Three Vietnamese banks raise SMS fees to encourage digital banking

Three Vietnamese banks raise SMS fees to encourage digital banking

Three Vietnamese banks have reportedly changed their SMS notification policies in a bid to encourage customers to switch to digital banking apps, as SMS charges from telcos are too expensive.

According to Vietnam News Agency, starting this week, Vietcombank will charge customers VND 10,000 (US$0.42) per phone number for 20 SMSs per month. After 20 SMS notifications, the bank will charge VND 700 per message, excluding VAT. Previously, Vietcombank charged a monthly flat fee of VND 10,000. Vietcombank will also stop sending SMS balance notifications for transactions below VND 50,000.

Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB) has announced similar changes, now charging VND 15,000 per month for the first 20 messages and VND 700 for each message after that. Meanwhile, the Cooperative Bank of Vietnam (Co-opBank) raised its SMS fee to VND 16,500 per month (including VAT) and has stopped sending SMSs for transactions below VND 20,000.

According to the report, Vietcombank, ACB and Co-opBank encouraged customers to use their digital banking apps when notifying them of the fee changes, saying that the apps offer notifications at no extra charge.

Vietcombank, ACB and Co-opBank aren’t the only banks to make such a move. In September last year, Sacombank, VPBank and VietinBank also adjusted their SMS fees.

According to media reports, the Vietnam Banking Association has long complained that many banks are losing money from SMS banking services. Nguyen Quoc Hung, General Secretary of the Vietnam Banking Association, has said that banks pay hundreds of billions of đồng per month in telecoms service fees, in large part because telcos charge banks three times more per SMS than consumer SMSs.

Last November, United Overseas Bank’s ASEAN Consumer Sentiment Study found that digital banking is gaining traction in Vietnam, with 54% of respondents increasing their use of mobile banking apps over the past year. Meanwhile, four out of five consumers in Vietnam use e-wallets at least once a week.

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