Banks again urge telecoms operators to cut SMS fees

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Telecoms operators still have not cut charges for SMS services in banking, even though the banks have proposed reductions several times.

The Vietnam Banks Association has proposed for the fourth time since last year that the Ministry of Information and Communications makes moves to lower the charges.

The association said that the banking sector had reduced customer support fees in order to effectively implement the Government’s direction on tasks and solutions to remove difficulties for production and business and promote the disbursement of public investment and ensure social order during the pandemic.

However, the banking sector had not been supported by partners to reduce fees, it said.

It said that the SMS charges which telecommunications businesses were applying to banks were 2-3 times higher than those for individuals.

Accordingly, MobiFone and VinaPhone were charging 820 VND (0.035 USD) per SMS for financial transactions and 500 VND for ads and customer care messages.

Viettel’s fee was 785 VND per SMS for financial transactions and 500 VND for others.

Meanwhile, charges for SMS between individuals were around 250-300 VND each.

The association added that the current SMS charges were too high, adding it was necessary to lower them to encourage the use of cashless payments.

The association said that SMS banking fees collected by banks were currently low and only collected once per month, ranging from 5,500 VND to 11,000 VND per month.

Many banks were adopting free policies to increase technology utilities for customers and accelerate the conversion to online transactions, it said.

Each money transfer or payment transaction needs to send at least two messages to customers.

Each customer has 15-20 transactions per month on average, equivalent to 25-30 messages per month, worth about 20,000-25,000 VND per month.

Can Van Luc, chief economist of BIDV, estimated banks had to pay several hundred of billion of Vietnamese dong of SMS fees each year for telecommunications operators.

Specifically, the value is estimated at about 400 billion VND at BIDV, 200 billion VND at VietinBank, 300 billion VND at Agribank and 400 billion VND at VCB.

Source: Vietnam News Agency