Travel money Vietnam 2022: How to pay & how much to bring (2022)

Forget the sunscreen and swimsuit — planning your travel money options should be on top of your Vietnam vacation prep list.

The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong (VND). Because the dong is tied to the US dollar, you can use your money at most hotels and big shops. To make things easier, prices are often quoted in US Dollars in tourist areas. But beware — you’ll pay twice as much if you pay with your US dollars, so exchange your money before you arrive in Vietnam. Let us help you compare your options to find the best way to manage your money on your Vietnam adventure.

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Travel card, debit card or credit card?

Credit cards can be used for big ticket purchases in Vietnam. For example, in Hanoi mid to high-end hotels, restaurants and retailers will take Visa and Mastercard — you’ll struggle to find merchants who take American Express credit cards and prepaid travel cards. Everywhere else you’ll need to pay with cash.

If you bring your debit card, you can expect to pay between $1 and $2, on top on any fees your bank charges. Find a debit card that allows you to withdraw from any ATM without charging a fee. You should never use ATMs to withdraw money from your credit cards — they charge high fees and interest on your withdrawal immediately.

Vietnam is a popular destination for experiencing the rich culture and natural beauty for rock bottom prices. Plan to bring a number of payment options on your Vietnamese vacation for peace of mind. Credit cards are good for bigger purchases, and you can earn travel rewards, but cash is what you’ll need the most. Only carry the cash you need, keeping the rest on your debit or prepaid cash card.

These are your options for spending money in Vietnam

Trying to decide how to pay for your vacation to Vietnam? Compare these travel money options and see what works best for you.

Travel money Vietnam 2022: How to pay & how much to bring (4)Learn more about using a credit card in Vietnam

Using a credit card

Travel credit cards give you the most purchasing power on expensive items like hotels and flights when traveling in Vietnam. Find yourself a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees. Carrying a credit card gives you the added benefit of travel insurance and discounts, depending on your provider. For added savings, take advantage of the interest-free period by paying your balance in full each month.

Cards that offer travel perks and waive fees often charge an annual fee, so make sure the fee is worth it before you bring it along on your travels. If you’re ever in a jam, credit cards also offer cash advances, though we don’t recommend it. You’ll pay high fees and interest rates apply the moment you get your money.

  • Tip: It’s worth researching credit cards that offer travel benefit and rewards for things you’ll buy anyways like flights and hotel stays.
Pros
  • Use for big ticket purchases
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Accepted worldwide
  • May come with benefits like travel insurance
  • Interest-free days when you pay your account in full
  • Emergency card replacement
Cons
  • Fees and interest for cash withdrawal

Travel money Vietnam 2022: How to pay & how much to bring (5)Best international debit cards

Using a debit card

A travel debit card could be a good travel money choice to take to Vietnam. You’ll have access to cash each time you come across an ATM, without carrying lots of cash on you all at once. Because you’re spending your own money, you avoid interest charges.

Two debit card options to consider are from Wise Multi-currency and Betterment Checking. While they both offer no transaction fee, Wise automatically converts your currencies and comes with a low conversion fee. It also offers ATM withdrawals up to $250. On the other hand, Betterment offers free withdrawals up to $500 a day.

  • Tip: A debit card can be used to shop over the counter, online and for ATM withdrawals in Vietnam.
Pros
  • Use at stores and hotels, online and ATMs
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Spending your own money means avoiding interest charges
Cons
  • International ATM and currency conversion fees
  • No access to cash advances
(Video) VIETNAM TRAVEL GUIDE | CURRENCY EXCHANGE SAVING MONEY TIPS | 4K

Travel money Vietnam 2022: How to pay & how much to bring (6)Prepaid travel money cards

Using a prepaid travel card

Travel cards can lock in conversion rates once you load USD. Use it for purchases without worrying about rates each time you spend — debit and credit cards often charge 3% for each transaction.

Where you save in the conversion rates you may pay in fees. You’ll pay fees each time you load the card, ATM withdrawals and sometimes even an inactivity fee.

