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On this page you can find everything you need to know about money in Vietnam. A trip abroad and always takes quite a bit of preparation.
When you read up on your destination in advance and make sure you’re aware of your daily limits on your cards abroad and activate your cards for overseas use, you’re well prepared and won’t be surprised while traveling around.
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The Vietnamese currency is the dong (VND). There is a variety of notes being used, ranging from 1.000 to 500.000 dong. Please pay attention when using the money, since some of the notes look very similar. The color and look of the 10.000 VND note and the 100.000 VND note are almost the same, but the value obviously isn’t.
Some places also accept US dollars (USD). Prices at travel agencies and hotels are often displayed in US dollars.
Banks, exchange offices and hotels can exchange US dollars, euros and sometimes other currencies. Before you go into an exchange office or bank make sure you know how much you will exchange and how many VND you should get in return, so you get a fair rate. Make sure your notes are not too old (usually 2006) and are in good condition. Banknotes with little tears or spots on them might be refused. When you have 1, 5 or 10 dollar notes some banks, exchange offices or hotels give a lower exchange rate.
In the cities there is an abundance of ATMs. Most of them accept VISA, Maestro, MasterCard, American Express, China union pay, etc… Banks use different withdraw limits. The amount you can withdraw at once, varies from 2.000.000 VND at some banks up to 5.000.000 VND at others. Make sure when you go to a more remote area, or smaller city that you stock up on cash in time.
When withdrawing cash with your international card you will most likely pay a fee. Withdraw enough at once, so you avoid paying unnecessary fees.
The withdrawal fee varies per bank. Renowned international banks are ANZ and HSBC, they both have fairly low withdrawal fees. VIB and MB bank are Vietnamese banks with a lower withdrawal fee than others.
The order of returning your card and issuing your money, might be different from what you are used to back home. Always check if you have your money, your card and a receipt (if you asked for it).
Check with your own bank if it is possible to withdraw money outside your country. Check your daily limit for withdrawing money abroad, so you will be able to withdraw enough money to pay for tours and have some pocket cash to eat or buy a souvenir.
During Tết festival (end of January/beginning of February – different every year) all banks will be closed for a week. Restocking of the ATMs doesn’t happen during this week either. So if you travel in Vietnam during Tết make sure you stock up on cash in time before the festival starts.
TIP: When you withdraw money, don’t choose a round figure but choose for example 1.900.000 so you get some smaller denominations you can use as change.
Paying by credit card is possible in most hotels. Some bigger restaurants and shops will also accept credit cards, nevertheless cash is in most places the way to go. A credit card is very useful when booking tickets or accommodation online. Keep in mind that there is a 2% to 3% commission on credit card transactions.
PayPal is an online money transfer and payment service. You can link it to your credit card, debit card or bank account. There are many ways of paying these days. What makes PayPal a useful service is that, when you lose your bankcards, you can pay at any place and anytime (as long as you have internet). An increasing number of companies in Vietnam is using PayPal, including, smaller hotels and airlines.
A drawback of PayPal is the high commission there is on your payments. Nevertheless when you lose your bankcards PayPal can be a great solution.