U.S. SSA and Veterans Benefits in Vietnam Update

After the most recent comprehensive update from The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, this (edited) update followed. This info, along with [at]Budman1's two posts (also just reposted) should provide all the information needed by U.S. Social Security payment recipients:

OceanBeach92107 :

1. This Direct Deposit information is for those who plan to make Vietnam their formal RESIDENCE (temporary or permanent) in the eyes of the Social Security Administration (SSA) AND your bank in Vietnam.

Quoting the Embassy newsletter: "for U.S. citizens RESIDING outside of the United States" and "individuals RESIDING in Vietnam who require social security services or have questions about SSA benefits must contact the SSA Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) located in Manila, Philippines, rather than Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City".

2. You must provide a personal address in Vietnam to the U.S. Social Security Administration in order for them to approve direct deposit payments to a bank in Vietnam.

3. The bank in Vietnam must be a Vietnam Đồng account. Some people are talking here about Vietnam bank accounts in U.S. dollars. Those dollar accounts are NOT eligible for International Direct Deposit (IDD).

Quote: "the U.S. Treasury Department can only make payments in Vietnamese Dong. Therefore, please ensure that the payment account is in Vietnamese Dong and not U.S. Dollars"

4. Quote: "The U.S. Treasury Department can make payments to almost all banks
within the country. SSA does not have a list of host-country banks. In the rare event that a bank is not listed, SSA office will notify the client who will need to open an account at another bank
."

We know that Agribank works.

Some posters have mentioned that certain banks DO NOT accept SSA IDD payments, HOWEVER, it is not clear whether the posters are referring to Đồng accounts or Dollar accounts.

5. When attempting to open an account for this purpose, it is advised (by many) to bring along a Vietnamese friend who can help you clearly communicate your intent to receive US GOVERNMENT direct deposit payments.

Because Vietnamese banks closely track the origins of deposits, you MIGHT only be able to open a zero-balance account, to eventually be funded by electronic transfers, not cash.

If you discover an exception to this information, please enlighten us all, IF the new information directly relates to the subject of this sticky thread.

Anyone is welcome to send me Private Messages for off-topic questions. I probably won't know the answer to your question, but I'll do my best to get you pointed in the right direction to find an answer.

O.B.

OceanBeach92107

Immensely valuable info and I will follow through and advise. Will obviously approach Agribank.

Will advise you in return when this is all up and running. Not likely before June/July.


I can cfm that SSA/Manila will not disclose the names of VN banks with which it has an agreement for IDD's.


LannaPrince

Lanna Prince :

OceanBeach92107

Immensely valuable info and I will follow through and advise. Will obviously approach Agribank.

Will advise you in return when this is all up and running. Not likely before June/July.

I can cfm that SSA/Manila will not disclose the names of VN banks with which it has an agreement for IDD's

LannaPrince

Yes. I understand that bugs you and others, including me.

And thank you; the U.S. Embassy here has already "confirmed" that for us.

I hope you understand that the U.S. Government can't be in the position of appearing to endorse any foreign bank, especially since no one can guarantee there won't be a problem with any of the banks here in Vietnam in the future.

Once they release such a list, they open themselves up to all kinds of negative feedback if something at one of the banks goes south. 

Irate U.S. citizens might try to hold the U.S. Government responsible.

It's up to us to do that part of the legwork.

And once the money is transferred here, I know you realize it is NOT FDIC insured.

If you read the Embassy release about this, they make it clear that the money is converted to Đồng AFTER it is sent by SSA but BEFORE it reaches the target bank.

That conversion point appears to be the line beyond which SSA's responsibility does not extend.

I hope your transition goes smoothly.

Even without an insurance regime like FDIC, I think you can be fairly certain that the government will not allow the four government owned banks to fail.  These are VietinBank, Vietcombank, Agribank, and MHB (Housing Bank of the Mekong Delta.)  In addition, I believe but am not positive, that MB bank, although a joint stock bank, is controlled by the Army which should make it a pretty safe bet.

Just a thought about direct deposit.  If you anticipate spending close to 100% of your SS for living each month then direct deposit is OK but if you have a substantial excess over your expenses, you could face the usual problems moving the money out of the country later.  Of course your direct deposit info should be (we know how that can be in Vietnam) sufficient evidence to move money out but you never know.  If you anticipate saving a fair bit of your SS check each month, it might be better to continue to bank in the US and transfer only what you need.

