TrueMoney Vietnam has obtained an Intermediary Payment Services License from the State Bank of Vietnam to operate digital financial services in the market.
The company, part of Thailand-based True Corporation's payment services subsidiary Ascend Money, has secured approval to operate e-money, e-payment, wireless transfers, and payment gateway services.
With the approval, Vietnam will be the second country in the region to launch TrueMoney Wallet after Thailand.
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Consumers in Vietnam are expected to be able to use TrueMoney Wallet to make online purchases, pay bills and top up their pre-paid mobile and gaming cards, as well as to transfer money from their bank accounts to the digital wallet and from their wallet to other wallets.
Offline and online merchants will be able to use TrueMoney’s system as a payment gateway and companies will soon be able to disburse payroll to their employees via TrueMoney Wallet.
TrueMoney has a network of over 5,000 agents across 40 provinces in Vietnam. Agents are small business owners who conduct financial services for customers, enabling the Vietnamese population to access services such as top-up and bill payment near their location.
TrueMoney Vietnam aims to soon offer additional financial services such as loans and insurance in the second quarter of 2018.
“Winning the license to operate digital financial services cements our presence in Vietnam, an important market for Ascend in our expansion throughout Southeast Asia,” Ascend Money president Tanyapong Thamavaranukupt said.
“This means TrueMoney is now able to deploy a broad range of safe, affordable and convenient digital money solutions to Vietnam’s population of 90 million. In particular we hope to provide equal access to financial services for the unbanked.”
Vietnam has one of the lowest banking penetration rates in the region, with only one third of the population having an account with a formal financial provider, compared to the regional average of 69%.
“While Vietnam has the potential to surpass China in GDP growth by 2020, the country urgently needs to connect its people and businesses to financial services, to reap the benefits of inclusive growth. As Southeast Asia’s fastest growing mobile commerce market, as well as one of its largest unbanked populations, Vietnam poses a key opportunity for TrueMoney to innovate and scale,” Tanyapong continued.
TrueMoney has e-money licenses to operate financial services in Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, and Vietnam.
Vietnam, along with the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar, has been identified by the World Bank as among the top 25 countries to focus strategic efforts on financial inclusion. According to the World Bank, in 2014 Vietnam had the lowest credit card usage in Southeast Asia, and only 50% of the debit cards in circulation were in use.
The Asian Development Bank estimates that bringing digital financial services to Southeast Asia’s unbanked population can boost the GDP of economies by as much as 6%.
First published in FinTech Innovation