Want to know more about the currency in Vietnam? They use the Vietnamese Dong (VND), and here’s more info about ATMs, money and exchange rates before your trip.
I will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about money and currency in Vietnam.
Quick facts about Vietnamese Dong (VND)
- Name: Dông (₫, Dồng Việt Nam)
- Currency in: Vietnam
- Year of introduction: 1978
- Banknotes: 200, 500, 1.000, 5.000, 10.000, 20.000, 50.000, 100.000, 200.000 and 500.000 VND
- Abbreviation: ₫
- Currency Code: VND
Can you pay by card in Vietnam?
Debit- and Credit cards are usually accepted in major cities and tourist areas. However, local restaurants, smaller shops are not likely to accept card payments. Some places will also charge a 3% foreign transaction fee if you pay by card in Vietnam.
Vietnam is still a cash-based society, so it’s advised that you always carry cash, especially outside the major cities.
Should you exchange money before your trip?
Vietnamese Dong are usually not available to buy in other countries, but don’t worry, you don’t need to change in many before your trip because it’s better to exchange money in Vietnam, or even better to take out cash from a local ATM, using a travel card without fees.
Exchange currency in Vietnam?
US Dollars can be changed or used almost everywhere, and other major currencies such as Euros, AUD, and Pounds can be exchanged in the banks. Gold and jewelry shops typically offer better deals when exchanging foreign currency compared to the banks.
With that said, there is no real need to exchange your money in Vietnam, and you’ll get more value for your money by taking out cash from a local ATM or using card payment at reputable places where possible.
Vietnamese Dong or US dollars in Vietnam?
The official currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). However, many shops, restaurants, hotels, etc will accept US dollars in Vietnam.
With that said, it’s illegal for Vietnamese businesses to demand payments in other currencies than the Vietnamese Dong, and it’s much better to pay in Vietnamese dong because of the poor exchange rate you’ll be given when paying in USD.
ATMs in Vietnam
The Vietnamese ATMs usually have a limit on how much cash you can take out per transaction. Some offer to give 10 million Dong in the same transaction whereas others will only allow you to withdraw 5 million dong or even as little as 2.5 million dong or 1 million VND.
The standard ATM fee in Vietnam is around 30 000 dong but some will charge up to 90 000 VND per transaction. This is an additional fee to the one that your bank is likely to charge, usually around €5 + 2-3% foreign transaction fee.
Luckily, you can avoid your own bank’s fees by using a travel card without fees.
It is recommended to take out as much cash as possible, and the ATMs that I recommend are ANZ or Citibank, which usually has the lowest ATM fees in Vietnam and most generous limit.
- Always choose to be charged in the local currency without conversion. Otherwise, you’ll get a dynamic currency exchange and lose a lot of money due to the poor exchange rate.
- Use ATMs that are connected to a bank branch instead of standalone machines, and always double-check if you see anything suspicious before inserting your card.
More about Vietnam’s Currency – Dong (VND)
The Vietnamese Dong has been the currency in Vietnam since 1978 after replacing the former North- and South Vietnamese Dong. Before that, the French Indochinese piastre was used as the Vietnamese currency between the years of 1885 and 1952.
The Vietnamese Dong is given out by the State Bank of Vietnam (Ngân hàng nhà nước Việt Nam – SBoV) which has its headquarters in Hanoi.
The first Vietnamese currency was given out as coins, but this changed in 1978. Then it was decided that it would be smarter and more practical to only pay with banknotes instead of thousands of coins, which also weighed a lot.
The highest denominated bill in the world is the 500,000 dong bill. The person on the bill is Ho Chi Minh, which was the heroic leader during the Vietnam Revolution in 1945.
Vietnamese Money in various denominations
Banknotes: 200, 500, 1.000, 5.000, 10.000, 20.000, 50.000, 100.000, 200.000 och 500.000 VND.
Many tourists joke around that they have become millionaires when taking out cash from the ATM in Vietnam. It’s quite easy to become a millionaire with the Vietnamese currency, and 1 million VND is worth about 42 USD.
Frequently Asked Questions about Money in Vietnam
Yes, most banks and exchange offices around the world don’t sell Vietnamese Dong, so often, your only choice would be to exchange money in Vietnam. The best rates are found in the bank, but it’s better to take out cash from a local ATM, using a travel card without fees.
The Vietnamese Dong is the best currency to use in Vietnam, and second, after that is the US dollar because it’s accepted almost anywhere, although you’ll pay lower prices if using the local currency.
Amounts exceeding VND 15,000,000 must be declared on arrival. There is no limit on foreign currencies but amounts of 5,000 USD or equivalent in other currencies must be declared as well.
Debit cards issued by Mastercard or VISA are widely accepted in Vietnam, and all ATMs will accept them as well as establishments accepting card payments.
No, Euros are not accepted in Vietnam. However, you can easily exchange them in banks, although the rate will probably be quite poor.
No, AUD can’t be used in Vietnam, but you can change them in the banks, although it’s much better to take out cash from a local ATM.
There are some skimming and fraud problems so the bank may block your debit- or credit card unless they know that the transactions are legit. Therefore it is recommended that you inform your bank about your travel plans prior to your departure.
It’s also recommended that you have an extra card with in case something happens. I recommend using the free Revolut card, which has zero fees and offers free ATM withdrawals.
Do you have more questions about the currency in Vietnam? Leave a comment below!