Vietnamese Incumbents Tap Fintech Partnerships in Digital Banking Push

Vietnamese Incumbents Tap Fintech Partnerships in Digital Banking Push

by September 6, 2021

Vietnam’s young and digitally-savvy population, low rates of formal financial inclusion and high smartphone ownership and Internet penetration, make the country’s banking and financial services industry ride for disruption.

Against this backdrop, incumbents are teaming up with fintech companies and tech providers to ramp up their digital banking propositions; embracing APIs, cloud technology and embedded fintech to deliver convenience, choice and speed to Vietnam’s young, digital-first consumers.

Just this week, Vietnam’s newest digital bank, Cake, announced that it will be partnering with Mambu, a software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud-native banking platform, to scale its business operations and provide a comprehensive range of digital banking solutions.


Vietnamese Digital Bank Cake Taps Mambu’s Cloud Platform to Scale Its Operations

Introduced in January 2021, Cake is a joint initiative between Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank), and Be Group, the company behind the Be ride-hailing app.

This is one of the many deals Mambu has announced over the past weeks in Vietnam, “an incredibly important market for Mambu,” according to Pham Quang Minh, general manager of Mambu’s Vietnam operations. He added that the company has committed to continued investment in the country to help established banks and financial institutions “transform their legacy infrastructure, enhance their digital capabilities and deliver tailored customer experiences.”

In August, Mambu announced a partnership with Vietnam’s digital banking pioneer Timo Plus, formerly Timo, which will also be using Mambu’s cloud-native core banking platform. Timo Plus was the first digital banking offering to ever launch in Vietnam back in 2016, providing customers with online payments, 24/7 money transfers, a debit card, and more. Its banking partner is Viet Capital Bank.

Also in August, Mambu inked a partnership with KMS Solutions, a Vietnamese banking technology provider, to co-develop an end-to-end digital banking platform tailored for the banking, financial services and insurance industry. The platform will allow banks to provide frictionless mobile onboarding, mobile payment capabilities, buy now pay later (BNPL) options, and more.

Mambu, which has its Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore, provides banks, fintech startups and telcos with the technology to power lending, deposit and other banking products. It’s an industry leader in cloud banking, serving more than 200 customers including Fixura, the oldest peer-to-peer (P2P) lender in the Nordics, Mynt, the Filipino fintech startup partnership between Globe Telecom, the Ayala Corporation, and Ant Financial, and N26, Germany’s digital challenger bank.

Booming digital banking activities

The recent deals Mambu has signed with Vietnamese financial industry players are indicative of the broader digital shift happening in the country.

In the first four months of 2021, online transactions jumped 66% in terms of number and 31.2% in value, year-on-year, according to Pham Tien Dung, head of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)’s payment department. In the same period, mobile payment transactions surged 86.3% in volume and 123.1% in value, while QR code payment transactions soared 95.7% in volume and 181.5% in value.

In response to the rise of digital banking, nearly all (95%) Vietnamese lenders have either implemented digital transformation strategies or are in the process of formulating them, a recent survey by the SBV found.

CIMB Vietnam, which launched its digital banking offering back in 2018, has embraced a partnership strategy early on, teaming up with fintech players including South Korea’s Toss, EzQ-owned ON and digital wallet SmartPay to allow customers to open a bank account on a partner platform.

In June 2021, it partnered with Finhay, a Vietnamese micro-investment platform, to allow users to open and maintain a bank account at CIMB Vietnam right from the Finhay app. The account comes with an accompanying debit card.

How CIMB and Finhay Are Delivering Diversification Through Embedded Finance in Vietnam

How CIMB and Finhay Are Delivering Diversification Through Embedded Finance in Vietnam

From this year onwards, Thomson Fam Siew Kat, CEO of CIMB Vietnam, said the bank will continue to develop new features and technologies as Vietnamese customers quickly embrace embedded finance and digital payments.

“2022 will continue to be the explosive year of cashless payments,” he told Global Banking and Finance Review. “Vietnamese people who are familiar with technology will quickly be interested in online payments, exploring embedded finance and always require immediate service on a platform.”

Vietnam’s booming digital banking sector comes on the back of market liberation reforms, increased competition from new, tech-enabled players, and changing customer preferences.

In 2020, the role of traditional banks as primary financial services providers declined by nearly 7%, while digital banks grew 7%, according to a recent paper by Mambu. By 2025, Accenture estimates that banks that fail to evolve could lose as much as US$280 billion in payments revenues.



Featured image credit: Photo by Ben from Pexels