Here’s all you need to know about foreign currency accounts with Bank of Sydney. The fees requirements and foreign exchange rates.
Vietnam is a popular tourist destination for visitors from around the globe. Some Australians want more than a holiday in Vietnam and decide to move there for a variety of reasons including new work opportunities, retirement or the desire to experience a different way of life. Like any move, this requires planning, including how you’re going to manage finances.
This article will take a quick look at banking in Vietnam including who can open a Vietnamese bank account, what the process is and some of the common fees. We’ll also let you know a bit about how Wise can be a cost effective solution to managing multiple currencies.
|💰 Wise provides you the real exchange rate and low transparent international transfer fees shown upfront.|
In English the Vietnamese currency is called the Vietnamese Dong (VND). It is what the local banks primarily operate in.
Here’s some of the most recognisable Vietnamese banks.¹
- Vietcombank (Ngân hàng Ngoại thương Việt Nam)
- VietinBank (Ngân hàng Thương mại Cổ phần Công thương Việt Nam)
- Techcombank (Ngân hàng TMCP Kỹ thương Việt Nam)
- VPBank (TMCP Việt Nam Thịnh Vượng)
- ACB (Ngân hàng Á Châu)
As an Australian, you can open a bank account in Vietnam if you possess one of the following documents allowing you to stay in Vietnam long term.²
- Temporary Resident Card (TRC)
- Permanent Resident Card (PRC)
- Work Permit
- Valid Vietnam visa
- Temporary resident confirmation issued by the Vietnamese police
These documents must have been issued within the last 12 months and have a duration that is valid for at least 1 year.²
What you need to do to open a bank account in Vietnam can vary depending on the bank, but in general there’s two main methods.
If the bank has the digital infrastructure you can apply online using the application link they have on their website. Usually you complete the application by filling out a digital form and uploading scans or photos of the required documentation. You may already be familiar with applying online as some of the big banks in Australia offer it.
The other method is to apply in person at a branch. When applying at a branch you usually have to complete a paper application form and provide originals and duplicates of the required documentation. If you don’t speak Vietnamese it may be a good idea to contact the bank in advance and see if there’s any branches offering translators for English speaking customers.
|Read more: Money in Vietnam: Banks, ATMs, cards & currency exchange|
On top of providing one of the documents we mentioned earlier that prove you have permission to stay in Vietnam long term, you will also need to provide the following to open an account.²
- Your Australian passport (At least 6 months validity)
- Full name
- Contact details
Keep in mind that these are the general requirements and the bank you choose may ask for some additional information to complete the application. For example, they may request additional identification documents or a copy of your employment contract.
Just like many of the Australian banks, Vietnamese banks have certain fees and charges associated with their accounts. Here’s some of the fees you’re likely to run into while banking in Vietnam.
Vietnamese banks tend not to charge a fee on opening or have a monthly service fee, but many have a minimum average monthly account balance that needs to be maintained. If you don’t maintain it, you’re charged a service fee.
As an example let’s take a look at HSBC, an international bank that offers private banking services in Vietnam.
- For personal bank accounts, HSBC requires a minimum average monthly balance of VND 3,000,000 (roughly 186 Australian Dollars) per account.³
- If your account balance falls below that, you’ll be charged a fee of VND200,000 (roughly 12 AUD) per month.
Given your ties to Australia it’s highly likely that you’re going to need to convert money between AUD and VND. The general goal is to do this as cheaply as possible, with the best exchange rate and least fees. To do this, you might use your Australian bank, a Vietnamese bank or an international money transfer specialist such as Wise.
Vietnamese banks usually charge fees to send and receive money overseas and these fees vary depending on a number of different factors which can include the following.
- What currency you’re converting to or from
- Where the money is going or coming from
- If transfer was done online or at a branch
- Whether the outbound transfer was instant or not
- If the SWIFT code system was used
- The type of inward transfer - electronic, cash withdrawal or cheque
- What exchange rate the bank uses
- If a profit margin is charged on the exchange rate
If there’s a particular Vietnamese bank you’re interested in it’s a good idea to read the fee schedule to find out exactly what fees they charge in terms of international transfers and transactions.
|Read more: How to open a bank account in Pakistan|
Living in Vietnam it’s likely you’ll want to keep a bit of cash handy. Usually you can withdraw funds from your Vietnamese bank's ATM for free, but will incur a charge if you use another bank's ATM. There are also generally fees for using the card to withdraw money overseas.
To give you an idea of what the ATM fees in Vietnam can cost, let’s take another look at HSBC and what they charge for debit cards.³
|Cash withdrawal from HSBC ATM||Free|
|Cash withdrawal from ATMs in the Visa Plus network||VND 5,000 per withdrawal|
|Cash withdrawal from a HSBC ATM outside Vietnam||VND 45,000 per withdrawal|
|Cash withdrawal from ATMs in the Visa Plus network outside Vietnam||VND 60,000 per withdrawal|
Looking at the international cash withdrawal fees, keep in mind this amount is just for the withdrawal and doesn’t take into account foreign ATM fees or currency exchange costs.
Here are a few banks that are known for being a little more popular with foreigners.²
- Timo - One of Vietnam's leading digital banks that has historically been convenient and easy to use
- Vietcombank - Huge network of branches and ATMs and popular with locals and expats alike
- HSBC - International bank with some English language services
- VietinBank - The largest state owned bank with a nationwide network of ATMs and branches
There are a few Australian banks including ANZ and NAB that have a presence in Vietnam, but their focus is usually corporate banking.
While it might be handy to have a Vietnamese bank account there are some services offered by Wise that can help make sending and spending money in Vietnam cheaper.
If you aren’t familiar with the service, Wise is an authorised financial provider that specialises in international money transfers. There are no hidden fees and your funds are exchanged using the real exchange rate, just like you see on Google.
One of Wise’s main offerings is the Wise Multi Currency account. This account enables you to convert and hold 53 different currencies through a single account, including AUD and VND.
With the account you can order a Wise Debit card, which makes daily spending overseas easier, especially if you’re an expat whose finances involve multiple currencies. The card is accepted in 200 countries and automatically takes care of any currency conversions needed. As a bonus, you can also generate virtual card details which are handy for online payments.
If you think Wise might be able to help you with your finances while living in Vietnam, why not check it out for yourself. There are no account maintenance fees to worry about and registration can be done in minutes.
- Vietnam Plus - Vietnam Report announces Top 10 prestigious banks
- BBCIncorp - Foreigner Guide: Opening A Bank Account In Vietnam
- HSBC - Personal Banking Tariff
Sources checked on: 21 August 2022
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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