Vietnamese banks raised SMS charges to smooth path toward digital banking

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Three banks in Vietnam welcomed the new year by raising their SMS fees to encourage customers to switch to digital banking apps to get notifications for free, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

Beginning this week, Vietcombank is charging 10,000 Vietnamese dong (US$0.41) per phone number for less than 20 messages per month. After 20 SMS notifications, the bank will charge VND700 ($0.029) per SMS (excluding VAT). Previously, the bank charged a monthly fixed fee of VND10,000. Vietcombank will also stop sending SMS notifications for transactions below VND50,000 ($2.05).

Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB) is charging VND15,000 ($0.62) per month for the first 20 SMS and VND700 for each SME from the 21st one. Meanwhile, the Cooperative Bank of Vietnam (Co-op Bank) increased its SMS fee to VND16,500 ($0.68) per month (including VAT) and stopped sending SMSs for transactions below VND20,000 ($0.82).

All three banks are encouraging customers to download their respective digital banking app where notifications are sent at no extra charge. At present, banks used SMS via telecom operators to send notifications to customers.

Vietcombank, ACB and Co-op Bank are not the only Vietnamese banks to increase their SMS fees in recent months. In September last year, Sacombank, VPBank and VietinBank adjusted their SMS charges and stopped sending SMS for transactions of modest sums.

Telcos’ SMS charges are too expenses

According to media reports, Vietnamese banks do not earn profits from SMS banking services because of high charges from service providers.

Nguyen Quoc Hung, general secretary of the Vietnam Banking Association (VBA), reportedly said banks pay higher fees for delivering their SMS messages at a rate of three times higher than the normal SMS charge.

An estimate by the VBA showed that the country’s banking system is paying hundreds of billions of đồng per month in telecommunications service fees. Hung said banks have suffered losses and they have been urging service providers to reduce these fees.

“Now, banks were promoting digitalization and encouraging customers to install digital banking apps to get notifications for free,” Hung said.

Image by: Pixabay

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