Widely in Vietnam, online payments via credit card or PayPAL are not yet the norm. So it’s quite a hassle paying monthly bills. I have the option to just ask my agent to pay my bills for me but I don’t. It’s not that I don’t trust my agent. It’s just that I don’t know if she’ll get from point A (me to get the money) to point B (the utility company) in time with no hitches.
I just remembered an incident last year IN MANILA when I ordered some products online for Christmas gifts. The seller was about to get the products from her supplier when she was robbed together with my money. Now, that’s not my problem, right? But suffice to say, I didn’t get what I ordered.
Anyway, so when we first got here in Saigon, luckily our electricity bill can be paid via HSBC which is our personal bank. So it was easy to do online payment. However, when the electricity company changed to EVNHCMC, we couldn’t pay anymore. Now I have to pay personally via bank. Add to that our management fees, cable TV, and phone/Internet. That’s 4 different places I have to go to! At least, I can pay the cable TV depending on what I want — bi-monthly/tri-monthly/quarterly/etc.
And last month I had this weird experience when I had to pay our electricity bill in BIDV Bank where the teller was asking me for my passport. WHY? I just don’t understand it! They gave me the worst banking experience in Saigon. Sacombank and Vietcombank ALWAYS have long queues but at least they have a system. Agribank by far is the best bank to go to when paying our EVNHCMC electricity bill. I tell you it only takes me a minute to do my transaction if there’s no line. The only trouble is if the payment facility is down — otherwise, everything is fast and efficient in Agribank.
Recently, I tried the Vietnam Groupon site, Cung Mua. I could pay via bank, credit card, or cash on delivery. Since I’ve never tried doing transactions in Vietnam via credit card online and since the site is in Vietnamese, I decided not to risk it. I chose COD instead. At least, I didn’t have to line up at the bank to make a payment.
One of the best online payment services in the World Wide Web is PayPAL (if you have money in there). This Valentine’s Day, my family made my Mom and MIL very happy by sending them flowers. I picked out the flowers from Island Rose and paid via PayPAL. The whole transaction took 5 minutes because it took some time for me to choose the flowers I wanted to send. My MIL’s flowers arrived before Valentine’s Day and my Mom’s arrived a day after V-day because she lives very far from the city.
I even had trouble finding someone to pick-up Mom’s flowers since the delivery service, LBC Express, has no service where my Mom lives (yup she lives in the boondocks!). Had to go back and forth via email and Twitter to ask them to change the recipient of the package so that Mom’s friend can pick it up. I thought all was for naught until the daughter of my Mom’s friend sent a photo with my Mom and the flowers!
Well done PayPAL, Island Rose and LBC Express!
I wish transactions in HCMC can be done online as well! Although, I at least had a good experience buying flowers through Hoa Tuoi.