Money Matter in Vietnam
Cash & Exchange Rates
The local currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong (VND). The exchange rate is currently around 16,000 VND = 1 USD (for updated rates or exchange into other currencies, please see Vietcom Bank, the most widely used source in Vietnam). U.S. dollars are accepted in many places, especially large hotels and Western restaurants or for large purchases, but it is better to have Vietnamese dong for transportation, small purchases, and most other transactions.
It is not possible to get VND outside of Vietnam (or to exchange VND after you leave Vietnam). While in Vietnam, however, almost all major banks offer the ability to exchange between major currencies and VND with some of the best rates. There are also a number of other locations, especially jewelry shops, which offer exchange services.
ATMs are plentiful in Hanoi and HCMC, with ATMs upon arrival at both international airports and usually found every 3-5 blocks within the central parts of the cities. Most other tourist destinations have at least one ATM, but for destinations off-the-beaten path, it is recommended to bring sufficient cash with you.
Credit cards are accepted at most higher-end hotels and at many restaurants and retail stores that cater to tourists. Many retail stores, restaurants, and budget hotels, however, do not accept credit cards, so it is recommended to ask first. In addition, it is quite common in Vietnam to be charged a credit card surcharge of 2.5 – 4%, especially at retail stores, budget hotels and travel agencies. Some credit card companies (especially in the US) may charge an additional 1-2% exchange surcharge when using credit cards abroad. Finally, if you plan to use your credit card while traveling, it is recommended to call in advance to let the credit card company know so they do not suspect fraud and block your card.
Travelers checks are not common in Vietnam and most retailers do not accept them. You can exchange them at major hotels and banks, but surcharges of 1.5 – 4% may apply.ernational or local mobile phone. The cheapest way to make international phone calls is at any of the various Internet cafes around Vietnam, although the quality varies. Two options to save money when calling from a land line (for example, in your hotel) are to either dial 171 or 178 (and then 00) before the country code or to buy a prepaid 1719 phone cards from the post office (prices between 30,000 VND to 500,000 VND).