Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup joins crowded e-wallet market

A total of 31 e-wallet players are vying for a piece of Vietnam’s fintech pie.

Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup has obtained a license to operate its e-wallet VinID from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), joining the country’s extremely crowded e-wallet market, where a total of 31 players have been issued such a license to date. VinID’s license is effective until 2027.

VinID was launched in 2018 by Vingroup and initially was just a loyalty program for customers. In March, VinID acquired the e-wallet MonPay created by local firm People Care JSC, setting off Vin ID’s transformation into an app with full e-wallet functions.

The e-wallet market in Vietnam is extremely crowded with no clear winner. The two front runners appear to be Momo, a well-funded provider which bagged USD 100 million from Warburg Pincus in January; and Moca, which has been growing alongside Grab’s steady expansion in Vietnam since the two formed a partnership in September 2018.

Recently, Vietnam payment company VNPAY reportedly also bagged a record amount of USD 300 million in funding from SoftBank and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.

Besides VinID’s acquisition of MonPay, the Vietnamese e-wallet market has also seen some other merger and acquisition activities as competition grows, including Thailand’s Ascend Money acquiring 1Pay and e-wallets Vimo and mPOS merging to form NextPay by NextTech Group.

At a recent fintech event, Nghiem Thanh Son, the deputy director of the Payment Department under SBV, said that foreign investors currently hold majority stakes in Vietnam’s five leading fintech players. SBV is drafting up regulations to cap foreign ownership of fintech payment companies at a maximum of 30% or 49%.

Most of the country’s transactions are still cash-based. There are currently an estimated 4.2 million authenticated e-wallet users, a small fraction of the country’s nearly 100 million people, leaving plenty of opportunities for players.