THIGV :

These are VietinBank, Vietcombank, Agribank, and MHB (Housing Bank of the Mekong Delta.)  In addition, I believe but am not positive, that MB bank, although a joint stock bank, is controlled by the Army which should make it a pretty safe bet.

Vietinbank and Vietcombank are also joint stock banks. The gouvernment allows maximum 30%.
These two banks are the biggest banks in Vietnam and therefore I would not be worried.

Andy Passenger :

Vietinbank and Vietcombank are also joint stock banks. The gouvernment allows maximum 30%.

Does this mean that the government allows 30% outside ownership or that the government has sold off 70% and kept 30%? 

Either way, I expect that if these banks hypothetically failed the government would actually collapse.  The Party is absolutely not going to allow that to happen as the entire justification for its existence would be subject to challenge.  If they had to, they would simply print enough new money to cover the losses even if it meant serious inflation.  The inflation would spread the loss across the entire population and not just the bank's depositors.

THIGV :

Even without an insurance regime like FDIC, I think you can be fairly certain that the government will not allow the four government owned banks to fail.

Agreed.

I think the more-likely problem would be a transfer initiated by the U.S. SSA that somehow ended up vanishing in transit.

If I have a problem with a SSA direct deposit into a U.S. bank, there are government regulators (for lack of a better term) who can help me sort out the issue with the bank and the Social Security Administration.

Money sent into a Vietnamese bank by the Social Security Administration and subsequently lost by the bank...there is no comparable mechanism that I know of for intercession by the U.S. Government on behalf of the account holder.

There is a reason that The U.S. Embassy and Manilla won't provide a list of "approved" Vietnamese banks...

THIGV :
Andy Passenger :

Vietinbank and Vietcombank are also joint stock banks. The gouvernment allows maximum 30%.

Does this mean that the government allows 30% outside ownership or that the government has sold off 70% and kept 30%? 

Either way, I expect that if these banks hypothetically failed the government would actually collapse.  The Party is absolutely not going to allow that to happen as the entire justification for its existence would be subject to challenge.  If they had to, they would simply print enough new money to cover the losses even if it meant serious inflation.  The inflation would spread the loss across the entire population and not just the bank's depositors.

The government allows 30% outside.

I absolutely agree with you.

Times have changed.
Governments are saving state-relevant banks and businesses these days.

What do you think would happen if the savings of many millions of small earners were destroyed?

Using my fee-free US debit card is still working for me after 2-1/2 years here, but I'm not making any big purchases.  If I decide to buy an apartment then I might look into SS direct deposit to my Vietnam bank, but at this point I'm not interested in that.

OceanBeach92107 :

After the most recent comprehensive update from The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, this (edited) update followed. This info, along with [at]Budman1's two posts (also just reposted) should provide all the information needed by U.S. Social Security payment recipients:

OceanBeach92107 :

1. This Direct Deposit information is for those who plan to make Vietnam their formal RESIDENCE (temporary or permanent) in the eyes of the Social Security Administration (SSA) AND your bank in Vietnam.

Quoting the Embassy newsletter: "for U.S. citizens RESIDING outside of the United States" and "individuals RESIDING in Vietnam who require social security services or have questions about SSA benefits must contact the SSA Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) located in Manila, Philippines, rather than Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City".

2. You must provide a personal address in Vietnam to the U.S. Social Security Administration in order for them to approve direct deposit payments to a bank in Vietnam.

3. The bank in Vietnam must be a Vietnam Đồng account. Some people are talking here about Vietnam bank accounts in U.S. dollars. Those dollar accounts are NOT eligible for International Direct Deposit (IDD).

Quote: "the U.S. Treasury Department can only make payments in Vietnamese Dong. Therefore, please ensure that the payment account is in Vietnamese Dong and not U.S. Dollars"

4. Quote: "The U.S. Treasury Department can make payments to almost all banks
within the country. SSA does not have a list of host-country banks. In the rare event that a bank is not listed, SSA office will notify the client who will need to open an account at another bank
."

We know that Agribank works.

