Tet gifts for workers come with credit card requirement

By Le Tuyet   January 27, 2024 | 08:00 pm PT
Tet gifts for workers come with credit card requirement
Workers purchase products at a cashless Tet market event organized by the HCMC union, Jan. 22, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/An Phuong
Workers at several unions have been told they will receive Tet gifts worth VND300,000 ($12), under the condition that they open a credit card with a finance firm.

Earlier this month, Tuan, president of a workers’ union in Dong Nai Province, received 150 Tet gifts, each worth around VND300,000, from the General Confederation of Labor.

However, instead of cash, transactions or physical products, workers were required to open an account at the HD Saison financial company, fill in information, download the app and open a credit card with a VND5 million limit. Workers were instructed to purchase products on e-commerce platforms, Tuan added.

Tuan said the "gifts" worth VND300,000 were within the VND5 million credit cards. Once a worker purchases a product, the cards would be activated. If they purchased over the capacity of the cards, debts would be incurred as usual. Workers also have to pay yearly card maintenance fees.

"I’m afraid workers will overspend the money they are given. They are not well-versed in credit cards, so they may easily be in debt," Tuan said, adding that so far these gifts had not yet been given to the workers.

The union president of another company in Dong Nai, who said around 100 Tet gifts have been provided for workers, said the gifts might have been provided with good intentions, but there were problems with the execution.

He said the workers who would receive gifts were in difficult circumstances, yet using the cards would require a smartphone. Union officers would open the accounts themselves, purchase the products for the workers and cancel the cards.

"Canceling cards require many different calls, with the fees going up to tens of thousands of Vietnamese dong due to the involvement of many departments. After some workers received the gifts and were unable to cancel the cards, and voiced complaints with the union," the president said.

Unions in Dong Nai are expected to receive 4,000 of such gifts, as distributed by the labor confederation. But so far, very few people have signed up to receive them.

Similarly, in the neighboring Binh Duong, a union officer said workers were not too enthusiastic to receive such Tet gifts. They were worried that the financial company would be able to get hold of their data and were worried about overspending and incurring debts.

Nguyen Vinh Quang, deputy head of the labor relations department under the confederation, said every year the union has several Tet programs for the workers. This is the first time that the confederation organizes Tet programs online, in cooperation with HD Saison and several e-commerce platforms.

These units provide several types of discounts, and from Jan. 15 to 24, and over 40,000 people have received the VND300,000 Tet gifts, and over 35,000 people have finished shopping, totaling to over VND10 billion, Quang said.

Quang said the gifts are to help workers familiarize themselves with online shopping, which falls in line with the government’s policies for digital transformation and cashless transactions. The confederation also wants workers who work overtime, or who work in remote areas, to find it easy to shop online, he added.

The confederation said HD Saison was a finance company that operated legally. As giving the Tet gifts is a new activity, there have been issues with it, mainly because workers were unfamiliar with online shopping and preferred cash, Quang said.

On concerns that workers may incur debts when they use credit cards, Quang said the confederation and HD Saison have agreed that from Jan. 25 to Feb. 7, when the program ends, the credit cards issued will only have VND300,000 available. After purchasing products, workers could cancel the card for no additional fees.

If workers are not familiar with online shopping, with their consent and the consent of local unions, union officers and HD Saison employees will come and help them with card usage, or purchase products on their behalf.

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