Bank that accepts deposits by foreigners, for Debit card use only

I would like to find a bank where I could deposit funds and possibly have my Social Security check direct deposited.  I tried my future wife's bank, Sacombank , because they are just a few meters from our Apartment and they could not accept deposit accounts from foreigners. Do any expats in Ho Chi Minh City know of a bank I could deposit with, they would recommend.  As of now, I only have a one year Visa

Hahutsell,
    I am arriving in Saigon in about four days, I bank with Citibank in the states, I went with them because they offer Global Transfer to all Citibank customers through out the world Free of charge. I will set up my account in Saigon once I arrive, There is a Citibank, near The market in Dist. 1, Hope this helps. Good luck.

love broke me :

Hahutsell,
    I am arriving in Saigon in about four days, I bank with Citibank in the states, I went with them because they offer Global Transfer to all Citibank customers through out the world Free of charge. I will set up my account in Saigon once I arrive, There is a Citibank, near The market in Dist. 1, Hope this helps. Good luck.

I'm not sure if you can set up Citibank account in Vietnam if you don't have a work permit.
(From my past experience with an American wants to set up bank account here)

You know I just saw a booth inside the nice mall near Ben thay mkt this week and they were trying to get people to sign up for their credit card, had to drag my wife away because they were giving free gifts by drawings if you joined

Have you try ACB bank?
I have an account with them that only allow me to deposit and use as debit only. I can't transfer money to others.

You do not have to have a work permit to open a CitiBank account in Vietnam. And I can confirm that the Citi Global Transfer between CitiBank accounts works great and it is completely free.

I would recommend going into their main office [at] Sun Wah Tower in D1. They will assist you in your options as a non-citizen. Many of the promotions they do in the malls and elsewhere(as of late I think it has been free luggage) are for Vietnamese Citizens only.

This is going back to 2012 but when I first arrived in Vietnam .with the intent to marry, Citibank would not allow us to open a joint account so we opened an account in my wife's name only.  With that configuration, my US account and her VN account, they did allow transfers.   The account holder does not have to be the same on both sides.  They later did allow a joint account after I had both a marriage license and a 5 year VEC.  Having a VEC meant that I had a registered temporary residence (Form N5) as well.  One thing about Citi is that they can be a little inflexible about following whatever are, or they see as, the government's rules.

When we left Vietnam, they allowed us to keep the account open, while changing the address to my mother-in-law's which is my wife's permanent address.  Once we were in the US they would not let my wife register her US cell number until she had submitted a US Form W-9 which certifies that she is a US taxpayer.  It may be that they will report to the US if our balance exceeds the level which I think is $10,000 that we would be obligated to report.  The desire to comply with rules seems to be for both sides of the pond.

They are, as I said, a bit inflexible but CITI is still the only way that I know of to make free transfers between the US and VN.  My wife left an ATM card with her brother and still uses the account to get occasional funds to her mother.  Contrary to the stereotype, my wife is really tight on giving her family money.  If it was up to me, we would be a lot more generous.

To the OP's original intent, regardless of the willingness of the VN bank, I am pretty certain that the US will not allow direct deposit of a social security check to any VN bank for the same reasons that they will not mail your check to you except through the Consulate or Embassy.  I think I read on this site that there was some movement on that front but it won't change too soon, especially with the collapse of the TPP.  I know some here get excited about dislike of the TPP but it really would have smoothed out a lot of the bumps in the road for US expats in VN.

The US Social Security Administration has a long list of countries (available on their website) where they will do a Direct Deposit (electronic) of Social Security benefits...Vietnam is not on that list.  I'm currently living in the Philippines (getting ready to head to Vietnam soon) and the situation is the same here.

One solution is to have your SS benefits directly deposited to a bank in the US that has branches in the country you're living in.   As mentioned here (and something I just learned) that would be Citibank.  Once the money hits your US Citibank account, it can then be transferred to your Vietnam Citibank account.

I have a CitiBank Gold account in the US - opened it ten years ago, I tried to use it to open a Citi Bank account in HCMC back in 2015 but was denied because I did not have a Vietnam work permit

dollarjilt :

I have a CitiBank Gold account in the US - opened it ten years ago, I tried to use it to open a Citi Bank account in HCMC back in 2015 but was denied because I did not have a Vietnam work permit

Bummer!  I was hoping that might be "the" solution after reading some other posts.  :-(

Initially I'll be in VN for two or three months with my wife to check things out, so I guess we'll just use the ATM machines but if we decide to stay, I do hope for some solution that's better than using an ATM all the time.

