Is it possible to open a bank account in Vietnam? The answer is yes, but there are some things you need to know. Many of the banks issue bank debit cards which can only be used within Vietnam. You go through all the paperwork to apply for a bank account just to find out at the end that the card doesn’t work at an ATM abroad. So it’s good to ask about that at the beginning, it will save you a lot of time. They might tell you which banks actually do provide cards working at ATM’s abroad.
The next stop can be Vietcombank or ACB, to name some. Bring your passport, a work contract and a pay slip from your company which states your name and salary. Bring copies of all too, just to be sure, in case they’re too annoyed with making copies at the bank. The paperwork will be done. You can open an account on a tourist visa, although you are not allowed to officially work on a tourist visa. So this is somewhat contradictory, but not a problem to open a bank account.
Be aware that some banks put a limited time (one month) on the payslip amount to be deposited. After the papers are filled and copies are made you get your account number, login data for internet banking and anything else you need to know. You pay 100.000 VND for the card and/or registration, around $5. You have the possibility to open a dollar account, there you pay $20 to open it.
Now you get to the point that you can finally deposit your cash. Only then you get to hear that you can’t deposit cash on your bank account as a foreigner. You can withdrawal money from your bank account, but not deposit. Interesting. The only way as foreigner to get money on your account is by transfer. Now, that is just the whole point why opening a bank account for so any foreigners in Vietnam, to dump their cash, which easily runs into the millions with an exchange rate of around $1 = 22.000 VND.
Income as a foreigner
Many foreigners get paid in cash, as their (foreign) companies hire them without managing a work permit and visa. The reason for this? Not paying taxes, not want to be responsible for employees, not giving them legal rights this way. Not wanna be involved with governmental departments because of corruption or other complications for the company.
So, after all you have a bank account, but you’re still stuck with too much cash. Find a way around this, for example: let someone transfer the money to your account and you pay that person the cash. You might be charged for that, but well, it’s a better option than having piles of cash in your home.
When you are going to travel throug Vietnam, be aware that most ATM’s won’t give more than 2 million VND, a little less than $100. Not much for the cost they charge. At a few banks you can get more out of the ATM’s, the ANZ bank for example. The Government of Vietnam is well aware of the thousands of foreign English teachers who get all paid in cash. New restrictions might come sooner or later, as you can read here http://tuoitrenews.vn/business in a news article (Sept-2016) about banning foreigners from depositing any money at all.
When working or living in Asia, this is info you need to know.