The approval of the Prime Minister in Decision No.316/QD-TTG on March 9, 2021 to the pilot scheme for the use of telecoms accounts to pay for small-value goods and services (Mobile Money) has attracted much interest of both experts in the fields of banking, finance, telecoms as well as the public.
According to the decision, businesses need to have licenses to provide intermediary e-wallet payment services, licenses to establish a public mobile terrestrial telecommunications network using radio frequencies or have subsidiaries with permission from the parent company to use telecommunications, network, and data infrastructure.
The firms participating in the pilot program can provide services to customers who register their mobile accounts with an identity card, citizen identification or passport. Customers must use mobile services for at least three consecutive months before registering for mobile money.
The Prime Minister insisted that permitted telecoms businesses must prioritize residents in remote, island and boundary areas of the nation.
Mobile Money is for legal goods and services in Vietnam only, so international payment is not allowed. In addition, Mobile Money only welcomes the use of citizens whose mobile number is registered with a valid ID card or passport and a complete identification procedure.
Therefore, each Vietnamese person can only own one Mobile Money account in one Telecoms Company. This account is similar to a telecoms account, but can be used for money-related activities. Different from an e-wallet, this account does not require a link to any bank account.
According to the decision, customers can top-up or withdraw from their mobile money accounts at physical kiosks, similarly to bank accounts and e-wallets. They can also pay for goods and services at stores accepting mobile money.
In addition, customers using mobile money services could also transfer money.
The decision also stipulates a maximum transaction limit of VND10 millions (US$432.94) per month for each mobile money account for all transactions including withdrawals, transfers and payments.
Businesses involved in the pilot are prohibited for banking activities such as lending, raising capital or providing or using mobile money accounts for transactions for the purpose of money laundering, terrorism financing, or fraudulent practices.
It is estimate that there will be a significant money flow via this channel each month if about 20-30 percent of 130 million mobile subscribers in Vietnam use Mobile Money, even with a limit of $432.
The decision will allow some businesses to join the pilot program for two years. The results of the pilot implementation of the mobile money service will be a practical basis for authorities to review, develop and issue official legal regulations for the service in Viet Nam.