International card-issuing organisations have asked Vietnamese banks to switch to chip cards that meet EMV standards to increase safety amidst a growing number of information thefts. Security experts have also warned Viet Nam’s delayed transition to chip technology could put the country at risk of becoming a haven for card criminals from around the world as it is among the dwindling number of countries where magnetic swipe cards are still prevalent.
As of the end of the third quarter, Viet Nam had about 93.78 million bank cards in circulation, with the majority magnetic strip cards with weak security features and easily hacked.
Commercial banks are in the process of switching over to the new cards because of their stronger security features. However, some banks say the switch faces multiple barriers. They will have to upgrade their technology and replace ATMs and POS terminals with newer ones compatible with chip cards.
According to banks, issuing a chip card can cost some US$1.50-2.50, meaning they will have to spend between $105 million and $175 million for the transition, in addition to the cost of upgrading ATMs and core banking systems to adapt to the change.
Besides ensuring greater payment security, the replacement is also among the central bank’s plans to promote non-cash payment methods. Under the Government’s strategy, by the end of 2025, at least 80 per cent of adults in Viet Nam are hoped to have bank accounts and the number of non-cash transactions will expand by 20-25 per cent annually. — VNS