Electronic payments for online transactions remained modest compared with cash-on-delivery payments, according to a recent report of the Ministry of Industry and Trade on e-commerce in Vietnam.

In spite of this, the e-commerce payment system is an important base for the development of e-commerce, which has great potential in Vietnam, ministry officials stressed.

According to the report, e-payments for online orders accounted for a mere 19 percent of transactions using the 72 million ATM cards in circulation in the country.

Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh attributed the low percentage to consumers' skepticism over the quality of products being sold online.

A survey of the E-commerce and Information Technology Agency on online shopping showed that 77 percent of consumers viewed the quality of products introduced on websites as lacking. Exactly 38 percent of respondents described delivery services as poor and 20 percent believed online prices were not competitive.

According to Nguyen Phat Vinh Loi, head of Banknet.vn's HCM City office, only 50 percent of 72 million ATM cards in circulation were being used and of these, only about three million ATM cards were registered for online banking transactions.

He said the systems for electronic payment and e-commerce remained risky and made consumers feel insecure.

Pham Tien Dung, chairman of Banknet.vn, said numerous cards, including ATM cards, were currently not widely accepted. In addition, when problems occur during the payment process, customers might find it difficult to find someone who can solve their problem.

According to Bui Quang Tien, director of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) payment department, electronic payment methods must be diversified along with the development of traditional payment methods to support the development of e-commerce in Vietnam.

Experts said e-commerce had a great potential for development in Vietnam because of the growing demand for online shopping. Figures showed that online retail turnover in 2013 reached 2.2 billion USD and was expected to reach 4 billion USD next year and double digits in 2020.

Recently, the SBV established an interbank electronic payment system, connecting 66 members under the SBV and 463 branches of 94 credit institutions, to meet growing payment demand and create conditions for the development of e-commerce.

Companies said electronic payment via mobile phones should also be given attention as the number of smartphone users was rapidly increasing.

Last August, the SBV allowed the top five banks to implement mobile points of sale (mPOS), which would be more convenient to customers.

Under the Government's 2011-15 non-cash payment development plan, cash payments will be cut from 14 percent of all transations in Vietnam in 2011 to less than 11 percent by the end of 2015.

The plan also focused on the development of card payments services, with the aim of developing 250,000 points of sale (POS) which would accept about 200 million card payments per year by 2015.-VNA