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Currency of Vietnam: Payment, Exchange and ATMs in Vietnam

July 02, 2024

Vietnam, a vibrant and diverse country, offers a unique experience for travelers. From its bustling cities to its serene landscapes, there’s something for everyone. But navigating its currency and payment system can be daunting, especially for first-time visitors. This comprehensive guide will demystify the intricacies of currency and payments in Vietnam, covering everything from exchanging currency to using digital wallets. By the end, you’ll be equipped to handle your finances with confidence and enjoy your Vietnamese adventure without any financial worries.

Currency in Vietnam

Currency of Vietnam

Images of Vietnamese currency notes.

Official Currency of Vietnam

The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). It’s divided into 100 ‘hao,’ but these are rarely used in everyday transactions. The Dong is represented by the symbol ₫.

You’ll see the Dong expressed in large numbers, which might seem intimidating at first. For instance, a cup of coffee might cost around 30,000 VND. This is because Vietnam’s economy is still developing, and its currency hasn’t experienced the same level of inflation as other currencies.

Exchange Rates in Vietnam

The exchange rate between the Vietnamese Dong and other currencies fluctuates constantly. You can check the current rates using online converters or mobile banking apps. It’s crucial to stay informed about the latest rates to get the best value for your money.

Here’s a table showing approximate exchange rates as of July 01, 2024:

Currency Exchange Rate (VND)
USD 1 USD = 25,500 VND
EUR 1 EUR = 27,400 VND
GBP 1 GBP = 32,200 VND
AUD 1 AUD = 17,000 VND
JPY 1 JPY = 160 VND

Keep in mind that these rates can vary depending on the exchange provider. It’s always advisable to compare rates from different sources before exchanging currency. You can check in the State Bank of Vietnam:

Accepted Currencies in Vietnam

While the Vietnamese Dong is the official currency, you’ll find that some establishments, particularly tourist hotspots and high-end hotels, may accept USD. However, using the Dong is always recommended for the best value and to avoid potentially unfavorable exchange rates.

  • Popular tourist attractions: Typically accept USD alongside VND.
  • Local shops and markets: Primarily accept VND.
  • High-end hotels and restaurants: Might accept USD, but VND is preferred.

It’s crucial to ask about the accepted currency before making a purchase, especially if you’re paying in USD.

Payment Methods in Vietnam

Vietnam is experiencing a rapid rise in digital payment options, alongside traditional methods. Understanding the various payment methods available can make your transactions smoother and more convenient.

Cash Transactions in Vietnam

Cash remains the most frequent payment method throughout Vietnam. This is especially true for smaller purchases in local markets and street vendors. You can withdraw Vietnamese Dong from ATMs or exchange currency at designated exchange bureaus.

  • Advantages: Widely accepted, convenient for small transactions.
  • Disadvantages: Carrying large amounts of cash can be inconvenient and risky.

Credit and Debit Card Usage in Vietnam

Credit and debit cards are becoming increasingly common in Vietnam, particularly in major cities and tourist areas. However, their acceptance is still limited compared to cash.

  • Advantages: Convenience, particularly for large purchases.
  • Disadvantages: Not widely accepted in every establishment, potential for high transaction fees.

Mobile Payment Options in Vietnam

Mobile payments are gaining immense popularity in Vietnam, fueled by the rise of smartphones and fast internet connectivity. Popular options include:

  • Momo: Leading mobile wallet with a vast network of merchants and users.
  • VNPay: Another widely used mobile wallet, offering a range of services.
  • ZaloPay: Integrated with the popular messaging app Zalo, allowing for easy payments.

These mobile wallets offer convenience, speed, and security for various transactions, including paying for goods and services, transferring money, and topping up mobile phones.

  • Advantages: Convenient, secure, and widely accepted in urban areas.
  • Disadvantages: Might not be accepted in all locations, particularly smaller towns.

Banking System in Vietnam

Top Bank in Vietnam

Top Bank in Vietnam

Vietnam’s banking system has witnessed substantial growth in recent years. The country has a well-established network of banks, providing various financial services to both domestic and international customers.

Overview of Banking System

State-owned banks dominate the banking sector, but private banks are gaining momentum. The Vietnamese banking system is generally considered stable and regulated, with a robust regulatory framework.

  • State-owned banks: Dominate the banking sector, offering a wide range of services.
  • Private banks: Increasing in popularity, offering innovative products and services.
  • Foreign banks: Have a presence in major cities, mainly focusing on corporate banking.

The banking system is subject to regulations and oversight by the State Bank of Vietnam, the country’s central bank.

Opening a Bank Account

Opening a bank account in Vietnam is possible for foreigners, but it can involve some paperwork and might require a local sponsor.

  • Requirements: Valid passport and visa, proof of address, and employment or income documentation.
  • Process: Visit a bank branch and fill out an application form, providing all necessary documents.
  • Benefits: Easier access to local currency, convenient for recurring payments and transactions.