  • Tip: Banks that provide travel cards make money by applying a higher margin to the exchange rate. You can get a better rate using a debit card or credit card.
Pros
  • Lock in exchange rate when you convert USD to VND
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards.
  • Reloadable online
Cons
  • Come with lots of fees for loading and reloading, inactivity and ATM withdrawals.
  • Businesses won’t accept prepaid cards

Travel money Vietnam 2022: How to pay & how much to bring (7)Compare cash pickup services in Vietnam

Paying with cash in Vietnam

Cash is king in Vietnam, so be sure you have access to plenty of it. Make sure you don’t get any damaged or ripped banknotes — merchants in Vietnam won’t accept them. Dongs are delicate, so carefully place money in your wallet rather than in the bottom of your bag or pockets.

  • Tip: Exchange your money at banks or other licensed exchange stores — Vietcombank doesn’t charge a commission. There is a black market for exchanging money in Vietnam that charges a lower exchange rate and, most importantly isn’t legal.
Pros
  • Payment flexibility
  • Convenience
Cons
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • High risk of theft
(Video) How to extend your VIETNAMESE TOURIST VISA in 2022!

Travel money Vietnam 2022: How to pay & how much to bring (8)Traveler’s checks guide

Using traveler’s checks

Security is the main advantage of using traveler’s checks. Each check has a unique serial number and can only be cashed with photo identification. Fees are the main disadvantage. Banks charge you to get check and to cash them. You’re better off using a debit or travel card which lets you make cheap or free ATM withdrawals to get Vietnam dong.

  • Tip: Traveler’s checks are good for locking in a good exchange rate. So if you watch the forex market, get them while the getting’s good.
Pros
  • Security
  • Cash at any bank
Cons
  • Fees for purchasing and cashing checks
  • Not accepted by many merchants
  • Currency exchange rate varies over time

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Buying Vietnamese dong in the US

While you’ll get a better rate if you wait to get Vietnamese dong in Vietnam, you can purchase dong in the US from your bank or a foreign exchange provider like Travelex. If you’re flying into Vietnam directly, and you want to get a visa on arrival (VOA), be ready with cash to pay the fee when you pass through customs. Here are some popular ways to exchange your US currency into dong.

  • OFX
  • MoneyGram
  • TransferWise
  • WorldRemit
  • Travelex
  • Ria
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A guide to the Vietnamese dong banknotes

The Vietnamese dong is the major currency used in Vietnam. The dong comes in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 and 200,000, each a different color. Be sure to pay the right amount when you make your purchases, and always count your change. Familiarize yourself with what the currency looks like and how it works will avoid confusion when handling your money.

Travel money Vietnam 2022: How to pay & how much to bring (9)Travel money Vietnam 2022: How to pay & how much to bring (10)Travel money Vietnam 2022: How to pay & how much to bring (11)
Travel money Vietnam 2022: How to pay & how much to bring (12)Travel money Vietnam 2022: How to pay & how much to bring (13)

The main banks in Vietnam are:

  • VietinBank
  • Agribank
  • Vietcombank
  • Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV)
  • Military Bank
  • SHB
  • Techcombank
  • Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB)
  • Maritime Bank
  • VP Bank

Using an ATM

Mastercard and Visa cards can be used to make cash withdrawals from a majority of ATMs in Vietnam. The maximum withdrawal limit varies depending on the machine. Machines from American banks often have a higher daily withdrawal limit compared to Vietnamese banks. Although Vietnamese banks often charge a lower withdrawal fee.

  • Tip: Keep yourself and your money safe when using an ATM. Block your PIN from cameras and onlookers. And be sure to use ATMs in busy areas or inside a business.

ATMs in Vietnam

Cash pickup services in Vietnam

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

How much should I budget to travel in Vietnam?

Your money will go along way in Vietnam. Accommodation, food and tourist activities cost a fraction of the price of what they cost in the US. If you want a travel on a backpacker’s budget, $40 or less a day will do. For a more comfortable trip, you can budget $60 to $100 per day. If you have expensive taste, it’s easy to find a five star experience with prices to match at a budget of $200 a day. All prices are in US dollars.