But my advice is always use a Citi ATM card for safety... avoid most of the local ones, plus the local ones will let you withdraw only small amounts

Just to reiterate...I opened multiple VN CitiBank accounts in September with no work permit. I did already have a US CitiBank account as well.

I use Citi Global Transfer regularly fee free. I use my CitiBank VN debit card to withdraw cash(dong) from many ATMs with no fees. CitiBank VN partners with many VN banks to offer fee free ATM withdraws from all the major banks here.

Thank you ejmom25, this info is very helpful!

I am thinking of coming back to Vietnam and looking to stay in Dalat. Can anyone give me some info on the accommodation available in Dalat. also what are the normal temperatures in summer, in Dalat please? I will be looking to teach English again.

I lived in Hanoi for 4 months and came down with regular throat and respiratory infections for the entire time of my stay. Too much pollution and crazy, noisy, dirty, city. I'm looking for fresh air and a country environment. Will I find it in Dalat? All help welcome.

dollarjilt :

I have a CitiBank Gold account in the US - opened it ten years ago, I tried to use it to open a Citi Bank account in HCMC back in 2015 but was denied because I did not have a Vietnam work permit

It is important to understand that Citibank Vietnam is not a branch of Citibank in the US.  Some of its overseas locations are and I believe that in those countries one can simply go in, and make deposits and withdrawals directly from the US bank.   Citibank VN is a separate entity with some kind of cooperative agreement with Citi US.  It is probably partially (I am guessing 49%) US owned but it is still a separate corporation.   I don't know for sure if this is by Vietnamese law or the choice of Citi, but it remains the fact.

With respect to needing a work permit, my experience detailed above says that is not absolutely true.   What I think they are looking for is some kind of evidence of a reasonable duration for your stay.   For someone without a Vietnamese spouse that would be a work permit.  I guess they could have a huge nuisance if they allowed everyone who walked in with a 90 day visa to open an account just so that they could make a few transactions.   Dead accounts are a big headache for banks.  In the US they require legal notices posted in newspapers of record to close and the bureaucracy could be worse in VN.  Their requirements seem more reasonable if you put yourself in their shoes.

I know it's kind of a chicken and egg scenario as having bank accounts is part of what makes someone a resident, even if temporary.  On the other side of the lake, my wife was unable to get a State of Hawaii ID card until she could show a local bank account and she couldn't get a bank account without an ID in addition to her SS card.  Luckily, I was able to add her to one of mine but it does seem similar in reverse.

Timo bank, Pasteur Street Q1. They accept foreigners .

nace186 :

Have you try ACB bank?
I have an account with them that only allow me to deposit and use as debit only. I can't transfer money to others.

That is the type of account I opened at ACB yesterday. A Vietnamese friend interceded for me. The 16-number VISA card has "prepaid" written on it, and also says it is good for "electronic transactions only". I'm waiting for confirmation that I can transfer money into it from my U.S. banking institution.

Can Use Timo card (VP BANK)

https://timo.vn/

I also use ACB Bank. It is a VN dong account linked to my PayPal account, which I use to transfer money into and then withdraw as needed via ATM card.

Not sure if it will work for Social Security but you should check and see. I've been pleased with their services for several years.

johnross23 :

I also use ACB Bank. It is a VN dong account linked to my PayPal account, which I use to transfer money into and then withdraw as needed via ATM card.

Not sure if it will work for Social Security but you should check and see. I've been pleased with their services for several years.

The PayPal angle intrigues me. Do you link the 16-digit VISA number, or the underlying ACB account number?

As far as I understand, the card number is the account number. There's no passbook. If you need to make a deposit or enquiry, you present your card and passport. A message is sent for every transaction, so your account history is basically on your phone. They can print it out as well if you need it.

Anyway, the card number is used by PayPal, as well as other online transactions such as MicroSoft, Google Play Store & Play Books, etc.

