Contrasting Scenarios at ATM Booths on the Eve of Lunar New Year.

There have been reports of ATM cash shortages at some ATM kiosks in District 3 (Ho Chi Minh City). Meanwhile, in many places, ATMs are experiencing low customer traffic, with no queues like in previous years.


On February 6th (27th day of the lunar calendar), it was observed by a journalist from the Labor Newspaper that a few dozen ATMs in Ho Chi Minh City were sparsely visited by customers for transactions.

In Ho Chi Minh City, many ATMs located on main roads, at bank branches, and offices of various banks had a few customers for transactions, and the sudden shortage of money almost never happened. However, there were also some ATMs that had technical malfunctions and had to temporarily suspend operations. 

As for ATMs in industrial zones, export processing zones, and shopping centers, there were many people withdrawing money, but there was no situation where they had to queue up.

Transaction at sparsely visited ATMs in the days leading up to Tet festival. Photo: Thy Tho

This is in contrast to the image of long queues of people waiting to withdraw money from ATMs in big cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi a few years ago. 

The situation of ATMs running out of money did occur, but it was not significant. On the afternoon of February 6th, Mr. Ngoc Do (resident of Go Vap district, Ho Chi Minh City) reported to the Labor Newspaper that in the morning of the same day, he went to a few ATMs in District 3, but they were nearly out of money. He could only withdraw a maximum of 2 million dong at a time, instead of the maximum amount of 5 million dong, with small denomination bills of 10,000 dong and 50,000 dong.

“My friend also couldn’t withdraw money from an ATM in District 1, the machine said it was out of money” – Mr. Do said.

In a conversation with a journalist from the Labor Newspaper, a representative of a commercial bank said that as soon as they received information about the ATMs of the banking system running out of money, they reported it to the center of card services for immediate fund replenishment. Many other banks also stated that they have prepared human resources to replenish funds for ATMs during the peak period of the Lunar New Year festival. 

Mr. Le Van Tien (resident of Phu Nhuan district), who had just withdrawn 10 million dongs from an ATM, said that he had almost no need to use cash. “Because of the upcoming Tet festival, I need to exchange 10 million dongs for new bills, but the bank staff asked me to deposit cash into my account first, then they will exchange it for new small denomination bills. So, yesterday morning on February 5th, I had to go to the ATM to withdraw money” – Mr. Tien said.

To explain this phenomenon, a senior leader of Vietcombank said that in the past 2 years, people no longer withdraw money from ATMs to return to their hometowns for Tet festival. Customers have had the habit of making non-cash payments through the bank’s applications; all points of sale and services have QR payment codes. As a result, the frequency of ATM transactions has decreased significantly.

According to NAPAS, cash withdrawal transactions via ATM decreased by 28% compared to the same period last year. Photo: Thy Tho

Leaders of many other banks also said that their bank’s capital resources are abundant. Some ATMs have the function of accepting deposits as well as dispensing cash, so the situation of ATMs suddenly running out of money is rare.

According to statistics from the National Payments Corporation of Vietnam (NAPAS), in January 2024, the number of money transfer transactions increased by 58% compared to the same period last year. On the contrary, cash withdrawal transactions via ATMs decreased by 28% compared to the same period last year.

In 2023, NAPAS system continued to record the growth of cashless payment transactions through the system. The total number of transactions on the NAPAS system increased by more than 52% and the total transaction value increased by more than 12% compared to the previous year.

“It is noteworthy that cash withdrawal transactions via ATMs have been continuously decreasing in recent years. In 2023, ATM cash withdrawal transactions decreased by 16.9% in terms of the number of transactions and 19.5% in terms of the transaction value. Currently, the proportion of ATM transactions accounts for only 3.6% of total transactions through the NAPAS system” – a representative of NAPAS said.

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