Some posters have mentioned that certain banks DO NOT accept SSA IDD payments, HOWEVER, it is not clear whether the posters are referring to Đồng accounts or Dollar accounts.

5. When attempting to open an account for this purpose, it is advised (by many) to bring along a Vietnamese friend who can help you clearly communicate your intent to receive US GOVERNMENT direct deposit payments.

Because Vietnamese banks closely track the origins of deposits, you MIGHT only be able to open a zero-balance account, to eventually be funded by electronic transfers, not cash.

If you discover an exception to this information, please enlighten us all, IF the new information directly relates to the subject of this sticky thread.

O.B.

As of today (March 22, 2019) this information remains current.

OceanBeach92107 :

2. You must provide a personal address in Vietnam to the U.S. Social Security Administration in order for them to approve direct deposit payments to a bank in Vietnam.

3. The bank in Vietnam must be a Vietnam Đồng account. Some people are talking here about Vietnam bank accounts in U.S. dollars. Those dollar accounts are NOT eligible for International Direct Deposit (IDD).

Questions for:

2.  Do you have an ongoing obligation to update the SSA any time you move?

3.  How is the conversion rate?

anything about health benefits?  It would be great if I could use my medical benefit here.

def1412 :

anything about health benefits?  It would be great if I could use my medical benefit here.

You can't, unless you are rated by the V.A., and even then, your care must be related to a service-connected rating.

No accident coverage.

Link to V.A. Foreign Medical Program

You must pay for care up front, unless you locate a provider willing to wait on billing (VERY highly unlikely).

I spoke with them using Toll-free number and SKYPE.

Processing of payments takes 6 weeks to 3 months.

Also, if you don't have the proper paperwork correctly translated, there is a longer wait until they translate it for you.

Well they treated me for two different kinds of cancer if I wonder if that might not qualify there was something in the description it's not service-related but it still looks like extended care or something

def1412 :

Well they treated me for two different kinds of cancer if I wonder if that might not qualify there was something in the description it's not service-related but it still looks like extended care or something

Please call the toll-free number on the website and ask them.

One way to make the call free from here is to use Skype.

Thanks for the information.  I tried the 877 number on their website...twice...it's not in service.  VA, LOL!!  I'll talk to them when I get home in June.

OceanBeach92107    check your expat.com   messages  (your inbox for message)

Hi Gordy,

Are you retired US military? I need to get an updated military retired `id- not sure if possible in `Vietnam or the region

markqree :

I need to get an updated military retired `id- not sure if possible in `Vietnam or the region

Not possible in Vietnam.

Possible in Japan/Okinawa, Guam, South Korea and anywhere there is a U.S Military base which:

1. Allows retirees to enter the base

2. Has an ID card office.

If you have further questions on this  :offtopic: subject, I recommend searching the Asia forum to see if anyone in one of those areas has posted an answer.

If not, you can create your own new thread on the topic.

You can also scroll back in this thread and find the contact info for the FBU Phillipines and ask them to recommend the closest location.

THE LATEST one more time news posted 8 reasons why no SSA.GOV service inside Vietnam quoted today  as item 5 ....  Manila FBU/SSA has no answers  refuse to print instructions and advice... 

4. Workers Who Retire in Certain Foreign Countries

U.S. citizens who travel to—or live in—most foreign countries after they retire can usually still receive Social Security benefits. But if that country is Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cuba, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, North Korea, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan or Vietnam, the government cannot send you Social Security payments. Exceptions may be available in all of these countries except Cuba and North Korea, however. Use the government’s Payments Abroad Screening Tool to see if you will be able to continue receiving Social Security benefits while living abroad. (For related reading, read "How to Plan Retirement in Ecuador.")   

Google Search what was referred to as screening  tool and etc  reported today  https://www.investopedia.com/retirement … yptr=yahoo

tamas0 :

THE LATEST one more time news posted 8 reasons why no SSA.GOV service inside Vietnam quoted today  as item 5 ....  Manila FBU/SSA has no answers  refuse to print instructions and advice... 

4. Workers Who Retire in Certain Foreign Countries

U.S. citizens who travel to—or live in—most foreign countries after they retire can usually still receive Social Security benefits. But if that country is Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cuba, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, North Korea, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan or Vietnam, the government cannot send you Social Security payments. Exceptions may be available in all of these countries except Cuba and North Korea, however. Use the government’s Payments Abroad Screening Tool to see if you will be able to continue receiving Social Security benefits while living abroad. (For related reading, read "How to Plan Retirement in Ecuador.")   

