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Updated: 2018-11-10 20:40:07

Mobile banking for the poor in Vietnam

The Asia Foundation logo VBSP logo   Mastercard logo 

This partnership brings together The Asia Foundation (TAF), Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) and MasterCard in the deployment of the first mobile banking platform for low income populations in Vietnam. The initiative will prepare VBSP to roll out full-scale mobile banking for VBSP’s clientele nationwide.

Progress update


MasterCard guided VBSP as it upgraded its banking system to bring the online banking technology in-house, be based in Vietnam and handle a higher volume of online banking transactions. Pricing negotiations began with mobile telecommunication providers. The mobile banking application (app) was developed, with staff across ten branches trained on how to use the app for its launch.

Key activities

  • VBSP upgraded their online banking system to meet technical and regulatory requirements.
  • Price negotiations between partners and mobile telecommunication providers commenced for SMS communication with customers.
  • Partners agreed to adjust the delivery timeline of the three roll-out phases. The first phase progressed with the development of the mobile banking app. Staff were trained in how to use the app in ten VBSP branches chosen for launching the app by the end of January 2018.

JULY 2017

The TAF, MasterCard and Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) partnership was officially launched in February 2017. The partners have commenced recruitment and setting up of agreements between the commercial and government partners and advocacy activities to promote digital banking and financial inclusion in Vietnam.

Key activities

  • Set-up a Project Management Unit within VBSP, including 14 staff tasked to work on the bank’s mobile banking project.
  • Rolled-out SMS notification and mobile banking in pilot VBSP branches.
  • Developed training programs and materials to guide VBSP’s staff on the deployment of mobile banking.
  • Devised a public relations and policy advocacy activity to support TAF and VBSP to raise public awareness about mobile banking and financial inclusion in Vietnam.

Partnership aims

  • Accelerate economic opportunities and empowerment for low income populations, especially women-led microenterprises.
  • Lower the cost of banking as well as provide access to more diversified banking services.
  • Enable VBSP and its selected partners to roll out SMS banking and pilot the first mobile banking solution for VBSP customers.
  • Allow VBSP to gradually deploy mobile banking services to its increasing client base. 
  • Improve communication, transparency and accountability in savings services and mitigate misappropriation in the service delivery channel. 


Start date: September 2016

End date: August 2018


Financial Services; Women's Economic Empowerment


This partnership will allow for improved access to a full range of digital financial services to those who lack access to traditional banking services, accelerating economic opportunities for low-income households and women-led microenterprises.

Shared value

Shared value is defined as policies and practices that enhance the competitiveness of companies while improving social and environmental conditions in the regions where they operate. It is a business strategy focused on companies creating measurable economic benefit by identifying and addressing social problems that intersect with their business. To qualify as shared value, there must be an identifiable economic benefit to the company as well as measurable impact on a social or environmental issue.

The BPP is helping businesses partner with the Australian aid program in achieving shared value – advancing both social and economic objectives. These partnerships are primarily being created in one or more of the following ways:

  • Reconceiving products and/or markets
  • Redefining productivity in the value chain
  • Enabling local cluster development

Reconceiving products or/and markets

MSI two people carrying box on rod through market in VietnamThe initiative proposes a two-track business model and phased approach to implementation, starting in peri-urban areas and gradually expanding into the rural and remote regions of the country, reaching close to seven million active clients. Track 1 will provide VBSP with the capability to send account-related information via SMS texts to clients, such as repayment schedules and reminders and monthly account balances. Track 2 will introduce mobile banking capabilities to initiate financial transactions on phones on behalf of VBSP clients, including loan repayments and cash deposits and withdrawals, and send transaction confirmations to clients.

Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment

The partnership will increase access to financial services for women and women-led microenterprises. TAF will aim for at least 70 percent of VBSP beneficiaries to be women; this includes VBSP staff, clients and group leaders who will receive training on SMS notification and mobile banking services.

Partner information

The partnership is between The Asia Foundation, Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP), Mastercard and DFAT.

The Asia Foundation

TAF woman in Vietnam in front of ornate building 

The Asia Foundation 

The Asia Foundation (TAF) is a nonprofit international development organisation with offices in 18 countries. TAF is committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia, addressing the critical issues affecting Asia in the 21st century by: strengthening governance, expanding economic opportunity, increasing environmental resilience, empowering women, and promoting international cooperation. The Asia Foundation will facilitate partnership relations, particularly in coordinating strategic, human resource, and technical training needed to build VBSP’s operational and marketing capacity, as well as institutional buy-in, in applying mobile technology.

Vietnam Bank for Social Policies

TAF woman working with metal welding machine 


The Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) is a government-owned bank, taking the lead in policy and the microfinance field in Vietnam. It enables financial inclusion of the poor and policy beneficiaries through grassroots networks, appropriate infrastructure, socialised procedures and skillful staff. The VBSP will be the implementing partner and owner of the mobile banking application.


TAF young woman posing with books in Vietnam 


MasterCard is an American multinational financial services corporation. Its principal business is to process payments between the banks of merchants and the banks or credit unions of the purchasers who use MasterCard. MasterCard will assist VBSP to develop a detailed strategic plan from gap analysis, solution design, business planning, key performance indicators, to pilot and full roll-out of the solution, based on in-depth review of VBSP technology, products, operations, and financials.



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