Vietnam plans to allow banks to collect more fees from customers for using automated teller machines, saying the new income will help lenders cover costs and thus increase the availability of card services.
According to a draft circular made public by the central bank late last week, commercial lenders in Vietnam will be given permission to start charging VND1,000 for every cash withdrawal by their own clients next March, local media reported. The fee will be raised gradually, to VND3,000 in 2015.
Banks will also be allowed to earn money from other services, including balance check printouts.
Currently, lenders only collect these fees from card owners of other banks.
Banks in Vietnam have been seeking approval to raise ATM fees, saying they need more money to offset losses caused by the services.
Card users and experts have protested such a move, with the latter suggesting that banks are actually making profits from ATM services through various kinds of fees imposed on their fast growing customer base. Among the fees that banks charge their card clients are a one-time issuance fee of VND50,000-100,000 and an annual membership fee of VND50,000.
After blocking earlier attempts by banks to raise the fees, now the central bank is moving in favor of the lenders.
It said the new circular will balance the benefits of banks and their clients. The fees will give banks incentive to keep investing in card services, which will promote non-cash payments in Vietnam, the central bank said.
According to the State Bank of Vietnam, commercial banks in Vietnam had issued nearly 38 million cards as of the end of June.
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