According to the newest survey on the use of financial services released by Nielsen Research, only 1% of surveyed consumers used credit cards.
According to Nielsen, consumer awareness of banking utility services other than savings products is very low compared to other countries in the region. As such, the potential for banks to greatly increase its market share in this area is very high.
The survey was conducted through personal interviews with 600 people between the ages of 18 and 50 in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
According to this survey, less than half of the surveyed consumers (42%) knew about credit card services and only 1%, or 6 people, actually used credit cards. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, a country with a similar economic growth to Vietnam, the usage rate of credit cards is of 5%. The number of credit cards has already increased by 10% and the value of purchases has increased by 28% each year. Grocery stores were where credit cards are used the most, the majority of purchases being household items or personal expenses.
Furthermore, there are more barriers to consumer’s use of these utility services. More than 1/3rd (36%) of surveyed consumers responded that credit cards were not necessary for them, 19% did not know how to use them, and 18% said that they were complicated and inconvenient.
However, even though many knew consumers about basic banking services such as transaction accounts, savings accounts, ATM/debit cards, and loans, the number of users remains very limited. Only 32% of respondents maintained a transaction account, only 31% used ATM cards and only 12% of respondents had a savings account at a bank.
Also according to the Nielsen report, when choosing a bank, consumers are attracted to quick and simple procedures, a good reputation, and published interest rates. On the other hand, they feel uncomfortable with many aspects associated with the use of banking services such as cumbersome procedures, income disclosure requirements, and their financial capacity.
According to the State Bank of Vietnam, there were already 49 institutions issuing cards with over 200 different brands of cards in Vietnam and a total of 32 million cards already issued as of the end of 2010.