Mobile banking helps the poor access financial services

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A staff member from the Viet Nam Bank for Social Policies helps people use the financial education app. — VNS Photo

Financial education has helped poor households and policy beneficiaries access and use financial products and services, thus promoting comprehensive finance, attendees heard at a conference held in Ha Noi on Tuesday.

In early 2019, the Viet Nam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) and Oxfam signed a co-operation agreement to study access to financial education of the poor and disadvantaged via mobile phones. The financial education for poor households and disadvantaged groups via mobile phones is a solution to inform customers about credit programmes, loan procedures and detailed products at banks, as well as basic knowledge on family financial management.

This study aimed to help customers improve financial understanding, capital efficiency, increase savings and manage family spending, becoming familiar with digital technology, especially customers in rural and remote areas. It also helps create equality and narrow the gap between urban and rural areas, between the poor and disadvantaged groups in society.

Financial education has indirectly supported the implementation of national target programmes on new rural construction, social security and sustainable poverty reduction.

VBSP co-operated with Oxfam to conduct a survey on the financial education needs of clients in three provinces of Hai Duong, Thanh Hoa and Quang Ngai. Survey results showed that over 80 per cent of interviewed customers were aware of financial education’s benefits for their families.

Based on survey results, the bank designed and tested financial education applications on mobile phones. The app is available on the iOS and CHPlay stores with a simple, easy to understand and easy to use interface, suitable for poor households and policy beneficiaries.

According to Nguyen Thanh Phuong Chi, VBSP’s Deputy Director of the International Co-operation and Communication Department, this application helps customers keep up with the implementation of e-Government and national public services. In addition, it is one of the transparent tools and solutions to protect customers’ interests.

Nguyen Thi Kieu Chinh, Vice Chairman of the Women's Union of Thuong Tin District, Ha Noi, said this application is easy to install with useful content. The app provides customers with knowledge of personal and household financial management, support business and production, helping women know how to calculate loans and bank savings.

Nguyen Thi Thu, a leader of the savings group in Duyen Thai Commune, Thuong Tin District, said: “The application has helped me and many other village members understand how to calculate interest rates, repayment schedules, savings deposits, thereby creating conditions for us to create own capital to get rich.”

Phan Cu Nhan, VBSP’s Director of the International Co-operation and Communication Department, said through more than 20 policy credit programmes, over 38 million poor households and policy beneficiaries have access to capital for economic development.

Policy credit capital has been invested in all communes, wards and towns nationwide; in which, priority is given to lending to ethnic minority groups or those in extremely difficult, remote and border areas. As of August 31, the total outstanding loans for social policy credit programmes reached VND221.5 trillion (US$9.56 billion), with over 6.5 million customers.

Nhan added one of the bank’s development goals is to diversify products and services, promote the application of modern technology in professional operations to promote a comprehensive financial strategy in Viet Nam.

Over the years, VBSP has taken necessary steps to enhance comprehensive financial development in the bank's customer community in particular and in Viet Nam in general, such as strengthen financial education for partners and customers. The bank’s products are always oriented towards customers’ convenience, enhancing customer rights assurance and applying digital finance in operations. — VNS

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