Big players out to score with new card

April 18, 2005 | 18:14
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Three big market players last week made a major pitch for business in Vietnam’s infant credit card market.

Plastic fantastic: credit card usage in Vietnam in growing

Vietcombank, Vietnam’s largest foreign trade bank, Vietnam Airlines, the country’s national carrier and American Express have teamed up to issue a credit card to tap into an emerging modern banking sector, considered to have high potential for credit card growth.
The Vietcombank Vietnam Airlines American Express Credit Card, to be more commonly known as the Golden Lotus credit card, is accepted on the American Express global merchant network.
Vu Viet Ngoan, chief executive of Vietcombank, the card issuer, said credit card users would now have more of a choice besides Visa, MasterCard, JCB and Diners Club, which all are currently available in Vietnam.
He said the local retail banking service market had great potential judging by the sharp growth rate of credit card holders since 1996 when commercial banks began trying to tap the banking service.
“We are confident the new card will meet the needs of travellers in every aspect,” he said, adding that the card held a number of privileges.
Card holders gain bonus points when they use the card to purchase air tickets with Vietnam Airlines or make transactions via the card and can redeem air tickets with airline points.
Phung Khac Ke, deputy governor of the State Bank of Vietnam said it was crucial for “Vietcombank’s strategy of cooperating with international card services, such as American Express, who have pioneered and played a significant role in the newly emerging card market in Vietnam.”
“The new joint-credit card is another vivid demonstration that the national banking sector is committed to maintaining the strategy of further diversifying products and services to improve payment culture in Vietnam,” he said.
According to financial experts, at present Vietnam still has one of the highest percentages of cash circulation in the world.
Hence, the modernisation of the payment system and development of an electronic money economy are two important targets and missions the banking industry of Vietnam has to do.
“The launch signifies an important milestone for American Express, our partners and consumers,” said Kula Kulendran, American Express General Manager and Head of Global Network Services for Japan, Asia-Pacific and Australia.
“We are committed to bringing more world-class products and services to consumers in Vietnam, which is in line with our strategy to increase our market presence by expanding the range of American Express branded cards in the Asia Pacific region,” he said.
Ke from the State Bank applauded the move, saying the support and assistance from international card services to further develop card products and services would help shape a modern banking service infrastructure for the purpose of national modernisation and industrialisation.

By Vu Long

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