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Banking in Vietnam

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Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:10 am    Post subject: Banking in Vietnam Reply with quote

Quick question from a soon-to-arrive teacher (with apologies if this topic has been done before and I've missed it):

Is it possible to set up a bank acct in VN while still on a tourist visa? If so, which bank is recommended?

I'd hoped to put money on my Standard Chartered debit/ATM card, but they wouldn't accept a deposit here in China (since I'd opened the acct in Korea: go figure, I thought they were an international bank). I'm just a bit leery of carrying around a large amount of cash while in Vietnam. Won't count on any of my Chinese bank cards working there either, though who knows.

Your ideas? Thanks, friends.
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Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 140
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an ANZ account which was opened when I was still on a tourist visa, but my employer sorted it out, I'm not sure if you could open it yourself.

I don't know if it's just ANZ, but I can't deposit cash in my account. No idea why. Even if it's money you took out from them and want to put back in after a holiday or whatever. So maybe a bank account wouldn't help with the having loads of cash problem.

Apart from that, I like ANZ. The staff are nice and professional, and most speak English very well. And their cards work in international ANZ ATMs (although I've only seen them in Cambodia) which makes life a little easier.
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Joined: 22 Jan 2007
Posts: 236
Location: the South

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, possible.

ANZ and HSBC are regional/global banks that are popular.

Be aware that there are rules regarding taking money or transferring money out of the country. If you plan on saving a lot while here, make sure it's logged in at the bank as "income", nothing else. This means you also need to directly deposit your checks either in person of from your employer. Elsewise, expect to take it out in cash form at customs.
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Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 95
Location: Asia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ANZ -- they may have "Australia" in their title, but it's fully owned and operated by the locals. Walk all through the branches and the only people you'll see are Viets. Not enough, walk into the back offices and again you'll only see Viets. You might see one poster boy white guy, but he certainly isn't in charge.

Firstly, as is everything else in Vietnamese, it works when it works, and it doesn't when it doesn't. I've seen excessively long lines, customers were disgruntled, and there was no management effort anywhere to be seen. One lady barked at me as she thought I was going to cut in front of her.

I had some problems with their "power of attorney" thingee they offer. Signed several forms which said that I could make banking actions from outside the country through phone call and email without having to come back. Sure enough that got all messed up. Even the "officer" lady who was so friendly and assuring in person, acted like a moron once I was out of the country. The worst was that even though she remembered exactly who I was, over email it was all "oh sorry, I don't know what happened." I ended up having to take a flight back to Vietnam and close the account. My opinion? Their bank officers smile and talk real well, but they aren't trustworthy.

Their credit card department is as sleezy as they come. While I was out of country, they sent emails and called me saying I was late on a payment when in fact I wasn't. To make it worse, because they messed things up, I couldn't do anything (stated in above paragraph). Even though I had indeed paid, and affirmed it over the phone in a heat fueled conversation that exceeded 30 minutes, the guy on the other end said in solid but broken English, "well, can you please authorize us to deduct a penalty anyways? We want you to give us voice authorization to make a penalty deduction." Shocked
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Joined: 25 Apr 2010
Posts: 466
Location: North Viet Nam

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had an account with Dong A bank for years, and I opened THAT account on my original tourist visa (when I was checking things out here and I decided that I was going to stick around for a while) issues at all.

Basically, though, I just take cash that I get from gigs and I pop it into my Dong A account and whenever I need cash, I just use my ATM card and away I go to their ATMs (I have never seen any bank with more ATMs all over the the nation then Dong A Bank, so that saves on ATM fees as well) and I'm set.

If you're looking for credit cards, International money transfers, or anything weird like that, I can't really help you.....I just use my bank account HERE ('cause I still keep a bank account and ATM card at my bank in my home Tay nation) in Viet Nam for simple deposits and withdraws, that's it!
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Master Shake

Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 1202
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:44 pm    Post subject: ANZ Reply with quote

I've got an ANZ account and can confirm that they suck. The first week I arrived in HCMC, a quite clueless ANZ rep came to my school and collected account applications from several of us.

I didn't hear anything from him for a week so I called their helpline to find out what was going on. 3 times someone with quite good Eng promised to check on the matter, but I never heard anything back from them. I finally got an email to pick up my debit card two weeks later when I was almost broke.

There are also monthly fees and hidden fees for closing the account before a year has elapsed. Another reason not to use them.
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Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:57 pm    Post subject: Cam on, etc. Reply with quote

OK, friends, thanks for all the answers so far.

I've just arrived in Nanning--Vietnam's within my sights now. Ha ha!

Judging by what you've supplied, it looks as though I'll give ANZ a miss and instead go with A TO Z's suggestion of banking with Dong A.

I tried HSBC when in South Korea some years ago, and they seemed not at all keen on getting my business. I was basically told to get lost, in as many words, more or less, by an account rep. Never did understand why.

Dong A it will be then, unless I get other advice soon.

Cam on, tam biet, etc.

UPDATE: I've now arrived in Hanoi. The Dong A near Hoan Kiem lake turned me down yesterday, vaguely saying that they'd let me have an account after six months or so in-country.

So if not Dong A, where do you guys suggest? Really I just need a place to put my cash for safekeeping, together with an ATM card to get it out again.

I could easily go into a rant here about the stupidity of bankers--if you think about it, I'm simply trying to GIVE them my money; how stupid of them to refuse--but I'm too much in love with Vietnam right now to care. Every country has its bankers. Jesus Christ threw them out of the temple; maybe someday he'll come back and do it on a larger scale. Till then, life's sweet enough. I've escaped from China, of all the wretched places; bankers are just a laughable annoyance by comparison.
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