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.
Several international banks have a presence in Vietnamese cities, including HSBC, Citibank, Shinhan Bank 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 Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) and Vietcombank are popular choices.
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 between banks. 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 as well as a work address.
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, so it is best to carry cash in the majority of situations.
Taxes in Vietnam
If an expat resides in Vietnam for 183 days (six months) or more during a 12-month period; has permanent residency or a rented home in the country, then they are deemed a tax resident. This makes them liable for an income-tax rate of between 5 and 35 percent, depending on the amount earned. Those who do not fall in this category pay a flat income-tax rate of 20 percent on all income sourced in Vietnam.
Taxes in Vietnam can be complex, so it is best to consult with a qualified tax specialist if at all unsure.