By the way, someone mentioned TransferWise as an alternative to PayPal to me just yesterday.  Haven't had a chance to look into it yet.

johnross23 :

As far as I understand, the card number is the account number. There's no passbook. If you need to make a deposit or enquiry, you present your card and passport. A message is sent for every transaction, so your account history is basically on your phone. They can print it out as well if you need it.

Anyway, the card number is used by PayPal, as well as other online transactions such as MicroSoft, Google Play Store & Play Books, etc.

By the way, someone mentioned TransferWise as an alternative to PayPal to me just yesterday.  Haven't had a chance to look into it yet.

I use PayPal only for online payment (via credit cards and money on PayPal account).

TransferWise is better for transfering money. You can open for free some acounts in different currencies. And you know already the exchange rate before you transfer the money.
For me, the TransferWise handling is very user friendly. You can enter the SWIFT code of the bank you want transfer money. This makes its much easier to find the right bank (in contrast to the cryptic bank name you must select in other transfer services).

I think there are other good money transfer services. But in my case, not all support my country and the desired currencies.

HAHutsell :

I would like to find a bank where I could deposit funds and possibly have my Social Security check direct deposited.  I tried my future wife's bank, Sacombank , because they are just a few meters from our Apartment and they could not accept deposit accounts from foreigners. Do any expats in Ho Chi Minh City know of a bank I could deposit with, they would recommend.  As of now, I only have a one year Visa

Are Do you look for deposits from Vietnam or US?

On Wednesday I found my Credit Union only charges $1 for an international ATM transaction. Unless I am overlooking something significant, I don't have to make any changes to anything.
I also found a med at a Canadian Pharmacy that was only $1.92 per dose with no copay vs. $6 oer dise after copay for my American pharmacy. The med in question is manufactured in the UK.

[at]Contem,
  It seems your from Canada, but regardless, if it were me I would have your pension deposited in Canada and dimply nake witdrawal here. You may find a bank in your country that refunds your ATM fees. We have many in my country. Your deposits here are only backed for about $3,000. Locals do not trust banks so I do not know why we should.

PayPal v ATM v Transferwise.

Although it's drifted off topic, I can speak with experience about using Paypal as a medium to move money about . . . don't do it!

I'm living in Thailand and have:
1. an online $ income which pays into my Paypal account.
2. a £ Sterling income from England which is paid into a UK bank account (for which I have an international ATM card). 
3. my Thai bank account, which comes with an international VISA debit card.

My income from work online is paid in US$ into my Paypal account and then transferred into my  linked Thai bank account and changed into Thai baht. For every $100 I'm paid, I get $90 worth of Thai baht. Fees and doubly-poor exchange rates adds up to 10% in costs overall.

Using my UK ATM card and drawing on the £ Stirling from my UK bank and converting it into Thai baht attracts a total of accumulated charges and fees that add up to about 5%.

And using Transferwise to convert  £ Sterling and pay Thai baht into my Thai bank account costs a total of 1.3% and takes 24 hours to appear.

There is no doubt which method I'm going to continue using when I arrive in Vietnam (after I've got settled). But in order to do that I need to first open a Viet bank account (on a tourist visa) and attach a VISA debit card to it . . . which brings us back on topic again.

Suggested so far - foreigners can open an account without showing a work permit with :
ACB Bank
Timo Bank.
. . . any others?

I am not American, so unless the Viet version of Citibank welcomes foreigners without a WP, then does anyone know of any other banks?

I'm looking for a savings account (no cheque book and no overdraft) with a VISA debit card attached.

I'd hate to come to Vietnam, planning a long stay, only to find 10% of my income is wasted right away in exchange fees.

ps . . . while looking around a bit more I came across info on Vietnam from Transferwise themselves. Very informative.
https://transferwise.com/gb/blog/openin … in-vietnam

robsamui :

PayPal v ATM v Transferwise.

Although it's drifted off topic, I can speak with experience about using Paypal as a medium to move money about . . . don't do it!

I'm living in Thailand and have:
1. an online $ income which pays into my Paypal account.
2. a £ Sterling income from England which is paid into a UK bank account (for which I have an international ATM card). 
3. my Thai bank account, which comes with an international VISA debit card.

My income from work online is paid in US$ into my Paypal account and then transferred into my  linked Thai bank account and changed into Thai baht. For every $100 I'm paid, I get $90 worth of Thai baht. Fees and doubly-poor exchange rates adds up to 10% in costs overall.

