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Covid-19 outbreak prompts non-cash payments


According to many economic experts, non-cash payment is of particular importance in the current context to ensure safety, to limit the spread and reduce the risk of transmission of the Covid-19.

The Covid-19 outbreak has affected many sectors, but it is a bright spot for various types of digital economy such as online finance, e-commerce, etc. Particularly, for e-commerce alone, this market in Vietnam has increased from USD 0.4 billion in 2015 to USD 2.8 billion in 2018 according to Vietnam Development Report 2019.

Vietnam's e-commerce market is the third largest in the region, behind Indonesia (USD 12.2 billion in 2018) and Thailand (USD 3 billion in 2018) and will grow even more. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, this sector will increase by 20% per year and reach about USD 10 billion in 2020. The development of this field is being promoted by the competent agencies to bring about good results, offset economic losses due to the disease outbreak.

According to the Payment Department, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), as of the end of November 2019, the number of transactions facilitated via interbank electronic payment systems reached nearly 146 million transactions, equivalent to VND 87.59 million billion (an increase of 17.77% in transaction volume and 32.49% in value over the same period in 2018).

The average number of transactions reached nearly 635,000 transactions per day, the average transaction value reached over VND 380,000 billion per day. However, this is still a modest figure in the total amount of cash transactions in Vietnam.

Thus, there is an asynchronous development when the economy grows rapidly but the development of means of digital payment remains slow. Among the biggest barriers to the development of non-cash payments are consumer habits.

The habit of using cash seems to be harmful in the current context, i.e. in the midst of Covid-19 outbreak. Direct cash transactions can increase the risk of corona virus infection when disinfected cash could also be a source of infection. Experts recommend that people should also gradually switch to digital payment, taking advantage of the benefits that e-commerce brings.

In fact, since the Lunar New Year when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic first broke out, users have gradually changed the habit and are switching to non-cash payment methods. The total number of non-cash payment transactions made via the SBV's financial switching system increased by 76% compared to the same period in 2019. This is also considered a "natural" opportunity for the development of non-cash payments.

Kylie Nguyen

© 2019 Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development No. 2 Lang Ha street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi, Vietnam
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