Banks have much room for growth in Vietnam: Nielsen

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Banks in Vietnam have ample opportunity for growth as the number of local consumers using banks is still relatively low, according to a new Nielsen report.

Consumers are aware of basic banking services but the number of people actually using them is limited, the new edition of the Nielsen Vietnam Personal Finance Monitor said. Just 31 percent use an ATM/debit card, while credit card services are used by just 1 percent of Vietnamese consumers.

More than one-third of respondents said they did not see a need for credit cards, while 19 percent were not knowledgeable about how they work, the report added.

Despite the fairly cloudy economic environment, Vietnamese continue to try to save money, whether for their own security, their children's education or for the future, Nielsen said. The company, however, pointed out that only 12 percent use banks for deposit accounts.

Effective marketing and advertising can help overcome perceptions such as bank procedures are lengthy and the financial information required was onerous to obtain, Nielsen said. "Those banks that focus on telling consumers how they are different from others, or dispel some of the myths about doing business with them will likely break through."

The report also said another area of growth potential is the rural market. "More than two-thirds of Vietnamese live outside of major cities, and while the income levels are currently well below those of urban denizens, the growth levels are actually very similar," it said.

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