Using my UK ATM card and drawing on the £ Stirling from my UK bank and converting it into Thai baht attracts a total of accumulated charges and fees that add up to about 5%.

And using Transferwise to convert  £ Sterling and pay Thai baht into my Thai bank account costs a total of 1.3% and takes 24 hours to appear.

There is no doubt which method I'm going to continue using when I arrive in Vietnam (after I've got settled). But in order to do that I need to first open a Viet bank account (on a tourist visa) and attach a VISA debit card to it . . . which brings us back on topic again.

Suggested so far - foreigners can open an account without showing a work permit with :
ACB Bank
Timo Bank.
. . . any others?

I am not American, so unless the Viet version of Citibank welcomes foreigners without a WP, then does anyone know of any other banks?

I'm looking for a savings account (no cheque book and no overdraft) with a VISA debit card attached.

I'd hate to come to Vietnam, planning a long stay, only to find 10% of my income is wasted right away in exchange fees.

I have a Sacombank VND account and a TIMO (VPBank) account.

I have already transferred several billion VND from my Swiss bank account to my VND bank account.  I can't transfer VND from my Swiss bank, so I'm transferring CHF.  The money is automatically converted from CHF to VND during the transaction.

The cost is CHF 24 (regardless of the amount) from my Swiss bank and 0.045% (min. 2, max 200 of the particular currency) from Sacombank (will be automatically deducted from the incoming VND amount without any information).

A bank transfer usually takes 24 hours.

I also have a VISA debit card and e-banking.  Everything together costs 24k Dong per month.

I never had any problems with Sacombank.

I opened the account with a 3-month tourist visa (without any work permit).

I also transferred large amounts to Sacombank via TransferWise several times and never had any problems.

As far as I know, you can't transfer money from abroad to the TIMO account.  But I transfer money from the Sacombank account to the TIMO account via e-banking in order to invest it with TIMO as a high-interest time deposit (all online via e-banking).

Timo accepts SWIFT payments from abroad. You have to fill in a form at a hangout first though to authorise them to autoprocess payments when they are received or they will be sent back.

alibali :

Timo accepts SWIFT payments from abroad. You have to fill in a form at a hangout first though to authorise them to autoprocess payments when they are received or they will be sent back.

No need to fill out any form at ACB Bank to send a SWIFT wire from my bank in the USA to my previously mentioned prepaid Visa account.

I only needed the ACB SWIFT code and the 16-digit card account number to complete a transfer from my Schwab Bank account.

Jim-Minh :

I also found a med at a Canadian Pharmacy that was only $1.92 per dose with no copay vs. $6 oer dise after copay for my American pharmacy. The med in question is manufactured in the UK.

Sorry to drift off topic for those who mind such things but will those Canadian internet pharmacies ship to Vietnam?  I don't see why not but you never know.  Generally, prescription drugs are inexpensive in Vietnam but there are exceptions.

THIGV :
Jim-Minh :

I also found a med at a Canadian Pharmacy that was only $1.92 per dose with no copay vs. $6 oer dise after copay for my American pharmacy. The med in question is manufactured in the UK.

Sorry to drift off topic for those who mind such things but will those Canadian internet pharmacies ship to Vietnam?  I don't see why not but you never know.  Generally, prescription drugs are inexpensive in Vietnam but there are exceptions.

Seriously?

If you really and truly wanted an answer to that subject, you've been around here long enough to know that a new thread on this subject would be much more likely to get you a good answer.

Or you would have sent Jim a PM.

Instead, you bury your question in a totally unrelated thread that was essentially dormant until yesterday.

Some off-topic stuff seems to be a somewhat natural result of back-and-forth banter in active threads.

I reject your criticism and await Jim's reply.  If it never comes so be it.

You were exactly who I was thinking of when I wrote "Sorry to drift off topic for those who mind such things.."

THIGV :

I reject your criticism and await Jim's reply.  If it never comes so be it.

You were exactly who I was thinking of when I wrote "Sorry to drift off topic for those who mind such things.."

And I reject your continual trolling of my posts.

As I wrote to you in a PM for which you didn't have any answer, you continually target my posts even if it means ignoring facts which would otherwise be helpful to the casual forum reader.

Your personal dislike for me is no justification for what you admit to be bad behavior.

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