Here we are again, I’ve just gone for a 10-day holiday to Vietnam, a little bit for sport and a little bit for this blog I thought, ok can I open a bank account here? After some research managed to do that. For me, it looks like Vietnamese banking is friendlier than in Thailand, from the second side I’ve noticed that many of the main banks don’t offer websites/apps in English. Below you can read my thoughts about the Vietnamese banking system and how to get a bank account.
Why do you need a bank account in Vietnam?
This is the first time I am going to actually say that, but if you are not planning to stay a long time in Vietnam you probably don’t need a local account here. Vietnam is the first country where I have been able to find ATMs that don’t change for using foreign cards (at least European Visa).
However, if you are planning to live in Vietnam for a long time or you have using cash local bank account can be really helpful.
Which account to choose?
The choice of bank largely depends on your visa status and if the bank offers an app/website in English. I’ve found one bank that officially allows one to open a bank account on whatever length of Tourist visa, others will ask for at least 6 / 12 months visa and/or a Temporary Resident Card. It’s advisable to visit the bank’s website or branch to understand their specific requirements. Like in Thailand, nothing is consistent and requirements can be different depending on the branch of the bank or even of the worker.
Timo is an online bank, the mobile app looks really good and offers English language. You can also open a bank account here on every visa.
- can start the opening process online (but need to finish in one of 4 points in Vietnam)
- can get a debit card (if have TRC or 1 year visa)
- no minimum initial deposit
- QR code payments
- 3.8 ⭐ in google play for the mobile app
- the app and Website in English
Timo is the kind of bank I really like, good mobile app, everything is translated into English and all the rules are explained on their website. This is the only bank that officially shows information that you need to open a bank account as a foreigner. I downloaded the app and later went to the branch to finish registration everything was without any problem. I was able to open a bank account on a short-term tourist visa (30.11.2022). The only thing I wasn’t able to get a card to the account (because they say that I need at least 1-year visa or TRC for that). That means I can’t use ATMs but I can get/add cash in VietCapital Bank branches or through Momo wallet.
You can check the list of requirements or start registration online – Bank website: timo.vn
I believe that Timo is the best at this moment. But if you have long-term visa and want a more traditional bank account you should check also these banks:
- Vietcombank – vietcombank.com.vn
- Vietinbank – vietinbank.vn
- Sacombank – sacombank.com.vn
- ACB – acb.com.vn
Based on my experience with other SE Asia countries I’ve checked digital wallets. I’ve noticed they are also an important part of Vietnamese banking. Maybe you don’t need a bank account? Digital wallets allow you to deposit/withdraw cash and pay by local QR codes.
- Momo wallet is the most popular digital wallet in Vietnam. Offer English language. You can register as a foreigner. After that, you can deposit/withdraw money in many points and pay by QR codes. Registration is easier than for banks, so if you love cashless payments this is the way to go.
QR code payments – VietQR Napas247
VietQR Napas247 is a QR code payment system in Vietnam. It is similar to other Asian countries it allows one to scan code and easily transfer money. I’ve noticed that in Hanoi system is really popular and many people really using it instead of cash. You can use it for paying for street food, in the supermarket etc…
ATMs and foreign cards
Unlikely like other countries in the region in Vietnam it is possible to find ATMs that don’t add additional charges when using foreign cards. In November 2023 I managed to get money for free in ACB (needs to be a European Visa). You can check online for more information and more banks.
How to send money to Vietnam?
After opening a bank account, you’ll want to fund it. Wise is a popular option for this due to its low fees and quick transfer times. They partner with local banks in Vietnam, making transfers almost instantaneous.
You can open a Wise account here – on the website: wise.com
How to send money from Vietnam?
I tried to find information on the internet about sending money from Vietnam to other countries, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any good and cheap solution. Probably the best option would be to exchange cash and move it to another country or send it by bank wire transfer.
- How to open a bank account in Thailand: a guide for expats and tourists
- How to open a bank account in Cambodia: a guide for expats and tourists
- How to open a bank account in Philippines: a guide for expats and tourists
The article is also published in Polish on my blog.