BankNet, the National Financial Switching Company,
will become officially operational in mid April, connecting the ATM
systems of three state owned banks and joint stock banks.
BankNet will officially become operational in mid April, Dang Manh Pho,
BankNet Director General, confirmed. It will connect the ATM systems of
three members in the first period, and with four other members
(Agribank, ACB, Sacombank and EAB) by the end of the year. Now EAB, ACB,
SaigonBank and Sacombank are the members of VNBC, one of the existing
card alliances in Vietnam.
Mr Pho said that it was very likely that BankNet would connect with VNBC.
On the occasion of the debut, BankNet is expected to sign an agreement
on connecting the payment system with a Chinese card institution. By
September at the latest, the members of Banknet will accept the cards
issued by the Chinese partner, and by the end of this year, Vietnam’s
cards will be accepted in China.
The BankNet project, which aims to connect the payment systems in
Vietnam, was kicked off in April 2003. More than one year later, the
National Financial Switching Company was officially born, which gathered
8 members, including seven banks and the Vietnam Data and Communications
Now the company has the total chartered capital of VND94.5bil and it
plans to double its capital by issuing shares to the public and raising
more funds from founding members.
In the near future, with a single card, clients will be able to withdraw
money at any ATM and everywhere, but they will have to pay a fee for
BankNet is working on the transaction fee list and consulting with its
members about the list. The tentative fee is VND3,000 for every cash
withdrawal transaction. Of this VND3,000, VND1,000 will be paid to
BankNet as the switching fee, and VND2,000 will be paid by the card
issuance bank (A bank) to the bank which owns the ATM (B bank), if A
bank’s clients withdraw cash from B bank’s ATM.
Mr Pho said that in the immediate time, banks would have to pay the
fees; however, clients later will have to share the fees with banks, and
the exact fee levels would depend on the banks’ policies.
“The fee level will be set in a way so that it is acceptable. I think
clients will be ready to pay if they can get more facilities,” said Le
Thi Kim Thu, Deputy Director of the Card Centre under the Bank for
Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).
BIDV has issued nearly 1mil cards and has some 400 ATMs, while Agribank
has issued 1mil cards and has 600 ATM. Incombank, another of BankNet’s
members, owns 400ATMs and has issued 800,000 cards. EAB, ACB, Sacombank
and SaigonBank are also trying to issue more cards and expand their
market shares. Once the connection is completed, several million clients
will be able to use the common services of all the BankNet members.
Mr Pho said that the technical infrastructure of the financial switching
company had been perfected since October 2006.