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Banks set up shared ATM service   2008-05-25 - VNS

Banknetvn and Smartlink, the two largest financial networking alliances, joined together yesterday with partner banks Vietcombank, Agribank, BIDV, Vietinbank and Techcombank to create a common ATM service network.

This allows card holders of one bank to use the ATMs of the other banks.

These five banks have so far set up 3,614 ATMs, or 64 per cent of existing ATMs on local market; and have issued 8.6 million bank cards, accounting for 80 per cent of cards nation wide.

In principle, the bank that issued the customer’s card will have to pay transaction fees when a customer uses another bank’s ATM. Whether or not issuers will charge fees to the bank accounts of customers will depend on each issuer’s policy.

On the bank card market, issuers charge clients about VND500-3,000 for each transaction.

"I think consumers should change their mind about costs for their convenience. We should have to pay money to service providers," said Nguyen Tu Anh, general director of Smartlink.

"Smartlink and Banknetvn were joint stock companies, not State- owned companies; they worked for a profit so they obviously charged a fee," said a central bank official.

"I think if the big banks connect successfully, other banks will connect to Banknetvn-Smartlink easily," said Bui Quang Tien, Director of the Payment Board of the State Bank of Viet Nam.

Leaders of Banknetvn and Smartlink announced that by the end of September, they would connect all their members into a single Banknetvn-Smartlink network.

Banknetvn currently has 17 bank members, including Agribank, Vietinbank, BIDV, Sacombank, Saigon Bank, ACB, DongA Bank, GP Bank, Mekong Housing Bank, Habubank, ABBank, Western Bank and HSBC.

Smartlink similarly has 17 bank members, including Vietcombank, Military Bank, Techcombank, VP Bank, ACB, Maritime Bank, Habubank, Oriental Bank, Sai Gon - Ha Noi Bank, ABBank, Indovina Bank, Eximbank, Navibank, Southern Bank, Ocean Bank, Sihanvina Bank, and SCB.

By the end of September, over 30 banks, accounting for over 90 per cent of the bank card market, will be able to use each other’s ATMs nation-wide.

Currently, many ATMs do not accept ATM cards from other banks, causing inconvenience for card-holders.

Techcombank, HSBC

HSBC and joint-stock Techcombank have linked their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) networks to bring greater convenience to retail banking customers.

Currently, Techcombank has 260 ATMs around the country and HSBC has 57.

The two banks plan to increase their shared network to 450 by the year-end.

Over the next three years, HSBC will invest more than US$28 million to expand its self-service banking facilities in Viet Nam, including multi-functional ATMs that can take cash deposits.

With the ATM linkage, customers of both banks in Viet Nam who hold credit cards, deposit and current accounts will be able to withdraw cash and check their bank balances and latest transactions at the banks’ ATMs with ease and free of charge.

Nguyen Duc Vinh, president and CEO of Techcombank, said: "This ATM linkage agreement validates our efforts in expanding our ATM network, not only with domestic but also international ATM card alliances. We believe that this agreement with a major international bank such as HSBC is the first of many to come that will provide added convenience and accessibility to our customers in the banking sector."

HSBC launched its credit cards in March and the shared ATM network demonstrates its commitment to expand within Vietnam’s retail banking sector, according to Thomas Tobin, president and CEO of HSBC Vietnam. HSBC was the first bank to introduce ATMs in Viet Nam in 1996.

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