In the article on Vietnam Investment Review, here, news of Vietnam’s increasing independence from cash and gold is welcome. I’ll let you read the article, but much of the information contained therein is to boast of the boost in mobile payments and ATM transactions.

Mobile payments are cashless payments made using a mobile device, usually a cell phone, rather than the traditional credit card or cash. This means that Vietnamese are taking part in a hundreds of billions of dollars worth of worldwide transactions. This means that Vietnam is coming into its own.

Particularly, the most telling numbers come at the end. While only 40 percent of the country has bank accounts, there are 120 million mobile accounts. That’s nearly one and a half phones per person. Wow.

This means a great deal for Vietnam. I remember when I first came to Vietnam in 2003, it was a cash only society. Only a few select places, primarily the Sheraton, five star hotels, and other high end retail accepted even credit cards. To contrast this with the numbers of ATM transactions and mobile transactions reported in the VIR article is impressive change.

Not only is the change impressive, but it presages a new age for Vietnam. With the increase in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, and the likelihood of Vietnam becoming a haven for startups, there is a need for this advancement. That it is happening is even better.

Welcome to the new world Vietnam. Welcome and may you find prosperity therein.