Pandemic driving digital-first mindset around financial services in Vietnam

September 10, 2021 | 13:41
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The global health crisis is driving a digital-first mindset in Vietnam when it comes to opening banking accounts.
Pandemic driving digital-first mindset around financial services in Vietnam
Vietnamese people are turning to digital financial services amid the pandemic

A 2021 digital banking survey by Silicon Valley-based analytics company FICO shows that people in Vietnam expect a seamless banking experience when it comes to opening an account via a mobile app or website, with two in five expecting to answer 10 questions or less or they will abandon the process. One in six Vietnamese will drop out if asked more than five questions.

"The pandemic is driving a digital-first mindset in Vietnam with 63 per cent of consumers more likely to open an account digitally than a year ago," said Aashish Sharma, senior director of decision management solutions for FICO in the Asia-Pacific. "The number of consumers who prefer to open bank accounts digitally has grown to 44 per cent and continues to rise, which is significant in a country with a strong branch culture."

The survey revealed that consumer patience with account applications varied according to product. Vietnamese people had the highest expectations for completing applications in 10 questions or less for savings accounts (53 per cent), transaction accounts (51 per cent), and Buy Now Pay Later products (47 per cent).

Interestingly this expectation was significantly higher than other countries in the survey. For instance, just 41 per cent of UK consumers and 51 per cent of Australian consumers expected to answer 10 questions or less when opening a transaction account.

Overall Vietnamese consumers want digital experiences that reduce friction and inconvenience. They expect their main bank to know them, 70 per cent want to prove their identity online, and 25 per cent of Vietnamese say that financial institutions ask too many questions.

The survey showed that increased friction and security is deemed appropriate by consumers when it comes to applying and onboarding for specific high-value financial products.

Despite relatively high levels of ease and confidence in applying for day-to-day online financial products such as current accounts, savings, loans, and credit cards, more than half (61 per cent) of customers polled expect greater rigour when it comes to mortgage applications.

Research showed that just 31 per cent of Vietnamese would apply for a mortgage digitally, compared to the survey average of around one in three (34 per cent). In all countries bar the US and the UK, in-branch openings are preferred to online methods. South Africa was a modest outlier with 43 per cent of customers favouring online mortgage applications.

Over one in two Vietnamese polled (56 per cent) said they were willing to answer 11 to 20 or more questions when it came to applying online for a mortgage.

Vietnamese who open an account digitally prefer to carry out the process entirely in their chosen channel, whether it be smartphone or website. If customers are asked to move out of channel to prove their identities, many of them will abandon the application, either giving up on opening an account completely or by going to a competitor. Of those who do not immediately abandon, up to an additional 20 per cent will delay the process.

The survey found that any disruption matters. Asking people to scan and email documents or use a separate identity portal causes almost as much application abandonment as asking them to visit branches or mail in documents.


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