Banks raise service fees
Source http://english.thesaigontimes.vn - A number of banks have recently revised up their service charges, which have led to their earnings rising substantially but upset banking service users, even though the increasing amount per transaction is small, according to Thanh Nien newspaper.
Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) has increased Mobile Bankplus service fee. In addition to a monthly fee of VND10,000 excluding value added tax, customers have to pay VND2,000 for each transaction worth less than VND50 million and VND5,000 for a transaction of more than VND50 million.
From April 15, the fee for an inter-bank transaction of below VND10 million will be VND7,000 and when the amount is more than VND10 million, Vietcombank will charge 0.02% of the total amount.
The bank had earlier announced to offer free money transfer service among Vietcombank account holders and collect VND11,000 for each inter-bank transaction. Many other banks such as Sacombank, Eximbank and TPBank have also adjusted up their service fees since January.
According to the State Bank of Vietnam, the last quarter of last year saw more than 206 million transactions worth VND563.2 trillion. Should clients pay a transaction fee of VND3,000 banks could have obtained VND600 billion in the quarter.
In addition, banks earn huge profits from those accounts opened for settlement valued at VND35.5 billion of 132 million users, as such deposits carry extremely low interest rates.
Many customers have complained that despite the increasing fees, the quality of banking services has remained unchanged. Thanh Nien newspaper referred to the case of a customer who wanted to transfer VND5.6 million from his Agribank account to a Vietcombank account but his transaction could not be conducted although he paid a fee of VND8,800.
Another customer in Tan Binh District, HCMC also had difficulty transferring money to another account of the same bank as hers.
In addition to raising fees, banks have monthly charged numerous other fees including VND30,000-50,000 for balance, VND2,000-5,000 for account management, VND100,000 for internet and mobile banking services, and VND20,000-50,000 for the closure of a less-than-12-month account, among other fees. Banking service users also have to monthly pay VND8,800-11,000 for SMS banking services.
In addition, it costs VND1,100-3,300 to withdraw cash from automated teller machines (ATMs) and VND3,300-11,000 to transfer money via ATMs.
Experts suggested banks should improve the quality of services rather than increasing service fees. Online banking services should be also further developed to facilitate customers and cut numerous costs.