Enterprises that charge for using payment cards will be punished, Bui Quang Tien, Director of the Payment Department at the State Bank of Vietnam, told Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times).

* In some supermarkets, customers have to pay an additional charge for using payment cards. Does that violate the law?

As we all know, card payments help enterprises save labour, particularly on the part of the cashier and accountants. As a result, SBV ordered all enterprises using payment cards to debit two per cent of sales revenue to pay for Point of Sale (POS) machines and the accompanying technology.

The enterprises are the users of the machines, so they have to pay for them. Some shop owners have transferred the two per cent fee to their customers; however, this is illegal. If any enterprise is detected doing so, it will be fined heavily.

* Payment cards service companies report facing many difficulties installing the POS machines in shops and supermarkets. They say that sometimes they have to beg shop owners to let them install the machine. Does SBV know about that?

In foreign countries, all restaurants or shops are legally obliged to install POS machines. However, that does not mean cash payment does not exist. It accounts for about 10 per cent of the total payment, while in our country, the ratio is 12 percent.

In other words, card payment makes cash flow quick, convenient and safe. And at the same time, it enables the Tax Office to perform their duties more effectively.

All in all, I just want to say that awareness on the part of consumers and service providers including government agencies, the harmonisation of the government's policies and good IT infrastructure are important factors that will encourage people to use payment cards.

In our country, the bank has invested money in building infrastructure and issuing cards, yet shops, supermarkets and entertainment centres refuse to install POS machines. Therefore, the investment is meaningless.

* In some other countries, enterprises with POS machines enjoy corporate tax reductions. Do you think this is a good idea?

I think that's a good idea for the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to think about.

In the Republic of Korea, for example, the number of POS machines increased rapidly due to tax reductions. On October 29, we had a meeting with MoF to discuss ways to increase the use of payment cards in shops, restaurants and other places.

* Does SBV have any measures in the works to increase the installment of POS machines?

Vietcombank happened to be the first bank to use the devices. However, only those with Vietcombank cards could use them.

By 2008, the BSV organised a meeting of all banks operating in the country to sit together and discuss the issue. Finally, they agreed to work together and use the same technology.

However, in the near future we'll introduce a new POS generation using cloud computing technology. I'm confident that with the advanced technology of cloud computing and the widespread use of the internet, more people will use payment cards.-VNA