Banking infrastructure in Vietnam is relatively modern and straightforward to use. ATMs are readily available in Vietnamese cities and internet banking comes as standard with all accounts.
Expats will find that staff at banks in Vietnam are friendly and willing to help them set up an account. However, many expats prefer to maintain an account with one of the many international banks that have a presence in Vietnam.
Money in Vietnam
The official currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). It is available in the following denominations:
Notes: VND 10,000, VND 20,000, VND 50,000, VND 100,000, VND 200,000 and VND 500,000
Coins: VND 200, VND 500, VND 1,000, VND 2,000 and VND 5,000
US Dollars (USD) are accepted throughout Vietnam and many prices are quoted in dollars rather than in dong.
Banking in Vietnam
The banking system in Vietnam is modern and efficient. Most banks in Vietnam have at least one English-speaking service representative.
A number of international banks have a presence in Vietnamese cities, including HSBC and ANZ. For this reason, many expats opt for these banks if they already have an account with them back in their home country. Expats looking to open an account with a Vietnamese bank will find that Vietcombank is a popular choice.
All banks in Vietnam offer a range of banking packages, so it is worth researching which packages best suit an individual’s needs. Most banks have English brochures outlining the services they offer their customers.
Opening a bank account
To open a bank account in Vietnam expats will need to have a passport and a copy of their employment contract, as well as an initial deposit – the exact amount varies according to which bank the account will be with. Some banks also require a letter from a foreigner’s landlord stating that the person is legally renting a property in Vietnam. However, most banks usually just want a valid address where the expat can be contacted and a work address.
When opening a bank account in Vietnam, customers are given the option of either banking in Vietnamese Dong or US Dollars. This means that expats can choose which currency they wish to store their savings in.
Credit cards and ATMs
ATMs are widely available in Vietnamese cities. In rural areas and smaller towns, ATMs are more difficult to find, so expats are advised to carry enough cash with them when travelling to locations that are off the beaten track.
Vietnam is still very much a cash-based economy. Credit cards are only accepted at large hotels and retail outlets, so it is best to carry cash in the majority of situations.
Taxes in Vietnam
Expat taxes in Vietnam can sometimes be quite difficult to navigate, but, generally, there are four categories of taxpayers in Vietnam, two of which apply to expatriates:
Individuals who do not have Vietnamese citizenship but reside in Vietnam indefinitely
Foreigners working in Vietnam, including those who do not live in Vietnam but have income which is sourced in Vietnam
If a foreigner resides in Vietnam for 183 days (six months) or more during a 12-month period then they are deemed a resident and have to follow the relevant tax laws. Income tax is determined on a variable scale of up to 35 percent.
Taxes in Vietnam have been subject to a lot of changes in recent years, so it is best to check the current situation with a qualified tax specialist.
►Read Cost of Living in Vietnam for an overview of expat expenses
Are you an expat living in Vietnam?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Vietnam. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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