Online Banking Services

Vietnamese banks are increasingly offering online banking services. These services allow customers to access their accounts, manage transactions, and perform various financial operations remotely.

  • Features: Account management, bill payments, fund transfers, and mobile banking apps.
  • Security: Vietnamese banks prioritize safety measures, using encryption technology and multi-factor authentication.

Online banking and mobile apps offer convenience and flexibility for managing your finances in Vietnam.

Foreign Exchange in Vietnam

Exchanging currency is a crucial aspect of traveling to Vietnam. Understanding foreign exchange regulations, choosing the right exchange provider, and applying some useful tips can help you maximize your money.

Foreign Exchange Regulations

Vietnam has regulations governing the exchange of currency, aiming to maintain financial stability.

  • Authorized exchange providers: You can only exchange currency at authorized institutions like banks, exchange bureaus, and certain hotels.
  • Currency declarations: You may need to declare large amounts of foreign currency upon arrival or departure, depending on regulations.

It’s essential to check the latest regulations and guidelines with Vietnamese authorities or your embassy before traveling.

Where to Exchange Currency

You can exchange currency in various locations:

  • Banks: Offer competitive rates, especially for larger amounts.
  • Exchange bureaus: Often located near tourist attractions, offer convenient options.
  • Hotels: May provide exchange services, but rates are typically less favorable.
  • ATMs: Allow you to withdraw local currency, but may involve higher fees.
  • Best option: Banks or trusted exchange bureaus are generally considered more reliable.

It’s wise to compare rates and fees from different providers before exchanging currency.

Tips for Exchanging Currency

  • Research exchange rates: Compare rates online or through mobile banking apps.
  • Exchange smaller amounts at a time: This allows you to avoid significant losses due to fluctuating rates.
  • Exchange currency at a bank or trusted exchange bureau: Avoid exchanging money in shady locations or from street vendors.
  • Keep your receipts: Keep all receipts from currency exchanges for reference or if you need to make a claim.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you’re getting a fair deal when exchanging currency in Vietnam.

ATMs in Vietnam

ATMs are widespread in Vietnam, offering a convenient way to access local currency. However, it’s important to be aware of ATM fees and charges to avoid unexpected costs.

Availability of ATMs in Vietnam

ATMs are readily available throughout Vietnam, particularly in major cities and tourist areas. You can easily locate ATMs near banks, supermarkets, shopping malls, and airport terminals.

  • Bank networks: Most major banks in Vietnam have nationwide ATM networks.
  • International ATM networks: Cards issued by international networks like Visa, Mastercard, and Cirrus are usually accepted.

ATM Fees and Charges in Vietnam

  • ATM fees: Banks might charge a fee for using their ATMs, particularly for foreign cards.
  • Withdrawal fees: Banks may charge a withdrawal fee, typically a fixed amount or a percentage of the withdrawn amount.
  • Interbank fees: Your bank might charge a fee for using an ATM outside of their network.

Before traveling, inquire with your bank about ATM fees and charges to avoid unexpected expenses.

Tips for Using ATMs in Vietnam

  • Check ATM fees: Review ATM fees charged by the bank and your card issuer.
  • Use ATMs in well-lit and secure areas: Avoid ATMs in secluded or suspicious locations.
  • Be cautious of ATM skimming: Be wary of unusual attachments or modifications to ATMs.
  • Cover your PIN: Always shield your PIN while entering it.
  • Keep your ATM card safe: Do not leave your ATM card unattended, even for a short time.

By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of fraud and ensure secure ATM transactions in Vietnam.

Digital Wallets in Vietnam

Top payment gateways in Vietnam

Top payment gateways in Vietnam

Digital wallets are rapidly transforming the payment landscape in Vietnam, offering a convenient and secure way to make transactions.

Popular Digital Wallet Options

  • Momo: Leading mobile wallet with a vast user base and acceptance at numerous merchants.
  • VNPay: Another popular mobile wallet, known for its user-friendly interface and diverse features.
  • ZaloPay: Integrated with the popular messaging app Zalo, offering seamless payments and transfers.

These digital wallets offer convenient services, such as paying for goods and services, transferring money, and recharging mobile phones.

Benefits of Using Digital Wallets

  • Convenience: Easy to use, offering fast and efficient transactions.
  • Security: Provide secure payment methods, generally equipped with encryption technology.
  • Rewards and discounts: Often offer cashback and loyalty programs.
  • Wide acceptance: Gaining popularity and accepted in numerous establishments.

Security Measures for Digital Wallets

  • Account security: Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.
  • Privacy settings: Adjust privacy settings to control your information sharing.
  • Transaction confirmation: Always confirm transactions before completing them.
  • Reporting suspicious activity: Report any unusual activity immediately to your digital wallet provider.

By taking these security measures, you can protect your digital wallet and personal information.

Cross-border Payments in Vietnam

For travelers needing to send or receive money across borders, Vietnam offers various international money transfer services.

