The information technology infrastructure in the Vietnamese banking sector should be updated due to the rapid development of technology.

Nguyen Minh Hong, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Information and Communications, stated this at the Banking Vietnam 2014 in Hanoi on May 21.

He said that the banking industry also needed to focus on information safety and security in the financial system. At the moment, the ministry is completing a law on information safety for submission to the government and is updating a list of criteria for allowing digital signature.

Speaking at the conference, Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh, Director of Banking Strategy under the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), referred to three achievements in applying science and technology in the banking industry after nearly 30 years of economic development.

First, Vietnam has established a national advanced payment system with the electronic trans-bank payment system as a nuclear unit. Second, core banking systems have become popular in Vietnamese banks. Third, many banks have achieved their international safety standards such as ISO 27001:2005 on building an information security management system and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

In order to improve the IT infrastructure in the sector, Thanh suggested selection of appropriate technology and boosting of internet banking to gradually replace bank branches.

Kaleem Chaudhry, Oracle's senior director of sales consulting in ASEAN, said that the transformation and evolution in technology increased the best experiences for customers. He said banks needed to manage life cycles with eight steps (need, research, select, purchase, receive, use, maintain and recommend), not transactions.

According to Oracle's statistics, 19 percent of the customers use electronic payments, 25 percent do online retail transactions and 35 percent access accounts through bank branches.

Fifty-one percent of them are content to remain with their primary bank over the next six months and 59 percent would change their banks if they could keep their current account number.

The statistics showed that 35 percent of the banks do not have social media for their sales channel and 35 percent don't have social media for customer service.

Chaudhry said that banks should make priorities about complying with regulatory requirements and provide better customer services.

At the conference, Pham Tien Dung, Chairman of Banknetvn's Board of Directors, said that the SBV would submit to the Prime Minister a project aimed at resolving five big issues. These include building a united switching centre, setting up automated clearing houses (ACH), building standards for domestic chip cards, constructing a common point of sale (POS) system and connecting with international switching card organisations.

According to Dung, transactions would be quicker and those with errors would be resolved faster once they are processed through one centre. The ACH system would include banks and service providers too.

Meanwhile, domestic chip cards would meet the demands of banks in Vietnam and be compatible with international standards. A change from magnetic strip cards to chip cards would develop added value services and allow for a standardised chip for the country.

Referring to the common POS, Dung said that it would help improve management and monitor transactions as well as bring cost efficiency and fair competition in banks. The connection with international switching card organisations would allow card owners to use domestic credit cards at automated teller machine (ATMs) in other countries and vice versa.

The annual event, organised by SBV and the International Data Group until May 22, aims at helping banks to update technology and share experiences on IT applications. The conference participants can also take part in an exhibition on new products and solutions by leading companies.-VNA