Digital content firms worry as telcos stop payments via scratch cards

May 10, 2018 | 09:22 am GMT+7

Network operators have announced the suspension of online payments via scratch cards, causing concern among digital content and online game firms.


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Digital content firms worry as telcos stop payment via scratch cards

On April 22, VinaPhone suspended the use of scratch cards to make online payments from digital content and online game firms.

On the same day, Viettel also did the same, saying that it needs to check services to ensure transparent business and observation of the laws.

MobiFone is reportedly also drawing up a similar plan and is expected to make an announcement in several days.

The moves by network operators have surprised digital content and online game firms. 

Nguyen Thanh Hung, director of VTC Intecom, said that state management agencies, not mobile network operators, should take action to tighten management over the service.

The service suspension will give opportunities to In-App Purchases at Apple Store and Google Play. 

Meanwhile, users will have to pay more for the service because app stores charge higher fees than do Vietnam’s network operators (30 percent vs 15 percent). 

This will also give more favorable conditions to cross-border services to develop and make it more difficult for the state to control the services.

Pham Quoc Thang, CEO of CMN Online, said he cannot understand why network operators stopped the service. He believes the state will only prohibit the payment method once it has an alternative solution for payment methods for internet services and online games.
Thang commented that mobile network operators were being ‘unfaithful’ to partners by unilaterally making such a decision, adding that any new policy needs to be implemented in accordance with roadmaps so that businesses have time to adapt to new circumstances.

Businesses will have to cut the workforce and operation costs, while some of them may have to be dissolved immediately.

In current conditions, businesses will have to strengthen connections with banks or businesses issuing game cards. However, businesses issuing game cards are also facing difficulties because of the decision.

The problem is that the majority of customers buy services with scratch cards. They find it inconvenient to use other payment methods, such as payment via banks.

If clients choose to make payments via foreign app stores, the money will go to the pockets of foreign service providers.

A senior executive of an online game firm estimates that the firms’ revenue may fall by 50-60 percent. Some firms have already begun to reduce personnel.