Google Search what was referred to as screening  tool and etc  reported today  https://www.investopedia.com/retirement/8-types-americans-who-wont-get-social-security/?utm_campaign=quote-yahoo&utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=referral&yptr=yahoo

WRONG!

DO NOT post old, outdated ARCHIVED information from a non-governmental 3rd-party, web-crawling website in this sticky thread!!!

Vietnam is no longer on that list, which you would have discovered IF you had searched the Social Security website, and not just asked Google to vomit old info.

IF you read this ENTIRE thread, you will see where I already posted the updated version of the "#4" information you 'quoted'.

As has already been noted in this thread, it is very hard to get any type of general information reply from Manilla.

As one person has already posted, if you want a PERSONAL CASE-SPECIFIC response from Manilla, you must first provide them with all of your personal information, including your Social Security number and Vietnam address of record.

In other words, apparently, in order to get the Manilla FBU to give you a personal response, you must first have already established Vietnam (or another supported country) as your official address for Social Security payment delivery.

The general information you DO need, (along with an application) is contained in the .PDF file of the U.S. Embassy--Hanoi monthly newsletter, available for download at this official U.S. Government link:

https://vn.usembassy.gov/acs-newsletter-may-2019/

OceanBeach92107 :

WRONG!

DO NOT post old, outdated ARCHIVED information from a non-governmental 3rd-party, web-crawling website in this sticky thread!!!

You may be correct but the tone does seem a bit harsh.   :mad:

OceanBeach92107 :

general information you DO need, (along with an application) is contained in the .PDF file of the U.S. Embassy--Hanoi monthly newsletter, available for download at this official U.S. Government link:

https://vn.usembassy.gov/acs-newsletter-may-2019/

This probably would have been enough to get the idea across.   :one

By my way of thinking the whole business of getting your SS check deposited in a VN bank is more trouble than it is worth.  As has been discussed on this forum multiple times there are several US banking options that will let you transfer money into Vietnam for free.  Also unless you are sure that your expenditures will exceed your check, you could be faced with all the problems of taking money out later.

IOceanbeach THANK YOU FOR YOUR OPINION also copied and pasted, I was told at the USA
Embassy that the USA State Department has nothing to do with SSA.GOV and shall no longer help
SSA.GOV applications WEB POSTED 2017 also they are not employed paid by the Baltimore SSA.GOV

Oceanside you trashed my private message to you asking for SSA MANAGER SUPERVISOR contact
help to sort out 10 years SSA Manila failure of fiduciary duties by SSA paid Filipino staff who ping pong bounce people around from agent to agent and start all over each application...  that is why I ended
up contacting Social Security International Fraud Hotline Investigation after 10 years NOTHING to
collect all my past present SSA.GOV USA Vietnam Embassy FORMS verified intercepted at MANILA
Last year I mailed all history certified stamped SSA.GOV forms 
Social Security Fraud Hotline
P.O. Box 17785
Baltimore, Maryland 21235
FAX: 410-597-0118
Telephone: 1-800-269-0271 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Furthermore a second package to SSA.GOV, (signed forms, certified at TWO separate USA Embassy ACS HCM and at HANOI)  10 YEARS was again  EMS international postal Express Mail Service,  105USD signature verified and  delivered  from my home in Vietnam, 2018 was VNPT office mailed to

U.S. Mail: Social Security Fraud Hotline
P.O. Box 17785
Baltimore, Maryland 21235
FAX: 410-597-0118
Telephone: 1-800-269-0271 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

SSA.GOV has my name rank serial number bank accounts, marriage, divorce, USA passport, declarations of no children, declarations of disabled legally blind disabled, ALL RECORDS over and beyond necessary SSA process, was extorted, demanded 10 years  INTERCEPTED TRASHED by MANILA paid SSA.GOV staff...

