Vietnamese keep indifferent to the banks’ plan to modernize the payment methods, a step towards the non-cash economy, because the 17 existing kinds of fees have been burdening them.
According to the State Bank of Vietnam, 50 million cards of different kinds have been issued, including credit cards, debit cards, charge cards.
Domestic debit card holders now bear 12 kinds of fees, including the card issuance fee, about VND50,000.
In order to attract more clients, banks now do not collect fees from inner-network cash withdrawal transactions. However, clients have to pay VND3,300 for every inter-network transaction. Especially, from March 1, 2013, banks would charge on inner-network transactions as well.
Clients have to pay VND1,650 for every balance query, VND10,000-50,000 for every copy of transaction receipts. They would have to pay VND50,000 for every card replacement and VND10,000 to get new PIN codes.
Meanwhile, credit card holders bear up to 17 kinds of fees. The card holders can buy goods first and pay later with the credit limit of up to hundreds of millions of dong. All banks offer the 45-day grace period, during which clients don’t have to pay interest.
However, in return for the preferences, clients have to bear many kinds of fees and exorbitant high interest rates. The interest rates have been defined by commercial banks themselves, while there is no limitation set up by the State Bank. Especially, banks can define the interest rates without having to inform to clients in advance.
The annual fee that Maritime Bank Platinium card holders have to pay alone is VND1.2 million. They would have to pay VND5,000 for every query transaction, which is much higher than the VND1,650 fee applied to debit cards.
Since credit cards have been used for making payment, the card holders always have to pay very high if they want to withdraw cash, about three percent of the transactions’ values.
Techcombank Visa card holders have to pay higher, four percent of the total sums of cash to be withdrawn. They also have to pay many other kinds of fees, including the foreign exchange rate management fee, which is equal to 2.39 percent of the total transaction value.
Especially, the card holders would have to pay heavily for the delays in making payment. For every day of delay, Maritime Bank Platinium card holders would be charged 3 percent of the total delayed money, while Techcombank Visa holders six percent.
Since February 20, 2013, ATM card holders have to pay the annual fee of between zero and VND60,000. From March 2013, every inner-network transaction would be charged VND1,000, which could be VND2,000 in 2014 and VND3,000 in 2015.
However, clients may have to pay much more than VND3,000 for cash withdrawal, because they can withdraw no more than VND5 million for every transaction. This means that in order to withdraw high amounts of cash, they may have to pay up to tens of thousands of dong.
Not only getting bent over with a lot of kinds of fees, credit card holders also have to bear sky high interest rates.
The interest rate applied to ACB’s Visa Platinium card holders is 24.8 percent per annum. Especially, the lending interest rate and overdraft rate are up to 25.8 percent per annum for golden credit cards and pre-paid card holders.
Meanwhile, the rates are still lower than the 26.8 percent rate applied to standard card.
As such, the average lending interest rates hover around 24-46 percent per annum, which is triple the current ceiling deposit interest rate and double the lending interest rate.
With the exorbitant high interest rates, if credit card holders spend VND100 million, they would have to pay VND20 million in interest.