MealsBudget meals
at a cafeteria
$1.50 USD
Western breakfast/lunch
$2.50 USD
Western style steak
$25 USD
ActivitiesSightseeing at
Hoan Kiem Lake and Turtle towerfree
Walking tour of Hanoi old town
$30 USD per person
Halong Bay overnight cruise
$190 USD per person
AccomodationHostel dorm bed
$5–$15 USD per night
2 star hotel
$15–$30 USD per night
5 star hotel
$150+ USD per night

Case study: Dean’s trip to Vietnam

We interviewed Dean, a finder.com user who traveled to Vietnam, and asked him about his experience using travel money. He spent two months in Southeast Asia, including a month adventure in Vietnam. He flew from Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh, finished his trip in Hanoi and took a bus to Laos. He was there for the Tet Festival in December — which Dean said is not to be missed.

Do you have any other travel money tips?

Dean says make sure you do the following:

  • Tell your credit card and debit card provider about your travel plans in Southeast Asia.
  • You’ll be carrying cash on you so use caution and make sure it’s out of reach from thieves and pick pockets.

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FAQs

Should I exchange money before I travel to Vietnam? ›

To make things easier, prices are often quoted in US Dollars in tourist areas. But beware — you'll pay twice as much if you pay with your US dollars, so exchange your money before you arrive in Vietnam.

How much money should I bring to Vietnam? ›

For a more comfortable backpacker experience in Vietnam, it's best to budget around $50 per day. This way, you'll have more money to spend on things like food, drinks, activities and hotel rooms. For a comfortable mid-range experience in Vietnam, it's best to budget $60 to $100 per day for your entire costs.

How much cash can you bring into Vietnam? ›

How Much Cash Can I Carry into Vietnam? There are no restrictions on the amount of cash that travelers can bring into Vietnam, but it may have to be declared at customs. If the cash is in Vietnamese Dong, the individual can carry up to ₫15,000,000 without having to declare it.

How can I carry money to Vietnam? ›

  1. Cash. Every country has restrictions on the amount of cash that can be brought out of the border. ...
  2. Credit Cards. Visa Card, Master Card and American Express are widely accepted in larger hotels, restaurants and stores in big cities. ...
  3. Traveler Checks. ...
  4. ATM Machines.

Is $100 a lot of money in Vietnam? ›

In Vietnam, USD $100 Can Get You:

15-18 nights in a budget hotel, or 5-8 nights in a three-star accommodation in Hanoi. 15-20 mid-priced restaurant meals. 1 one-way trip from Hanoi to Da Nang via Livitrans luxury train.

Can I use my bank card in Vietnam? ›

Card payments in Vietnam

While cash is used for small purchases and street vendors in Vietnam, most establishments accept payments from major credit card providers such as Visa. Hotels, tour operators, boutiques, restaurants, grocery stores, and spas all generally accept international debit and credit cards.

How much money should you bring on a trip? ›

Here's a list of things to consider: Calculate the number of days of your trip and multiply by $50–$100 per person. If you traveling independently (no meals included), estimate an additional $50–$75 per person per day for food and drink.

How much money do I need for 2 weeks in Vietnam? ›

For a two-week trip, your Vietnam travel budget should be about $2,530 per person based on my suggestions and itinerary as indicated above. Vietnam is an amazing country and one of the most affordable places for budget travellers.

How do you declare money at the airport? ›

You may bring into or take out of the country, including by mail, as much money as you wish. However, if it is more than $10,000, you will need to report it to CBP. Use the online Fincen 105 currency reporting site or ask a CBP officer for the paper copy of the Currency Reporting Form (FinCen 105).

How much cash can you fly with? ›

In the United States, there is no limit on how much cash you can carry on domestic flights. When travelling internationally to the US (and most other countries) $10,000 USD (or equivalent) is the cash limit without declaring the cash you are bringing in to limit money laundering efforts.

Should I bring USD to Vietnam? ›

The official Vietnamese currency is the dong (VND), but US dollars are also widely accepted in areas that receive a lot of tourists. In general, however, most transactions are conducted in dong.