I was forced to bend over and take it in the rear over TEN years bounced around each of 17 new SSA Filipino agents demanding repeated ORIGINAL paper identification with signed SSA FORMS that must be verified, legal notarized as certified at the Vietnam USA consulate only

I speak from recorded experience and an on going litigation of the gross mismanaged negligence
operations of the Manila Filipino SSA.GOV trained  workers... The principles of entering the USA State Dept office in Vietnam security to RENEWAL your USA Citizen passport DO NOT APPLY TO THE
FILIPINO TRAINED SSA CIVIL SERVAnTS who simply TOSS and fade away remain silent and bounce people around  when they have problems  outside their high paid sand box...

Do not start foaming in the mouth declaring I am at fault!  over 10 years! because I am USA citizen could only ask what to do?  and how to do it?  and then bend over several times I did !!! and then certified it !!! and then verified i t!!! by and at the USA Vietnam Embassy... 

The &*^%#*# Manila FBU SSA staff remain silent... JUST AUTO REPLY message then continue silent
mismanaged misleading   grossly mismanaged have no desire no customer service integrity

RESULTS OF MY TEN YEARS USA EMBASSY STAMPED RECORDS INTERCEPTED AT MANILA FBU/SSA.GOV 
1) Multiple SSA CARD  the  REPLACEMENT SSA CARD FORM  applications    MANILA NEVER DELIVERED
2) MEDICARE CARD AGE 66 REGISTRATION PART A                   MANILA NEVER DELIVERED
3) SSA UPDATE BENEFIT statement FORM application              MANILA NEVER DELIVERED
4) Benefit statement FORM APPLICATION USA EMBASSY       MANILA NEVER DELIVERED
5) BENEFIT SSA FORMS applications 4 YRS lost money  repeat            Manila ignored and  SILENT

Again do not start blaming me an old man disabled and retired who did not write the rules or broke the rules but as a USA citizen bent over and obeyed and delivered all the &^%#$#*$ demands directed
and conducted by the SSA.GOV staff at  FBU/SSA.GOV Manila i think are out of control with out supervision and  temporary misleading training.. I want people to understand that outside the USA homeland it is very difficult to ;pst in translations and deal with foreign mental educated people who are thinking only insidetheir sand box. As a USA citizen with broad spectrum of education experience and USA old fashioned customer service you must bend over and learn new things every day but
as I am communicating my 10 years can not understand how the hell can a USA GOV agency treat USA citizens sensitive, private, security information and money representing USA homeland government
civil services paid employment

tamas0:  I stuck up for you before but you really need to work on your communication skills.   Although you may be a US citizen, you apparently are not a native speaker of English.  This is perfectly OK, but it means that you need to think things through a little more before you write (or speak.)  This could be at the root of why you are not getting your questions answered in Manilla.

Lana Prince said:
34 posts Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh
Gents/Ladies:

I will bring in my monthly SSA pension from the USA direct-deposit. Need confirmation Vietcom & SACOM are best banks to deal with? Will not be employed so will be doing this with a 6-month or 12-month tourist or business visa. Residency card needed? Is that difficult to obtain?

Your best recommendation for best bank?

Thanks.


From Tunnelrat69 - My wife has been using Vietin Bank for 25 years, never a problem - VietIn Bankk  used to be VietInCom Bank - they split as they were getting too big - VietCom Bank is one of the oldest banks in Vietnam so I would say they are safe - VietInBank would not open an account for me, so I went across the street and opened one in Sacom Bank  on a tourist Visa and the street address of my hotel.  Have both USD and VND  accts - I have transferred $$ direct to the $$ acct and withdrawn $$ from it - I think the charge was about $20 for $10,000 USD.   I send my wife $$ to her acct in VietIn Bank and same charges are applied..............Sorry, I would be wary of direct deposit of my SSA check to a Vietnamese bank, If you are currently receiving it in Thailand, I would check to see if there is a Bangkok Bank Branch in Saigon, I saw on on a public bus once but don't know where it was.  I knoiw lkots of Americans that have there SSA chjeck deposited in the New York branch of bangkok Bank and withdraw from it no charge, in Thailand thru their Bangkok Bank acct.     Mi Dos Centavos

OceanBeach92107 :
markqree :

I need to get an updated military retired `id- not sure if possible in `Vietnam or the region

Not possible in Vietnam.

