Can you shed some light on American Express's expansion strategy in Vietnam?
Jain: As one of the fastest-rising economies of Southeast Asia, Vietnam has the potential for high adoption of e-payments with the proliferation of digital wallets, QR code solutions, and debit and credit cards.
Vietnam, therefore, is a market of strategic importance for American Express. It is a rapidly evolving domestic payments market, and it is a popular destination for our global card members to visit for work and leisure.
American Express has been in Vietnam for 21 years and we are eager to play an increasing role in Vietnam’s journey towards a cashless society. Our strategy is to invest strategically with our bank partners to grow our merchant acceptance and to provide consumers with more credit card options that not only offer exclusive global benefits from American Express but also provide features and benefits that are relevant to the market.
Why are VIB and American Express cooperating on this launch?
Jain: We believe in partnerships with banks that are a good strategic fit for the American Express network. The partnership with VIB allows us to expand our presence and reach more card members in Vietnam, bringing them access to our global network and benefits while driving more volume to our network. Our latest cashback product, the VIB Super American Express Card, is one such innovative offering and we are excited about its potential in the market.
Nguyen: Cooperating with American Express to launch the first white card line is an opportunity for VIB to reaffirm its position in the card trend.
The card line is expected to bring world-class shopping, dining, and travel facilities to users. In the spirit of customer-centricity and the application of modern technology to products and services, we want to elevate the spending style of Vietnamese people. With Super Card, users will not only enjoy attractive incentives but, above all, they will feel their ownership of every smallest feature of the card.
With the launch of Super Card, which customer segment is VIB targeting?
Nguyen: We target customers who are modern citizens of the digital economy and love technology. They are constantly looking for and expressing their ego and their rights to control all aspects of life. These customers make spending via credit cards regularly and prefer highly personalised products and services.
What are the strengths that help Super Card compete with other credit card products on the market?
Nguyen: Super Card is not only the first white card line, but is also the continuation of VIB's high-tech products that will facilitate cashless payment. The card converges the advantages and the customer-centric spirit. It also provides high-quality and sophisticated services that are differentiated from others available in the market.
With this line of cards, we strive to allow our customers the freedom and flexibility to choose card features based on their individual needs and preferences.
The biggest benefit that I think Vietnamese consumers will respond to is the feature to accumulate points or refund up to 15 per cent, up to VND1 million ($42) per statement period when paying for food, shopping, travelling, making online transactions, or spending abroad. We want to offer our customers outstanding incentives so that they can save their money as much as possible even when they make payments for quality services.
Meanwhile, Super Card cardholders have the full right to choose the last five digits of the card, and actively manage their finances by deciding the statement date and the minimum payment amount each period. Along with that, VIB's technological advantages will help customers experience the 100 per cent digitalisation process from registering, and approving to using Super Card within 30 minutes.
With such outstanding features, how does VIB set expectations for this white card line?
Nguyen: VIB Super Card is a long step in VIB's journey to conquer customers. The introduction will entirely change the pattern of providing traditional banking and financial products. That will shift from selling what banks have, to providing the service customers need according to their demands.
This is a leap in VIB's strategy of personalising the customer experience and the Vietnamese banking market in general, when bringing all the practical needs of each cardholder into specific product features.
With the launch of this product, we expect that VIB and its credit card lines will always be the first choice of Vietnamese customers when they think about personal finance solutions and card payment solutions. We expect that in the next 3-5 years, VIB will become the main transaction bank of Vietnamese users.
How has the network of accepting American Express cards expanded in Vietnam so far?
Jain: Growing our merchant acceptance of American Express Cards in Vietnam and around the world is a top priority so that our card members are warmly welcomed and feel encouraged to spend in the millions of places where their American Express cards are accepted.
We operate a payments network through which we establish and maintain relationships with 190+ issuing and acquiring partners in about 198 countries and territories to extend the reach of our global network.
In Vietnam, we now acquire merchants through three large acquirers and are increasingly present in all relevant locations.
What has VIB achieved with its card development strategy over the years?
Nguyen: Credit cards are one of VIB's core businesses, besides home loans, auto loans, business loans, and bancassurance.
The line of credit cards that we have designed are personalised, apply modern technology, and meet most of life's needs, including travel, shopping, online transactions, family spending, instalments, and refuelling.
In Vietnam, VIB is among the top banks in card growth rate and spending indicators on cards for many consecutive years. By the end of 2022, VIB recorded the number of issued credit cards exceeding half a million, 5.5 times higher than that seen in 2019. Total spending of Vietnamese through VIB credit cards grew by 8.5 times, from VND700 billion ($30 million) a month in 2019, to VND6 trillion ($2.7 billion) a month in 2022.
This result is thanks to the strategy of continuously enhancing outstanding incentives for users, digitalising the card payment experience, and applying modern technology to credit card products that VIB has been implementing since 2019.
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