better technology infrastructure for linking the POS machine with other partners.

"The success of POS would depend mainly on the service owners, especially if they don't want banks to have records of their sales transactions so as to avoid paying more taxes," said Bui Quang Tien, director of SBV's Payment Department.

High POS fees between banks and the cost of promoting the service were also slowing the uptake of transactions using the machines.

"Viet Nam's high growth rate, deeper financial integration, high ratio of youth population, and improved living standards as well as the high ability to use technology will boost POS use in the near future," Tien said.

The nation's banking sector took one major stop towards promoting non-cash payments by connecting the POS system between banks in HCM City yesterday. Ha Noi had established a similar link in September.

Representatives of several banks said they were paying attention to developing other non-cash payment services like mobile banking, internet banking and home banking.

At present, there are 28.6 million ATM cards, 46,000 POS machines and 11,000 ATMs in Viet Nam. The issuance of plastic money, including debit and credit cards grew by 150-200 per cent a year during the 2006-10 period, but the transactional amounts via the POS system was still very low at around 5 per cent.

Experts also spoke on risk management and security in retail banking, which they said was the most significant factor for the industry.

The conference, which ends today, was organised by the State Bank of Viet Nam's Information Technology Department and the International Data Group. It was attended by international and national banks, finance institutions and IT companies, such as Polaris, EMC, APC, AgriBank, Vietin Bank and BKAV.

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