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Ho Chi Minh City’s grand old wet market goes cashless

T.C. Seow | June 23, 2014
The iconic Ben Thanh market now accepts mobile Point-of-Sale payments through a system introduced by Mastercard and Sacombank of Vietnam.

Don't have enough cash to buy that item you want at Ho Chi Minh City's Ben Thanh market? Now you can exercise your credit card through a new mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) payment system from MasterCard and Sacombank, who both have announced a partnership to equip small merchants at the Ben Thanh market with mPOS terminals.

As a result of this partnership, the Ben Thanh market has become the first wet market in Vietnam to accept electronic payments. Just a month after the initial launch of mPOS with Sacombank, around 300 of such terminals have been deployed at Ben Thanh market and with insurance companies.

According to Arn Vogels, country manager for Indochina, MasterCard, the collaboration with Sacombank extends the benefits of electronic payments to both merchants and consumers. He said: "Merchants who were previously unable to accept card payments now can use their own mobile phones as point-of-sale terminals to process card transactions, embedding them more firmly in the financial system. Meanwhile consumers who previously might have only carried cash now have more reasons to be banked and adopting electronic payments."

The mPOS device is a compact card reader that can be plugged into smartphones and tablets, and functions as a card acceptance terminal over 3G or Wi-Fi connection. To make payment, the card is inserted or swiped on the reader, followed by keying in the transaction amount. To complete the transaction, the cardholder signs on the phone screen and a receipt will be sent to the cardholder by email and SMS upon the completion of each transaction.

According to Mastercard, payments made via mPOS are as safe and secure as those made via the traditional POS as data is encrypted according to the highest industry security standards.

Mobile devices are rapidly transforming the payments experience, particularly at the point of sale, and not just for consumers but for merchants as well. Merchants, including door-to-door sales people and street vendors that have never accepted card payments are turning to mPOS solutions that help expand their customer base and sales.

It also benefits businesses which are inherently mobile in nature (such as insurance agents and food delivery) as well as small businesses, due to the lower cost of acceptance and also because it enables them to offer the convenience and security of electronic payments to their customers.

"The State Bank of Vietnam has set the goal of increasing the number of POS terminals to 250,000 by 2015 and mPOS technology can help achieve this. MasterCard has and will continue to collaborate with banks and the government to deliver on this goal," added Vogels.


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