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Economy

Japan's Hitachi, SMBC launching e-money system in Vietnam

Pensioners would use cards to get monthly stipends from post offices

TOKYO -- Hitachi and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. of Japan as well as Vietnam Post in mid-April will begin offering an e-money pension payment system in the Southeast Asian nation.

Special smart cards will be issued to pension recipients, who can then use the plastic to automatically receive their monthly payments. The cards will be first handed to beneficiaries in the northern province of Hai Duong.

Hitachi has established the system, and SMBC will be responsible for managing the funds. Holders will be able to use the cards to pick up cash at Vietnam Post counters.

Currently, pensioners in Vietnam can receive direct deposits or cash at post office counters. Most go to a counter since only 30% or so of Vietnamese are believed to have bank accounts.

Plans are for the new cards to be rolled out across the country.

According to Hitachi, few countries offer this kind of system.

Hitachi is also getting to work building out a network of retailers and gas stations that will accept payments using the electronic money cards. It hopes the cards will be able to pull double duty by 2020, allowing holders to use the e-money cards when taking public transportation or shopping in stores.

The company aims to launch the system in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries as well.

(Nikkei)

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