If you are an expat planning on staying in the country long-term, you may want to start thinking about where to store your money. We give you a handful of options, plus tell you how to get it done.
Opening a bank account in Vietnam is definitely a useful step for managing your finances, especially if you’ve landed — or plan to land — a job. Note that the only funds that can be received into a foreigner’s account are their salary. So, any personal transactions will need to be done via cash.
What are the steps to opening a bank account in Vietnam?
You can do this by walking into any bank branch and making this request with the teller. Documents you’ll need to bring along with you include passport (they will request the original, not a photocopy), and a proof of address.
If you’ve been in the country for more than three months, to receive your salary into this account, you’ll need to provide proof of employment in the form of a labor contract, work permit or temporary residence card. If you’ve been here less than three months, a probationary contract will also be accepted.
Sending money abroad
Sending money back to your home country can be difficult, and is best done through the bank that you use. However, the process is very involved. Banks offer this service online, but you’ll need to attach any reference documents that detail the purpose of the transfer.
For instance, if you have student loans or loan obligations abroad, make sure you have a contract copy that you can attach. This is the most reliable way to get money out of the country.
Western Union can only be used to receive funds, but you cannot send funds out of the country. You will occasionally hear of expats who make a trip to Cambodia to Western Union money out.
Some inside tips!
Banks operate Monday to Friday, taking a break for lunch from 12pm until 1.30pm. SOME banks will be open Saturday morning until about 11am or 12pm, though this will not be the case for all branches. ALWAYS take your passport with you – for withdrawing cash in person, you need the original document – not a copy. You cannot receive any money into your Vietnamese bank account that is not your local salary — so if someone wants to give you funds, it needs to be done in cash.
If you do not provide a copy of your contract, funds deposited into your account cannot be cleared until this has been provided.
Banks you might consider
If your employer has no banking preference, there are many options available to you in choosing a bank. Here are some of the most common:
Vietcom offers visa debit cards that can be used internationally — a good option if you plan to use your Vietnam card for traveling around.
One of the draw cards for Citibank is that it enables free transfers to other Citibank accounts worldwide. Particularly useful if you intend on sending money back to your home account.
Some mixed reviews about HSBC and their debit card offerings, they may push a credit card on you instead which requires a VND 12 million deposit – which will be frozen for 2 – 3 months before you can access it. For transferring money out of the country they have one of the most straightforward process, all you have to do is set up online banking and you can transfer money back home whenever you want. Also be aware that they will not issue you a debit card, useful for when you want to buy stuff online, if you have work contract less than a year.
Powered by VP bank Timo offer an attractive Mastercard account that offers interest-free payments and minimal 1% installments. If you’re a Vietnamese national or an expat with a work permit you can use this card for cash free spending while abroad. Plus they have a nifty app that lets you manage your account from wherever you are.
Attitudes towards VIB bank are generally positive. They have an international debit card which you can use overseas, and to complete transactions with international vendors.