Digital Banking: Fee-free and Convenient Experience

10:09:03 AM | 7/11/2022

Mr. Jonas Eichhorst, Board Director and Chief Financial Officer, Timo Digital Bank, gives an interview with our reporter regarding digital banking development in Vietnam. Lan Anh reports.

Digital services, including digital banking, have developed very strongly in recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Compared to conventional banking, how is digital banking better for customers?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed customer habits to noncash, a facilitator for digital service development. In particular, digital banking has delivered completely new experiences in financial management and helped customers make loans easily.

Moreover, conventional operations require a lot of expenses and often tend to ignore low-income customers or youngsters, students and new graduates who do not have a high income. I believe that all Vietnamese people should have access to free banking services and have the opportunity to integrate more deeply into the formal economy. No-fee digital banking services, led by Timo, have helped reduce barriers by simplifying transaction procedures, connecting and linking payment methods conveniently and managing transactions more quickly. To achieve these goals, one of the most important things we need to do is to change customer habits and behaviors and scale up their accessibility to basic banking services. This means that digital banks will have to develop and apply cutting-edge technologies to serve a large volume of customers at a low cost.

Although there are many benefits, it seems that digital banking has not developed as expected in Vietnam. For you, what are the causes, and what are the solutions to handle this?

Currently, facilities such as the banking system or technology platforms are being rapidly developed in emerging markets to catch up with the world's pace.

Major barriers to digital banks include regulatory framework, risk management, capital adequacy and system upgrading. But above all, the highest barrier to digital banks is how to build customer trust, and soon adapt to new payment forms such as e-wallets, debit cards and credit cards for customers to manage their personal finance and enjoy a better life. Then, customers can confidently choose to use our banking products and services. In addition to providing perfect and up-to-date financial products and services, we must really understand the market, customers' needs and expectations, and most importantly identify problems they face every day. Then, digital banks can offer products that make their life easier and more convenient.

What do you think about competitiveness and room for digital banking development in Vietnam in the near future?

Given fundamental factors such as a young, dynamic and tech-savvy population and a fairly open economy that has made a strong increase in the middle class in recent years, Vietnam is seen as a "promising land" for digital banking development. I think that the digital banking and finance sector in Vietnam will still have a lot of opportunities for development in the near term if we can reach customers who do not have a bank account or upgrade service experiences to match their personalized needs to create newness and breakthrough.

Additionally, COVID-19 has helped accelerate digital transformation at banks faster than ever before. The presence of more and more competitors in digital banking has resulted in extremely fierce competition and at the same time generated a driving force to upgrade the digital ecosystem. Technology in general or fintech in particular requires ongoing research, upgrading and improvement. The more companies enter this field, the more likely it is to make technological breakthroughs. Moreover, having more competitors will help digital banks reach and shape markets and customers more effectively. Strong competitive pressures have enhanced the role and importance of customers, prompting digital banks to focus more on customer satisfaction and trust to encourage them to confidently use digital financial products or services.

Timo is among the first digital banks in Vietnam with diverse and flexible services. Could you tell us about some of Timo's products and services appreciated by customers, as well as its development plans in the near future?

As a pioneering digital bank in Vietnam, Timo always develops on its most basic and core principles to create "one application for all financial needs" to meet customer requirements quickly, conveniently, and completely free of charge and solve their daily problems.

Currently, Timo is constantly developing and delivering many products and services to customers, enabling them to plan and manage their expenses conveniently and quickly with smart management tools like Money Pot - a feature that helps customers break down their total income into "spending jars" for different purposes such as dining, traveling, food and shopping. By doing so, they can easily balance their spending in a reasonable way. In addition, Timo provides smart automatic income and expenditure reporting tools, assisting customers in recording, tracking and managing expenses. With these features, Timo hopes to create an easy financial management method for customers to keep, save and invest for the future.

Furthermore, we also focus on improving service quality and customer satisfaction - factors that make Timo different from competitors in the market. With our growth target this year, we aim to reach out to more customers, increase coverage, and deliver more integrated experiences through our diverse partner ecosystems, both financial and non-financial. Timo will also focus on building a core banking system to capably serve a large number of customers.

Timo's goals are not only to become an effective financial assistant for all financial needs and help customers have an easier, more active, convenient and happier life. We also hope to become an advisor to help them manage their finances more effectively every day and contribute to prosperous and sustainable social development.

By Lan Anh, Vietnam Business Forum