Possible in Japan/Okinawa, Guam, South Korea and anywhere there is a U.S Military base which:

1. Allows retirees to enter the base

2. Has an ID card office.

If you have further questions on this  :offtopic: subject, I recommend searching the Asia forum to see if anyone in one of those areas has posted an answer.

If not, you can create your own new thread on the topic.

You can also scroll back in this thread and find the contact info for the FBU Phillipines and ask them to recommend the closest location.

"Bangkok US JUSMAG Compopund on Sathorn Road as well hey have a Retiree section and will make retired ID cards.

http://www.jusmagthai.com/rao.html

Rick

tunnelrat69 :

Lana Prince said:
34 posts Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh
Gents/Ladies:

I will bring in my monthly SSA pension from the USA direct-deposit. Need confirmation Vietcom & SACOM are best banks to deal with? Will not be employed so will be doing this with a 6-month or 12-month tourist or business visa. Residency card needed? Is that difficult to obtain?

Your best recommendation for best bank?

Thanks.


From Tunnelrat69 - My wife has been using Vietin Bank for 25 years, never a problem - VietIn Bankk  used to be VietInCom Bank - they split as they were getting too big - VietCom Bank is one of the oldest banks in Vietnam so I would say they are safe - VietInBank would not open an account for me, so I went across the street and opened one in Sacom Bank  on a tourist Visa and the street address of my hotel.  Have both USD and VND  accts - I have transferred $$ direct to the $$ acct and withdrawn $$ from it - I think the charge was about $20 for $10,000 USD.   I send my wife $$ to her acct in VietIn Bank and same charges are applied..............Sorry, I would be wary of direct deposit of my SSA check to a Vietnamese bank, If you are currently receiving it in Thailand, I would check to see if there is a Bangkok Bank Branch in Saigon, I saw on on a public bus once but don't know where it was.  I knoiw lkots of Americans that have there SSA chjeck deposited in the New York branch of bangkok Bank and withdraw from it no charge, in Thailand thru their Bangkok Bank acct.     Mi Dos Centavos

On a side note, a little history about Vietinbank which took over Incombank due to a fraud case.
ABN Amro, the worlds 8th largest bank left soon after this fiasco took place.

https://vietnamnews.vn/society/158785/l … Wozio3o.97

Thank you OceanBeach.
My question is, will the deposit be in Dollars or Dong?
If Dollar, could you withdraw Dollars?

Next, what is the benefit of having the SSA in Vietnam than in a USA bank and just transfer or withdraw what you need from the USA bank?

Regards.

lifeisgoodok :

Thank you OceanBeach.
My question is, will the deposit be in Dollars or Dong?
If Dollar, could you withdraw Dollars?

Next, what is the benefit of having the SSA in Vietnam than in a USA bank and just transfer or withdraw what you need from the USA bank?

Regards.

Please read the entire thread, especially the info in the U.S. Embassy newsletter; said info currently being repeated monthly.

Social Security sends dollars.

HOWEVER, the system they use (and the receiving bank) REQUIRES that the funds be converted to Vietnam Đồng (VND) during the electronic transfer, before deposit in a Vietnam bank account as VND.

That is the ONLY WAY to effect a direct deposit of U.S. Social Security benefits to a Vietnam Bank.

Also, the "benefit" of the system is debatable.

It costs less (no fees on either end) and gets a better exchange rate than ANY transfer service.

However, your entire 'check' is then tied up in the Vietnam banking system, which can make the withdrawal of funds for use outside Vietnam difficult or impossible without proper source documentation.

If you are fully committed to permanent residency here in Vietnam, that's probably not an issue, but if you are experimenting with life here one month at a time, you could end up with your money tied up in a Vietnam bank when you return to The States OR move along to another country.

If you search "ATM" and "banking" in the Vietnam forum, AND READ THIS ENTIRE STICKY THREAD, you'll see that many people open a U.S. bank with free or rebated ATM fees, and simply withdraw what they need from ATMs in Vietnam.

Charles Schwab Bank and Fidelity are two 'free' options mentioned frequently.

Other people open a CITI bank account in the U.S. and then make their withdrawals fee-free from one of the limited number of CITI bank branches in Vietnam.

I personally use Charles Schwab Bank, which has free checking and rebates all of my ATM fees once a month.

I can use any ATM that accepts a chip card (a few older ATMs here reject the card).

