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Updated: 2017-02-24 09:16:14

Mobile banking – Financial inclusion and economic empowerment for the low income population and women in Vietnam

On February 16, 2017, Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) has launched the project “Mobile banking – Financial inclusion and economic empowerment for the low income population and women in Vietnam”.


Phó Tổng Giám đốc VBSP kiêm Trưởng Ban quản lý dự án Hoàng Minh Tế phát biểu tại lễ khởi động dự án Mobile Banking giai đoạn 2

Mr. Hoang Minh Te – Deputy General Director cum PMU Director deliver an opening remark at the launching ceremony

The project is supported by Australian Government’s Business Partnerships Platform and aims to increase and improve access to a full range of financial services for the low-income households, especially women-led micro-enterprises that lack access to traditional banking services. The project will be implemented in cooperation between VBSP, Mastercard and The Asia Foundation for the period of 3 years from 2017-2019.

Công sứ, Phó Đại sứ Úc tại Việt Nam, Ông Bernard Philip phát biểu

Mr. Bernard Philip, Minister & Deputy Head of Mission - Embassy of Australia deliver a speech at the ceremony


Improving access to financial services is increasingly recognized as key to creating greater economic opportunities for the poor. Unfortunately, besides access to credit, about two-thirds of Vietnam’s population, particularly the rural poor, remain disconnected from other formal banking services. This is due in large part to the high cost of operating bank branches in remote areas where small frequent transactions are the norm. Vietnam has undergone a rapid evolution in information and communications technology (ICT) with the telecommunications network covering almost the entire country and almost all adults owning mobile phones. Despite this, the use of mobile technology for financial transactions is relatively rare and cash transactions remain the dominant method.

Mr. Bernard Philip, Minister & Deputy Head of Mission - Embassy of Australia says: The Business Partnerships Platform is a new initiative to enhance the Australian Government’s engagement with the private sector in development. VBSP, one of the Top 5 microfinance institutions in the world in terms of scale and success, boasts a customer base of over 7 million people. In this project, VBSP, Asia Foundation and MasterCard, for their vision in bringing together this exciting opportunity to collaborate on addressing development needs in Vietnam. 


Ông Michael DiGregorio, Giám đốc đại diện Văn phòng Quỹ Châu Á tại Việt Nam cho biết: “Sự tiên phong trong đổi mới công nghệ về Mobile Banking của VBSP trong lĩnh vực giảm nghèo sẽ mở đường cho các tổ chức tài chính vi mô khác học tập và ứng dụng công nghệ”

Dr. Michael DiGregorio, Vietnam Country Representative of The Asia Foundation

Being a specialized and biggest publically-owned financial institution in Vietnam, in the past 15 years,VBSP has provided financial services, especially policy loans, to help reduce poverty and achieve social targets effectively. VBSP’s strength is a nationwide network of 63 branches in provinces/cities, 629 district transaction offices, nearly 200,000 Savings and Credit groups in more than 11 thousand communes, aiming to provid financial inclusion to everyone. VBSP’s policy credit is given to the poor and it meets their demand on time. At present, VBSP is serving nearly 7 million customers with the total outstanding loan of 157,372 billion VND; among them, nearly 80% live in rural and remote areas.

Ông Arn Vogels, Trưởng đại diện MasterCard tại Việt Nam cam kết phối hợp cùng VBSP

Mr. Arn Vogels, Chief Representative, Mastercard Indochina

This is a follow-up project of the first feasibility study on VBSP’s application of mobile banking for the poor supported by The Asia Foundation from 2014-2015. Mr. Hoang Minh Te – Deputy General Director of VBSP said: “This will be the first mobile phone banking model for the poor in Vietnam. If this project is implemented successfully, poor and near-poor households, and other social policy beneficiaries will be able to access sustainable and effective financial services contributing to alleviate poverty and connect the poor with the economy. Applying new technology is in line with the Vietnam Government’s socio – economic development strategy for the period 2011 – 2020 and contributes to achieving the goals set in VBSP’s development strategy to the year 2020 which was approved by the Prime Minister. This will be one of the tools to diversify bank’s products/services and increasing VBSP’s efficiency in order to serve the increasing number of its customers.”

Ông Phạm Trường Giang - Phó Trưởng phòng phát triển thanh toán Vụ Thanh toán NHNN phát biểu

Mr. Pham Truong Giang - Vice Manager Payment Development Division - Payment Department SBV

VBSP will start the project by sending account-related information via SMS texts to clients, such as repayment schedules and reminders, and monthly account balances. Through SMS banking notifications, VBSP will improve transparency, reduce delinquency rates, and provide timely information to its clients. Following this, VBSP will pilot mobile banking capabilities for Group Leaders of VBSP’s Savings and Credit Groups (SCGs) and clients in order to automize transaction procedures with the bank, expand its services to meet the increasing demand of its clients, such as money transfers, savings, and bill and insurance payments. This will help the customers to have access to more diversified banking services, thereby increasing the quality and cost efficiency of VBSP’s operations.  The project will commence in urban and peri-urban areas and roll out to rural and remote areas throughout the country. 

Mr. Arn Vogels, Chief Representative, Mastercard Indochina, says: “Mastercard is committed to working with VBSP  to enable more low income consumers with greater access to financial products and services. We want to make a real difference in reducing poverty and ensuring that the disadvantage has access to the financial system. We are pleased that VBSP is leveraging our innovative payment technology in the implementation of their mobile banking services. Lessons drawn from other markets have shown that digital payments are cheaper, more efficient and ultimately more sustainable.  Mastercard shares VBSP’s commitment in improving efficiency and transparency to better serve the low income consumers who live in the remote areas of Vietnam.”

The creation and nationwide scale-up of VBSP’s first-ever mobile banking platform will enable the country’s largest microfinance provider to provide reliable, convenient, and flexible financial services to its seven million clients. Building on the mobile banking platform, VBSP will also be able to offer a broader, more sophisticated range of digital financial services in the future, reaching a greater number of low-income households in rural and remote areas. In addition, the project is also anticipated to have positive social impact on increasing women’s economic empowerment. Particularly, through training and capacity-building activities, the project will enhance knowledge and use of ICT and mobile banking for both VBSP clients and group leaders, particularly women who comprise a greater proportion among VBSP’s clients and group leaders. The application of mobile banking will also help a large number of women-led microenterprises to increase their access to credits and formal financial services as well as improve their businesses.

Dr. Michael DiGregorio, Vietnam Country Representative of The Asia Foundation emphasized that: “This project is in line with The Asia Foundation’s objectives on women empowerment and supporting vulnerable groups.The project is an important initiative in finance sector in Vietnam, and it is in line with the government’s recommendation to promote digital finances to achieve financial inclusion, especially among the low-income population and women. The VBSP’s initiative on mobile banking in providing financial access to the low-income and vulnerable groups will pave the way and provide valuable lessons learned for other microfinance service providers in Vietnam to apply it in their business; and at the same time contributing tofinalization of a legal framework on mobile banking in Vietnam.

Các đại biểu tham dự lễ khởi động

Launching Ceremony on Mobile Banking project phase 2



Poor Households

Lending to poor households 6,6%/year
Lending to poor households in 64 poor districts as stipulated by the Government Resolution No.30a in 2008 3,3%/year

Near Poor Households

Lending to near poor households 7,92%/year


Lending to disadvantaged students 6,6%/year

People in need of loans for job creation

Lending to business establishments owned by war invalids and handicapped persons 3,3%/year


Term Deposit Rate
Overnight 3,04%/year
1 week 3,23%/year
2 week 3,5%/year