The e-wallets include well known names such as Momo, Ngan Luong, VTC Pay and Payoo. A report from the State Bank showed that by the end of September 2016 more than 3 million e-wallets had been issued.
Meanwhile, e-wallet service providers estimate that the number of e-wallet users in Vietnam is up to 10 million.
The big difference in the number of users provided by the state management agency and service providers shows how difficult it is to find customers in Vietnam.
Nguyen Thanh Hung, chair of the Vietnam E-commerce Association (Vecom), commented that e-wallets have been booming in the last five years, but the number of e-wallets with regular users is modest.
Nguyen Hoa Binh, president of NextTech Group, the owner of Ngan Luong wallet, said only a few companies operate effectively and can make profit with their niche markets.
Meanwhile, the majority of other service providers are meeting difficulties because they cannot attract customers.
Analysts said that since their establishment, the providers have been ‘living on investors’ money’.
Thu Thuy in Hanoi said she doesn’t bring cash when going shopping. However, she doesn’t use an e-wallet but uses bank cards to make payments. She goes to shops and cafes with POS (point of sale) where she can use ATM (auto telling machine) cards or credit cards.
Being a bank officer, Thuy said she knows about e-wallets. The biggest disadvantage is that each e-wallet is accepted only at some shopping points, she said.
No e-wallet service is dominating the market. Most of them just accept payments within their systems.
Pham Anh Tuan from Vietcombank also said the lack of connection among e-wallets causes inconvenience to users, which is a barrier to the development of this mode of payment.
Mentioning Alipay in China, Tuan said the e-wallet has more than 600 million users because it is created by Alibaba, an e-commerce group with large trading floors – Alibaba and Taobao.
However, Tuan said that, technologically, it is not difficult to connect e-wallets.
Besides the problems in connection, experts said the modest number of bank account users is also a reason behind the hesitancy in using the modern payment method.
In related news, Vimo e-wallet announced it has become the first payment intermediary allowing Chinese travelers to use Wechat Pay in Vietnam dong at shops accepting Vimo.