Vietnamese consumers have welcomed electronic card ownership and use, according to the results of a survey conducted by Visa.
The Payments and Cards Market in Vietnam study, releases on March 14, was carried out by TNS Vietnam for Visa.
Respondents, when asked what made them feel they were being smart with their money, credit cards came out on top at 53 percent, while debit cards and cash scored 38 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
Similarly, credit and debit cards registered as equal in terms of consumers feeling as if they were doing the "right thing" with their finances, according to the results of 1,200 interviews conducted in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.
Respondents felt as if they were living within their means, regardless of whether they were using credit or debit cards or cash.
"These results reflect a very positive outlook for the growth of electronic payments in this rapidly developing market. In an economy that is heavily reliant on cash, these figures are certainly encouraging," said LorijonBacchi, Visa country manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
The study also uncovered some interesting attitudes towards cash, which is currently the predominant payment method in Vietnam. Forty-two percent of respondents felt safe carrying credit cards, but only 20 percent felt safe carrying cash.
Around 19 percent indicated they felt vulnerable while carrying cash, and only 4 percent felt vulnerable carrying credit cards.
"It's noteworthy that the figures show consumers in Vietnam acknowledging the inherent disadvantages in relying on cash, with the majority of respondents indicating they felt vulnerable carrying physical money than payment cards. This study also revealed that Vietnamese consumers are becoming much more knowledgeable about card usage and financial management," added Bacchi.
"According to another research conducted by Moody's Analytics, electronic payments added 1.2 billion USD to the GDP of Vietnam between 2008 and 2012. Given that the TNS study points to significant potential for growth within electronic payments in the country, it appears that the time is certainly right to start transitioning the economy through the ‘non-cash decree' with a view to reduce the country's reliance on cash," she said.
There are still room for growth in card ownership and usage as only 4 percent of the population (in the four cities) own credit cards, but the rate for debit cards stands at 42 percent.
However, lack of knowledge about the benefits of credit cards and the procedure were the main barriers to signing up, according to the study.