OceanBeach92107 :

Other people open a CITI bank account in the U.S. and then make their withdrawals fee-free from one of the limited number of CITI bank branches in Vietnam.

Citi may have a tiny number of both branches and ATM's, all in downtown areas of HCMC and Hanoi, but they have a cooperative agreement with 18 different banks for free ATM withdrawals.   I won't list them here but it includes all the major government banks and many of the larger private banks.   The list probably covers near to or even over half of the ATM's in the country.   You won't have any problem drawing out money at no cost.  There is a 4% fee for foreign withdrawals so watch that if you go to Thailand or Cambodia.

It may be rare but the downside is that if you have business that you can only do walk-in, you have to do it in HCMC or Hanoi.  They do have an English help line.

I have a Citi account in the US then I use my Citi card to withdraw from Citibank ATMs in Saigon. And I get charged fees each time.  Something like 3% I think. I'm thinking about looking for a Vietnamese bank that I can transfer lump sums into and then withdraw from and I wonder if that might be cheaper?

def1412 :

I have a Citi account in the US then I use my Citi card to withdraw from Citibank ATMs in Saigon. And I get charged fees each time.  Something like 3% I think. I'm thinking about looking for a Vietnamese bank that I can transfer lump sums into and then withdraw from and I wonder if that might be cheaper?

Citibank's free transfers are called Citi Global Transfer (CGT).  You have to have an account on both sides of the pond.  Also, Citi VN may be a little bit "by the book" on foreigners opening accounts.  We had set up a VN account for my wife before we married but they wouldn't let us make it joint until we were married and I had a 5 year VEC.  For a single person, they would likely want to see a work permit, TRC, or similar documents.  You don't absolutely have to transfer to your own account.  You can transfer to any Citi VN account as long as you have the account information.  If you do open an account, they will give you two, USD and VND.  You make the  transfers by logging into the US account online.  Logging on from a VN IP address does not seem to be a problem.  You definitely want to transfer $$ into the USD account then swap the funds into the VND account.  You can transfer directly from Citi US to VND but for some strange reason the exchange rate is worse that way.  My theory is that it is the NY rate rather than the rate in VN.  Neither rate is great but exchanging after the money is already in VN is acceptable.

Yeah when I came over last year I thought I could get a Citi account in Saigon. But evidently they changed some laws and I was at clean out of luck! By about a month or so the people at the Saigon Branch told me. Oh well it is what it is! For me I'm trying to figure out what the best Vietnamese bank is to have to transfer money from u.s. Bank to Vietnamese Bank. Or is it better to pull money out in Dong from Citibank and then put it into a Vietnamese Bank? My point is to try to get away from foreign transaction fees that I get charged when I use my Citibank debit card

Your profile says you are "in a relationship."  Assuming it is with a VN woman, why not have her open the Citi VN account, transfer to that account, and have her take out the funds for you, or both of you as the case may be?  That is what my wife and I did before we were legally married.  I am assuming that you are talking money for monthly living expenses and not house buying money.   :joking:   If the relationship does not work out, you can always go back to your present method.  There is no way to access the US account from the VN account.

OceanBeach92107 :

After the most recent comprehensive update from The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, this (edited) update followed. This info, along with [at]Budman1's two posts (also just reposted) should provide all the information needed by U.S. Social Security payment recipients:

OceanBeach92107 :

1. This Direct Deposit information is for those who plan to make Vietnam their formal RESIDENCE (temporary or permanent) in the eyes of the Social Security Administration (SSA) AND your bank in Vietnam.

Quoting the Embassy newsletter: "for U.S. citizens RESIDING outside of the United States" and "individuals RESIDING in Vietnam who require social security services or have questions about SSA benefits must contact the SSA Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) located in Manila, Philippines, rather than Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City".

2. You must provide a personal address in Vietnam to the U.S. Social Security Administration in order for them to approve direct deposit payments to a bank in Vietnam.

3. The bank in Vietnam must be a Vietnam Đồng account. Some people are talking here about Vietnam bank accounts in U.S. dollars. Those dollar accounts are NOT eligible for International Direct Deposit (IDD).

