Vietnam’s currency issued by the Vietnam State Bank is the Dong (VND). Vietnamese use both coins and paper notes. But as Vietnam is currently changing its money system, there exists parallel two different money systems (old and new) which can cause confusion.
Coins include VND 5,000; 2,000; 1,000; 500 and 200. These values have paper note equivalences.
The following values: VND 500,000; 200,000; 100,000; 50,000; 20,000; 10,000. exist both in the new polymer form and the old normal paper notes.
Cheques with value as Vietnamese dong include: VND 1,000,000 and 500,000.
In general, 1 USD is approximately 19500VND and 1 EUR approximates 26000VND
You can exchange your money at the airport before leaving, or at banks and official exchange centers in Vietnam. It is strongly recommended that you do not exchange money in the black market.
Method of payment
Direct payment of cash is most popular in Vietnam. Small shops, restaurants and markets usually do not accept any other payment.
Major credit cards (such as Visa, Master Charge and to some extent American Express) are increasingly being used, especially in big cities and tourist places, but only in restaurants, hotels or big shopping malls with a transactional fee (3%-5%).
Traveler’s cheques are an easy method of carrying money around, and can be cashed at major banks (but not small banks in small towns).
For those hesitant to carry a large amount of cash around, ATMs (automatic teller machines) have become increasingly popular in Vietnam (mostly in cities) and have attracted many foreign visitors.
Most banks offer this service and the registration for an account is simple and fast. All ATMs are locally interconnected. However, ATMs only give in VND.
The hours may differ from bank to bank. Generally banks open from Monday to Friday: 8:00 – 11:30 and 1:00 to 4:00. Some large banks also open through lunch or on Saturday mornings. Banks are closed on public holidays.
Two tier pricing system
In many places in Vietnam, foreigners and visitors still have to pay a much higher fee for entrance or services. However this system is slowly changing as prices are being standardized.