E-wallet users likely to update personal information

The central bank is seeking comments on a draft circular revising and supplementing some articles of Circular 39 on payment intermediaries, including asking e-wallet users to provide additional personal information.

Statistics from the State Bank of Vietnam show that at the end of 2018, the country saw some 20 million people installing e-wallet apps, with 4.2 million e-wallets being connected with bank accounts, Thanh Nien newspaper reported.

Users can choose to link bank accounts by providing information on their ATM accounts or through internet banking.

Mobile phone numbers and bank accounts are a necessary condition for using an e-wallet. Customers typically have to provide telecom carriers and banks with their personal information to hold mobile phone numbers and bank accounts.

The draft circular, however, asks e-wallet suppliers to identify users and authenticate their information by asking them to add their identification numbers.

If the regulation is put in place, at least 4.2 million e-wallet users will have to redo procedures to open an e-wallet account.

It is necessary to identify users and ask them to supplement their personal information for the safety of online and intermediary payments and the security of e-wallets, helping prevent the use of e-wallets for illegal purposes, according to the central bank.

However, many experts stated that it is possible to identify customers through information previously declared at registered banks or telecom carriers rather than asking them to provide this personal information again, thus saving time and money.

Nguyen Thuy Duong, deputy general director of Ernst & Young Vietnam Financial Services, said that the fee to collect information identifying customers who open a bank account is some VND300,000, exclusive of charges for maintaining and storing the information.

As such, an estimated VND1.26 trillion will be spent collecting the personal information of e-wallet users, Duong said.

Seconding her views, Can Van Luc, an expert in finance and banking, suggested that the central bank allow partner banks to share customers’ information with e-wallet providers. Banks may share information if their clients allow it, so e-wallet firms will not have to collect the information independently.

Digital payments play a key role in developing ecommerce and the digital economy, so completing the legal framework for this activity is necessary. Apart from ensuring the safety of transactions, creating favorable conditions to promote noncash payments should be further emphad to advance the Government’s plan.


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