Vietnam’s authorities made the final preparations for a full-scale trial of mobile money services, with operators Viettel, Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) and MobiFone ready to apply for long-awaited licences, VietnamNet reported.

Proposals are awaiting the rubber-stamp from the country’s prime minister after the governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, Le Minh Hung, submitted the central bank’s final proposal on 9 May.

In separate statements to VietnamNet, executives from all three operators confirmed they were set to submit paperwork to begin services as soon as the final go-ahead was given.

A pilot of operator-led mobile money services had been in the works for more than a year, with the operators cleared in April 2019 to trial infrastructure and pave the way for commercial services.

Progress towards full availability was pushed again by authorities in early March, with mobile money being cited as a measure which would help businesses cope with the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Politicians have also cited mobile money’s potential to increase financial inclusion and further reduce the number of cash payments made in the country. At end-2019, cash payments made-up less than 12 per cent of all transactions in Vietnam, Ministry of Information and  Communications data showed.