Are US dollars accepted in Vietnam? ›

Due to the historical involvement of the United States in Vietnam and the country's dependence on tourism, it is fair to ask, “Will my US dollars work in Vietnam?” In short, the answer is yes. In the major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, US dollars are widely accepted.

How much can you withdraw from ATM in Vietnam? ›

Most ATMs in Vietnam have withdrawal limits of 2.000. 000 VND. ATMs from local banks have fairly low withdrawal limits which are from VND 2,000,000 ($87 USD) to VND 3,000,000 ($130 USD). As mentioned above, ATMs from foreign banks have higher withdrawal limits which are up to VND 10,000,000 ($434.8 USD).

How much is a meal in Vietnam? ›

While meal prices in Vietnam can vary, the average cost of food in Vietnam is d275,483 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in Vietnam should cost around d110,193 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner.

Do you need cash in Vietnam? ›

Credit cards are widely accepted but, in rural areas particularly, you should carry cash as a back-up. It may be difficult to cash travellers' cheques. ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas.

How much is a Coke in Vietnam? ›

Vietnam - Coca-Cola - price, June 2022
Vietnam - Coca-Cola - price, June 2022
VND7,000.000
USD0.298
EUR0.296

How much money will I need for a month in Vietnam? ›

Even in these two places, a couple can enjoy a comfortable, middle-class lifestyle for less than $1,300 per month. Many Westerners who live in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City get by spending around $500 per month, but it's a no-frills lifestyle.

Do debit cards work in Vietnam? ›

Credit cards are widely accepted in Vietnam, and are in fact the preferred payment method over debit cards. However, debit cards are also accepted, as long as they have a Cirrus or Maestro logo.

Can I withdraw USD in Vietnam? ›

No, and you lose if you use USD in Vietnam. Those who do use USD receive their change in VND!

Which bank is best in Vietnam? ›

Agribank listed among Vietnam's Top 10 prestigious banks

The 10 banks honoured as the most prestigious commercial banks in the country are Vietcombank, VietinBank, Techcombank, Military Bank, VPBank, ACB, BIDV, TPBank, VIB and AgriBank.

How do you carry money when traveling? ›

Money belts and neck wallets — those flat, cloth pouches that fit under your clothes — are the traditional ways to carry money safely while you're traveling. They're meant to escape the notice of pickpockets and muggers, and the newer ones even have RFID blocking to keep your credit card and passport information safe.

Should you travel with cash? ›

Tips for Traveling

Always keep cash and other valuables with you in a carry-on bag. Never leave such items in checked baggage. Don't forget to declare the cash to customs if you're traveling internationally.

How much cash should I carry when traveling internationally? ›

If you're carrying an amount below $10,000 from the US to elsewhere in the world, you don't have to worry about anything. However, the government wants to know if you're carrying anything above that limit. Hence, you'll have to fill out some forms at customs to declare that sort of money, and you're good to go.

Is it cheaper to travel in Thailand or Vietnam? ›

Travel Costs In Vietnam

Thailand and Vietnam are quite similar when it comes to prices, but Thailand tends to be a bit more expensive. According to Budget Your Trip, travelers can expect to spend around d938,910 ($41) per day in Vietnam, which is relatively lower than in Thailand.

How much do you need in Vietnam for a week? ›

Recap
Luxury budget (for 1 person)Medium Budget (for 1 person)
Total (for 1 day)approximately $310 and upapproximately $95 and up
Total (for 1 week)approximately $2100 and up (including going on tour everyday and one souvenir item)approximately $630 and up (including going on tour everyday and one souvenir item)
5 more rows

Is Vietnam cheaper than Thailand? ›

Overall. Overall, the cost of living in Vietnam is lower than Thailand, even in a major city such as Ho Chi Minh City. As an expat, you can expect to pay about 20 to 30% less than you would in Thailand, although not everything will be more affordable.

Can I fly with 20k cash? ›

No, you can bring any amount of money to the airport. It is not illegal to fly with a large amount of cash on a flight. However, if you are traveling on an international flight and have more than $10,000 in your possession, then you must disclose the amount of U.S. Currency in your possession on a FinCEN 105 form.