International Money Transfer Services

  • Banks: Major banks in Vietnam offer international money transfer services, typically with higher fees.
  • Money transfer companies: Specialized companies like Western Union and MoneyGram offer efficient transfer options.
  • Digital wallets: Some digital wallets, like Momo, offer cross-border transfer capabilities.

Fees and Charges for Cross-border Payments

  • Transfer fees: Banks and money transfer companies usually charge a fee for international transfers.
  • Exchange rates: You might incur a margin on the exchange rate applied to the transfer.
  • Other fees: Additional fees might apply depending on the transfer method and recipient’s location.

It’s crucial to compare fees and charges from different providers to find the most cost-effective option.

Tips for Making Cross-border Payments

  • Compare transfer fees and rates: Evaluate fees from various providers to find the best deal.
  • Consider transfer speed: Choose a service with a suitable transfer time for your needs.
  • Ensure recipient details are correct: Double-check all recipient information to avoid errors.
  • Keep track of transaction details: Log transaction details, including reference numbers and fees.

By following these tips, you can make efficient and secure cross-border payments while traveling in Vietnam.

Safety and Security Tips

Security is paramount when handling currency and making payments in Vietnam. Here are some safety and security tips to follow.

Avoiding Counterfeit Currency in Vietnam

  • Inspect banknotes: Check for security features like watermarks, security threads, and holograms.
  • Use official exchange bureaus: Avoid exchanging money from street vendors or unauthorized providers.
  • Educate yourself: Learn about the security features of Vietnamese banknotes.
  • Report any suspicions: If you suspect counterfeit currency, inform the authorities or your bank.

Protecting Personal Information During Payment Transactions

  • Use secure networks: Avoid using public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions.
  • Cover your PIN: Always shield your PIN during ATM transactions.
  • Be cautious with your card: Do not leave your card unattended and be vigilant.
  • Report lost or stolen cards: Report lost or stolen cards immediately to your bank or card issuer.

It’s essential to protect your information to prevent fraud or theft.

Reporting Suspicious Activities Related to Currency and Payments

  • Report counterfeit currency: Alert the authorities or your bank if you suspect counterfeit money.
  • Report fraud or theft: Report any suspicious or fraudulent activity to the police or your bank.
  • Inform your embassy: Contact your embassy or consulate if you encounter problems with currency or payments.

By reporting suspicious activities, you contribute to a safer environment for everyone.

Mistakes to Avoid

To avoid common pitfalls and ensure a smooth financial experience, consider these mistakes to avoid when dealing with currency and payments in Vietnam.

Common Pitfalls When Exchanging Currency in Vietnam

  • Exchanging currency at unregulated locations: Avoid exchanging currency from street vendors or unauthorized exchange bureaus.
  • Exchanging large amounts at once: Exchange smaller amounts to mitigate potential losses due to fluctuations in rates.
  • Not comparing exchange rates: Always compare rates from different providers before exchanging currency.

Risks of Carrying Large Amounts of Cash in Vietnam

  • Theft: Carrying large amounts of cash increases the risk of theft.
  • Inconvenience: Carrying substantial cash can be cumbersome and inconvenient.
  • Security: Keeping large amounts of cash secure can be challenging.

It’s advisable to withdraw or exchange cash as needed, avoiding the risks of carrying substantial amounts.

Ignoring Local Customs When Making Payments in Vietnam

  • Bargaining: In some situations, bargaining is customary, especially in local markets.
  • Tipping: Tipping is not as common as in other countries, but it’s always appreciated for excellent service.
  • Using local currency: Always try to pay with Vietnamese Dong for the best value and to avoid unfavorable exchange rates.

By understanding local customs, you can make payments seamlessly and respectfully.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to exchange currency in Vietnam?

The best way to exchange currency is generally at banks or reputable exchange bureaus. These institutions typically offer competitive rates and have a good reputation for security. Avoid exchanging money at airports or hotels, as they often have less favorable rates.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Vietnam?

Credit and debit cards are becoming increasingly accepted in Vietnam, particularly in major cities and tourist areas. However, acceptance is still limited compared to cash, especially in smaller towns and villages. It’s always advisable to carry cash for small purchases and check with merchants about card acceptance.

How can I ensure the security of my payments while traveling in Vietnam?

To ensure secure payments, follow these tips:

  • Use your card only at reputable merchants and ATMs.
  • Keep your card and PIN secure.
  • Cover your PIN during transactions.
  • Report any lost or stolen cards immediately to your bank or card issuer.
  • Use secure networks when making online transactions.

By being cautious and taking necessary precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of fraud or theft.

Navigating currency and payments in Vietnam can be a smooth and enjoyable experience if you understand the system, choose the right methods, and apply safety tips. Whether you’re using cash, credit cards, or digital wallets, being informed about the available options and taking precautions can make your transactions secure and efficient. Embrace the diverse payment methods, enjoy the local currency, and make the most of your Vietnamese adventure without any financial worries.