Vietnam Central Bank Has Only Granted 4 Payment Licenses Over the Past 16 Months

Vietnam Central Bank Has Only Granted 4 Payment Licenses Over the Past 16 Months

by July 19, 2019

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the country’s central bank and main financial regulatory agency, has only granted payment licenses to four companies since April 2018.

According to SBV’s website, Smart Net, Endenred, Paytech and EPay are the latest four companies to have received approval from the regulator to offer intermediary payment services services such as electronic payment portals, electronic money transfers services, and e-wallet services in Vietnam.
HI-TECH Security and Development Investment Company Limited, which was part of the list in April 2018, has been withdrawn for unknown reasons.

The addition of the four companies brings the total number of payment services providers permitted to operate in Vietnam to 30.

Smart Net Ltd, a company established in 2015, provides financial and insurance services. Paytech and EPay are two companies based in Hanoi and founded in 2016 and 2018, respectively. And Edenred is the owner and operator of Dibee, an e-payment solution designed for professional fleet expenses.

Vietnam’s digital payment landscape is getting more crowded by the day as telcos, tech companies and banks are all looking to get a piece of the pie.

Southeast Asian ride-hailing giants Grab and Go-Jek have been staffing up their financial services divisions in Vietnam and accelerating fintech recruitment.

Grab operates an array of fintech products in the country including digital payment service GrabPay, for which it teamed up with payment startup Moca. Grab bought a stake in Moca last year which has been providing it with the needed license to operate its digital payment service.

Go-Viet, the Vietnamese subsidiary of Indonesia’s ride-hailing company Go-Jek, is planning on launching its Go-Pay service, following on the steps of competitors FastGo, MyGo and BE, which all provide digital payment services integrated into their respective apps.

This week, Vietnam’s top telco company Viettel, announced the establishment of its eighth subsidiary company. Called Viettel Digital Services Corporation (VDS), the new venture will “focus on developing strategies in some of the country’s main industries including the digital financial sector, data services sector, credit, insurance, advertising and e-commerce sectors,” La Dang Dzung, acting chairman and general director of Viettel Group, said in a statement.

“We want VDS to transform Viettel from a traditional telecoms company into a digital services provider, while playing a key role in the construction of Vietnam’s digital economy.”

Le Dang Dzung, acting Chairman and General Director of Viettel Group delivers a speech at the launching ceremony

One of VDS’s main missions will be to develop a mobile money service that would allow users to transfer and receive money, as well as make payments via their smartphones. The service will be specially targeted at people in rural and remote areas and will be part of a broader digital ecosystem.

VDS targets to have 26 million subscribers within its ecosystem and establish 600,000 payment service points by 2025.

SBV recently tightened its stance towards digital payment providers, notably when it comes to strategic takeovers like the Grab/Moca VN deal, and players looking to get into the Vietnamese digital payment space will likely need to apply for regulatory approval individually.


Featured image credit: Unsplash