Exploring the Market for ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Services in Vietnam

Vietnam boasts a relatively low ownership of credit cards, with only 5-6 percent of the population holding one. However, the nation’s expanding middle class and surging consumer demand are capturing the attention of fintech companies. They are introducing a diverse range of ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL) services to tap into this burgeoning middle segment of the market.

Vietnam’s Cross-Border Payments Infrastructure and ASEAN

There are 49 commercial banks in Vietnam, including 100 percent state-owned banks, commercial joint stock banks, 100 percent foreign-owned banks, banks for social policy, joint venture banks and cooperative banks and total of 45 electronic wallet providers.

Vietnam’s central bank has signed an MoU to develop its cross-border payments service system together with five other ASEAN member countries

Why is buy now, pay later so popular in Vietnam?

Research by Robocash forecasts that the Vietnamese FinTech market will reach a substantial US$18 billion by 2024. This marks a significant transformation in Vietnam’s financial services sector, as swifter and more cost-effective payment innovations overtake traditional methods. Despite impressive growth in overall retail sales of consumer goods and services in Vietnam, credit card usage remains limited.

The Ascension of BNPL Services in Vietnam The BNPL sector in Vietnam is poised for steady expansion over the coming years, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45.2 percent from 2022 to 2028, according to Research and Markets. This growth translates to a surge from US$496 million in 2021 to over US$4.7 billion in 2028, representing purchases facilitated through BNPL services.

Data from the State Bank reveals that Vietnam is home to 45 e-wallet providers with a collective wallet balance of VND3,300 billion (US$140 million), a figure steadily increasing, particularly among the younger demographic. In the initial 11 months of 2022, payments made through e-wallets, apps, and bank cards increased 85 percent in volume and 31 percent in value over a year earlier.

In 2022, Vietnam’s e-commerce market reached a value of US$14 billion and is projected to expand to as much as US$32 billion by 2025, according to Google’s e-Conomy SEA 2022 report.

The Future of BNPL in Vietnam: Opportunities and Risks

The growing demand for swift and user-friendly financial services has made the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ trend in Vietnam irreversible. As more BNPL projects and partnerships emerge, the potential for enhanced performance, increased customer loyalty, and boosted profits for both service providers and retailers becomes evident.

However, the absence of specific regulations for BNPL in Vietnam necessitates vigilance regarding associated risks. Investors should remain vigilant in monitoring developments in the regulatory landscape and be mindful of the limited financial literacy among Vietnamese consumers.

Therefore, the development of BNPL products in Vietnam must be executed sensibly and thoughtfully to yield benefits for all parties involved.

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