Digital wallets are an important tool for the development of e-commerce and fintech industries. The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has issued certain regulations on digitial wallets. However, these regulations seem to be inadequate.
Under Decree 101/2012, a digital wallet is regarded as a payment intermediary service (dịch vụ trung gian thanh toán) whereby the wallet user is issued a digital account associated with an electronic media (e.g., a mobile phone) and containing a monetary value. The monetary value in a digital wallet is secured by monies transferred from the user’s bank account to the wallet service provider’s account. User can only inject and withdraw cash from a digital wallet through the user’s account. Monies in the wallet service provider’s account can only be used to pay for goods or service providers or to return to the wallet user. The Law on Anti-money Laundering 2012 requires a digital wallet service provider as a financial institution with new technology to meet face-to-face with its clients when the clients first make a transaction with the service provider.
In light of the above regulations,
- An user without a bank account cannot have a digital wallet in Vietnam. This could hinder the growth of digital wallet.
- Direct money transfers between two digital wallets are not permitted. In practice, the SBV is allowing certain digital wallets to conduct direct monies transfer on a pilot basis.
- An user cannot withdraw cash or inject cash directly to his/her digital wallet. This must be done via a bank account.
- Monies in a digital wallet may not be used as security for lending.
- A digital wallet provider is required to meet face to face with its customer whenever a wallet is issued.
5 September 2018 - Update to reflect the requirements under Anti-money laundering regulations.