Quote: "the U.S. Treasury Department can only make payments in Vietnamese Dong. Therefore, please ensure that the payment account is in Vietnamese Dong and not U.S. Dollars"

4. Quote: "The U.S. Treasury Department can make payments to almost all banks
within the country. SSA does not have a list of host-country banks. In the rare event that a bank is not listed, SSA office will notify the client who will need to open an account at another bank
."

We know that Agribank works.

Some posters have mentioned that certain banks DO NOT accept SSA IDD payments, HOWEVER, it is not clear whether the posters are referring to Đồng accounts or Dollar accounts.

5. When attempting to open an account for this purpose, it is advised (by many) to bring along a Vietnamese friend who can help you clearly communicate your intent to receive US GOVERNMENT direct deposit payments.

Because Vietnamese banks closely track the origins of deposits, you MIGHT only be able to open a zero-balance account, to eventually be funded by electronic transfers, not cash.

If you discover an exception to this information, please enlighten us all, IF the new information directly relates to the subject of this sticky thread.

Anyone is welcome to send me Private Messages for off-topic questions. I probably won't know the answer to your question, but I'll do my best to get you pointed in the right direction to find an answer.

O.B.

As if today, June 11, 2019, this information is current

Well thanks for the information I had no idea the profile said I was in a relationship! I'm going to need to look at that!

Thanks for sharing.  I was wondering about this for viếtnam

12 years retired in Vietnam have never meet a USA citizen who was authorized by SSA.GOV paid staf at Manila Philippine to receive SSA.GOV  USA Treasury checks, delivered to Vietnam outside of the two USA Embassy locations. The USA Treasury issued  SSA.GOV money was
delivered to Thailand from a Thailand bank FDIC registered in New York city and the rest of Asia was issued paper checks delivered to USA Embassy locations...  The USA Embassy starting 2017 no longer offer
USA Treasury check delivers at their American Citizen Services window
and the people who receive SSA.GOV money are re-routing the money from their USA family / friend / Power Of Atoorney house resident
established ATM bank accounts... The OTP security phone pin numbers   
are used to identify SSA customers from a USA established resident location. The Manila SSA.GOV staff are instructed to also use a phone
contact with SSA.GOV customers but can not verify a Vietnam resident location with a Vietnam resident bank address.. The Vietnam resident bank address is lost in translation when values over 10,000 become
the responsible audited trail report from a Vietnam bank back to the Internal Revenue Service to setup parts of a FDIC membership...

Manila SSA.GOV FBU hasno information and jurisdiction over SSA.GOV delivery of USA Treasury checks to Asia as the only working solution
is the Thailand New York bank that exchange USD then wire into a
resident established Thailand bank account...

I am not sure however if the Vietnam banks open a USA certified FDIC
regulated office inside the USA then perhaps USDA Treasury checks
can be routed after conversion to VND and delivered to a VND established resident bank account.. The other problem is establishing a Vietnam resident bank account with a working phone and house delivery number that FDIC SSA USA Treasury recognizes traceable secure

As an old retiored USA citizen I have tried working with SSA Manila
to collect years of money benefits lost forever inside a closed loop
rerun of USA identity verifications delivered to SSA.GOV International
certified at USA Vietnam embassy... The story ends at the USA embassy
who has accepted only one obligatiopn and responsibility that is to verify stamp SSA demanded papers requested by SSA Manila even deliver the
papers to Manila... From what happens after Manila to the USA Treasury and policy and proceedures of regulated excuses to stop delivery outside the USA homeland.... The USA Embassy is not paid by SSA.GOV and the USA Embassy is not paid employed by the USA Treasury, each division and branch are isolated having no idea how to interface with
SSA.GOV citizen service solutuions outside the USA homeland...

The lucky people who routine travel back and forth to USA  still have a resident family  address in the USA  can continue to collect their SSA.GOV bank  deposit then use Vietnam ATM.  12 years the only bank that I located with a re-routed exchange direct deposit out of New York City is Bangkok Bank Thailand....

It would be refreshing to get a fresh story from an EXPAT who is receiving  focused on SSA.GOV money delivered into Vietnam with specific details of what they did how they did and instruct others to
follow real proven active USA Treasury SSA.GOV routed  delivery 

Apology for long ramblings it is raining outside and just finished a bottle of Dalat red... onward and forward

Great info. Thanks

New topic