Cashless toll payment still struggles due to unfamiliar nature

There are only 1 million out of 4 million cars in Vietnam that have an e-toll tag as of late December 2020, even though cashless payment has been implemented for a long time.
An electronic toll collection (ETC) booth in Soc Trang (Photo: SGGP)
An electronic toll collection (ETC) booth in Soc Trang (Photo: SGGP)

What’s more, all toll stations across Vietnam are going to have a cashless booth starting from December 31 as stated in official announcements.

A toll station service provider in South Binh Dinh Province in the Central region reports severely lower earnings from its electronic toll booths over 2 years of operation compared to cash-collecting booths.

Some toll companies in the Mekong Delta have deployed electronic toll collection (ETC) from August 2018, but only 10% of all passing vehicles have used the service since, said the leader of a local toll company.

On the other hand, owners of e-tagged vehicles sometimes do not pay the service bill and still prefer buying toll tickets via cash, he added.

As a result, most toll stations along the highway through Bac Lieu and Soc Trang Provinces in the Mekong Delta still maintain both cashless and traditional booths.

Many drivers expressed that they are not comfortable with the technology as well as the e-payment process as a whole, reports told.

According to the current ETC service provider in the country, Vietnam Electronic Toll Collection Company (VETC), vehicle owners must first open a new account for the ETC service at certain car registration centers.

The vehicle owner then has to manually transfer money into this account through the service provider’s phone app or via wire transfer, which many have complained to be inconvenient.

So far, VETC have only worked with Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) for automatic credit payment. They already have plans to cooperate with 30 more banks throughout the country and also enable e-wallet payment.

When asked why there isn’t an option to deduct the toll directly from vehicle owners’ personal bank account when they go through booths, VETC Deputy General Director Ho Trong Vinh said the payment process through commercial banks is not fast enough, not to mention transaction errors that may affect the barriers.