The National Electronic Certification Centre, under the Ministry of Information and Communications, and the Vietnam Banks Association (VBA) jointly held a conference on October 17 about the role of personal digital signatures in electronic payment transactions and the challenges ahead.
Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Huy Dung said that the Party and the Vietnamese government identify three pillars of national digital transformation, namely digital government, digital economy and digital society, with none being possible without digital citizenship.
|Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Huy Dung making his speech at the conference
To form a digital citizen, a digital society needs each household to have fibre optic broadband and each person to have a smartphone, an electronic identity, and an account.
Digital payments rely on an online public service account, network security software, the basic skills to use services in the digital environment, and finally, a personal digital signature.
"Personal digital signatures are the final piece to complete a basic version of digital citizenship in the online environment," Dung emphasised.
At the event, participants also discussed the challenges relating to implementing digital signatures. Nguyen Quoc Hung, vice chairman of the VBA said, "Currently, only about 5 per cent of customers are using digital signatures when making transactions. This feature is mainly used in internal bank or business transactions, and is not widely applied to individual users."
|Experts joined the discussion at the event
He admitted that applying digital signatures to banking transactions, including numerous low-value transactions, could overload the system and affect service quality. Therefore, fast processing speeds are a must.
Nguyen Thi Phuong, vice head of the Legal Club under the VBA, added that there are many obstacles to using digital signatures for users at banks, such as cost, convenience, and trust.
"It is not easy for banks to convince individual customers to use digital signatures," she said.
To resolve the related problems and not cause disruptions when the Law on Electronic Transactions takes effect in July next year, experts proposed that the relevant agencies should soon issue detailed regulations and guidance on the Law's content.
This should include the specific technical conditions needed to be granted a specialised electronic signature certificate to ensure safety and further clarification on the legal value of digital signatures, among others.
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As a toolkit supporting online transactions, including e-financial transactions, digital signatures have been essential in the digitisation strategy of the banking sector. Even though the legality of digital signatures has been recognised by Vietnamese laws, some risks and obstacles still undermine their use.