How to get Vietnamese dong in Vietnam: exchange money or withdraw cash?
In Vietnam, cash is still king. You pay almost everything in cash, in Vietnamese dong (VND) and sometimes even US dollars (USD).
Below, we discuss the most popular ways to get Vietnamese dong in Vietnam: exchanging money or withdrawing cash.
Vietnam’s currency is the dong, which you will see denoted as “đ”, “d” or “VND”. The dong is available in 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10.000, 20.000, 50.000, 100.000, 200.000 and 500.000 notes. Coins are no longer used.
Exchange rate of Vietnamese dong
You can find the most up-to-date exchange rate from any currency to Vietnamese dong (VND) here. In the recent years, the exchange rate of the Vietnamese dong varied somewhere between 20.000 and 30.000 VND per euro or US dollar.
Exchanging money in Vietnam
The way you get the most Vietnamese dong for your home currency is by exchanging money at exchange offices. It doesn’t hurt to bring a few hundred euros or dollars and exchange the money in Vietnam. Two tips on exchanging money in Vietnam:
- At most exchange offices, the higher the value of the euro note (€/$50, €/$100, et cetera), the better the exchange rate. Coins are not accepted at all.
- You generally get the best rate at gold dealers and jewellers.
- State-owned banks are a decent alternative – just remember to bring your passport.
- Note: as everywhere in the world, changing money at the airport is more expensive. It’s better to only change some money here for the taxi to get into town.
Withdrawing money in Vietnam
A second way to get money in Vietnam is to withdraw cash at an automated teller machine (ATM). ATMs are readily available in every city in Vietnam.
There are limits for foreign bank cards (2 to 10 million VND) and you usually also pay a fee (25.000-50.000 VND; €/$1-2) to the Vietnamese bank. Check with your own bank what they charge for PIN payments abroad.
- Look for Maestro or Cirrus logos if you want to withdraw money with a debit card. Withdrawing money by credit card (Visa or Mastercard) is possible at almost every ATM; however, it is a lot more expensive.
- Maximize your withdrawals of Vietnamese dong. You don’t want to pay 2 euros/dollars for withdrawing only 1 million Vietnamese dong (40 EUR/USD). That is 5% extra cost on top of the conversion rate. Choose ATMs from banks with a higher maximum withdrawal amount to minimize the total costs that you have to pay and to avoid having to go to the ATM too often to withdraw cash in Vietnam. Banks in Vietnam known to have a high withdrawal amount are Agribank (3-6M), HSBC (8M), Citibank (5-8M), Commonwealth Bank (5-10M), Military Bank (5M), and ANZ (10M).
- Important! Sometimes the ATM will ask you if you want to use their ‘conversion rate’. You have to choose between continue with conversion and continue without conversion. Always choose the option continue without conversion, so you only have to deal with the conversion rate used by your own bank (otherwise you will also pay for the exchange rate of the bank in Vietnam).
Pay by credit card in Vietnam
At international (i.e. tourist) hotels and restaurants, it is often also possible to pay by credit card. A 3% fee is usually charged for this.
Do not expect cheap guesthouses or local restaurants to accept credit cards.
Pay in euro or US dollar
Although the official currency is the Vietnamese dong (VND), many major shops and hotels in Vietnam also accept the US dollar (USD). With a few exceptions, the euro (EUR) is not commonly accepted. When travelling to Vietnam, it is convenient to bring some US dollars along.