Can airport scanner detect money? ›

A good X-ray scanner will always detect money. Airport scanners can detect even the smallest amount of metal and can detect paper. The scanners will always look after things that look different to the norm. In this case, if the currency is arranged in bundles, it will be more easily detected.

Is 10000 cash limit per person or family? ›

If you're carrying currency equivalent to $10,000 or more, you have to report the money to customs. That limit isn't per person if you're with your family or another organized group, either. If you're traveling together with two other people and you're each carrying $5,000, that totals $15,000.

How much is $100 US in Vietnam? ›

2352500.00000

Can you wear short shorts in Vietnam? ›

Remember that short shorts, crop tops and tank tops are not considered appropriate in Vietnam. Loose, long clothing is both respectful and tends to keep you cooler in hot climates.

Can you drink water in Vietnam? ›

Drinking tap water generally isn't recommended in Vietnam. Water contaminated with pathogenic organisms is a major source of sickness and can lead to traveler's experiencing diarrhea, gastroenteritis, typhoid, cholera, giardia, dysentery and hepatitis A.

Can I use US dollars in Vietnam? ›

Vietnamese Dong or US Dollar, which is the best currency to use in Vietnam? Most payments are made with Vietnamese Dong, but US dollars can be directly used for some hotels, restaurants, tours, or other services. You may see the prices for food, drinks, and souvenirs in Ho Chi Minh City's airport are all in US dollars.

Can you withdraw USD in Vietnam? ›

Most ATMs in Vietnam have withdrawal limits of 2.000. 000 VND. ATMs from local banks have fairly low withdrawal limits which are from VND 2,000,000 ($87 USD) to VND 3,000,000 ($130 USD). As mentioned above, ATMs from foreign banks have higher withdrawal limits which are up to VND 10,000,000 ($434.8 USD).

Can I use Chase debit card in Vietnam? ›

Debit cards are fine as long as you notify your bank in advance of int'l travel plans.

Is American Express accepted in Vietnam? ›

Hanoi, 8 September, 2021 – VietinBank and American Express have signed a partnership that will accelerate the growth of both companies in Vietnam. Under the partnership, VietinBank will sign up merchants to accept American Express Cards in Vietnam.

How much is $100 US in Vietnam? ›

2352500.00000

How much is a meal in Vietnam? ›

While meal prices in Vietnam can vary, the average cost of food in Vietnam is d275,483 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in Vietnam should cost around d110,193 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner.

Can I withdraw from Vietnam ATM? ›

Most ATMs enables you to get cash from VISA, MASTER CARD, Cirrus, Maestro, Plus and JCB network. Under Vietnamese law, ATM may only dispense cash in Vietnamese Dong. Current amounts that can be withdrawn at any one time is usually very low, 2,000,000 Dong with an additional usage charge variable from 30.000d up.

What American banks are in Vietnam? ›

There are five U.S. banks and financial institutions operating in Vietnam. Citibank and Far East National Bank have branches, Wells Fargo and Visa International have representative offices, and JP Morgan Chase has both a branch and a representative office.

What banks have no international ATM fees? ›

The Best Checking Accounts to Avoid International ATM Withdrawal Fees
  • 1) Chase Bank. ...
  • 2) Ally Bank® – Interest Checking Account. ...
  • 3) Aspiration – Plus Account. ...
  • 4) Capital One 360 Checking Account. ...
  • 6) Citibank. ...
  • 7) Discover Bank. ...
  • 8) Fidelity Cash Management Account. ...
  • 9) First Republic Bank's ATM Rebate Checking Account.
Apr 26, 2021

Do you need a credit card to travel? ›

Although using a credit card to pay for travel is more convenient and safer than using other methods, you still have various options available to you that you can use to book your travel. PayPal, cash, gift cards and debit cards all make it possible to pay for travel without a credit card.

How much does Chase charge for international ATM? ›

$5 per withdrawal and $3 for any transfers or inquiries at ATMs outside the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Fees from the ATM owner/network still apply.

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