Opening Bank Account

I know there are already several topics on this but mines a little different situation. I'm looking to relocate to Vietnam for long-term stay specifically in HCMC. Currently I'm in the process looking for an apartment rental for at least a year. I have the five year VISA exemption. Some friends have recommended to open a bank account to handle things like with rent and bills. I want to avoid pulling out so much money at the atm. You never know who may be watching. I only plan to transfer funds from my US bank account via wire transfers. With my bank it's $30 for international wires.

How difficult is it to open a bank account and does it matter which bank you choose? The apartment I'm interested in has Vietcombank on the business floor so I suppose ideally this bank just for convenience.

If you open a Charles Schwab acct in the US then your wire transfer fee is free as CS will reimburse the cost.

As for local banks in VN stick to international known ones for better services and English speaking bankers, and the ease of doing wire transfers.

We are in a very similar situation. We use Citibank. You can see what I posted about this in this thread...

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.p … 97#3814178

Also, FYI, Citibank allows you to withdraw from Vietcombank ATMs with no fees (as well as many other banks in VN).

Yoda0807 :

If you open a Charles Schwab acct in the US then your wire transfer fee is free as CS will reimburse the cost.

"My" Charles Schwab high yield checking account charges a flat fee of $25.00 for wire transfers.

All ATM fees worldwide are rebated to my account on my monthly statement.

The Schwab VISA debit ATM card does not charge foreign transaction fees, though I avoid using it to "charge" anything, since if it gets hacked, that's my primary bank account.

Ditto (on what OceanBeach said).  Schwab charges $25 flat fee for wire transfers.  No reimbursement.

Both correct.  My bad.  Yes, atm charges are reimbursed but my wire fees are free; I guess due to “type” of account and relationship I’ve had for many years.

Actually I just opened a Charles Schwab checking account today. The high yield checking account solely for the purpose of no atm fees. Planning to transfer some funds into this account only for making atm withdrawals. Definitely not going to use my debit card from my primary US bank account unless total emergency.

So it's pretty safe to say using Vietcombank is okay? I really don't mind the wire fee as it's quite reasonable (Wells Fargo) as I only plan to use it to pay for monthly rent and bills.

daftshadow :

I know there are already several topics on this but mines a little different situation.

No, same situation as everyone. Money is overseas, how do I pay bills here?

daftshadow :

I want to avoid pulling out so much money at the atm. You never know who may be watching.

You feel it is safer to go into the bank and get your 12.000.000 to 24.000.000 VND from the teller, than use the ATM at the bank where there is a guard? (The ATM is inside the lobby of my local HSBC).
In either case, you will have to walk home with that thick wad of cash, because rent and utilities are paid in cash here. I don't feel like there are so many robbers milling about ATMs that I have to follow extraordinary precautions. I also don't bank on Bui Vien.

I certainly wouldn't enjoy going to a teller for money, did that one time to change dollars to dong. Wait in line, watch Vietnamese go ahead of you, show passport, try to explain in English, they send a younger girl over. She explains to manager, rejects several of my bills, calculates the conversion factor, counts the money at least twice.
Nah, I love ATMs as long as my Schwab card doesn't break!

Everything Gobot said ^^   :top: including the part about your situation is a little different. 

We withdraw approximately 20M each month from ATM. Husband puts the money in a zippered or velcro pocket of his cargo shorts, and we walk home (don't own a motorbike).  Never once that I felt uneasy about it.  I feel much safer withdrawing money from ATM here than in Los Angeles, unless my car was parked right in front of the machine in LA.

BTW, the tellers calculate the conversion using a hand held calculator, the same kind sold for 99 cents at Dollar General stores in the States.  I would rather pay my rent in USD than accepting the rate they give me.  With ATM, I know for certain that Schwab will adjust the rate, which has been for my benefits every time.

daftshadow :

Some friends have recommended to open a bank account to handle things like with rent and bills.

Even with a VN account, you still need to withdraw cash to pay rent and bills.  What's the difference?
(*Some* landlords allow you to transfer money to pay rent, but not utility bills because those go onto a different page in their ledger.)

Gotcha, thanks for your input.

Ciambella :

Everything Gobot said ^^   :top: including the part about your situation is a little different. 

We withdraw approximately 20M each month from ATM. Husband puts the money in a zippered or velcro pocket of his cargo shorts, and we walk home (don't own a motorbike).  Never once that I felt uneasy about it.  I feel much safer withdrawing money from ATM here than in Los Angeles, unless my car was parked right in front of the machine in LA.

BTW, the tellers calculate the conversion using a hand held calculator, the same kind sold for 99 cents at Dollar General stores in the States.  I would rather pay my rent in USD than accepting the rate they give me.  With ATM, I know for certain that Schwab will adjust the rate, which has been for my benefits every time.

daftshadow :

Some friends have recommended to open a bank account to handle things like with rent and bills.

Even with a VN account, you still need to withdraw cash to pay rent and bills.  What's the difference?
(*Some* landlords allow you to transfer money to pay rent, but not utility bills because those go onto a different page in their ledger.)

thanks! guess i know what to do now.

Ciambella wrote:
Even with a VN account, you still need to withdraw cash to pay rent and bills.  What's the difference?

Draftshadow, the difference is that you can go to a branch and withdraw cash if you need more than a few million dong (.e.g. to buy a motorcycle).

In addition, nowadays you can pay many things by bank transfer (motorbike, car, real estate, rent, power, cell phone top-up, etc.).
With 2 of 3 landlords I could pay the rent by bank transfer and at the current place I can also pay the electricity bill via e-banking.

You wrote that you want to live here for a few years. Then Vietnamese bank accounts make sense (also in combination with the highly praised Schwab account).

If you open an account with Vietkom Bank (as you mentioned in the opening post) or TIMO-Bank (VPBank), you can open term deposit accounts (in realtime) via e-banking and receive between 4 and 8% interest after the term is elapsed.

If you want to transfer money from the USA, the fee of 30$ is only high if you transfer small amounts.

If you really want to live in Vietnam for a few years, I also advise you to distribute your money to two of the Vietnamese top banks as a precaution (e.g. Vietcombank and TIMO-Bank (VPBank).

https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/r … n-vietnam/

Timo Bank is a great local option. I have also been very happy with ACB. Both offer good and easy to use online platforms. Timo has a very good mobile app too.

LOL, most ATMs have a limit of 2 Million VND, less than $ 100. And Vietcombank has the lowest withdrawal fees AFAIK.

HSBC has branches. STANDARD CHARTERED's ad popped up next to this thread. $ 6,000 or was it 6,000 GBP minimum deposit to open the account?

Chris

I have a question regarding opening a bank account in HCMC Vietnam. I have been offered a position in HCMC Vietnam.

Can I open a HSBC bank account in HCMC Vietnam as my salary account despite having my HSBC bank account frozen due to certain reason in my home country? Does it affect my bank account opening?

Thanks in advance.

yes it does matter which banks. Some are hopeless re service and money transfers.. others are not.

BIDV is the best. Do not use Vietcom Bank.... always a hassle....






- Inactive account-

You can try Timo account. It is powered by VP Bank. You only need your passport and visa.  just visit their website timo.vn

Don't ever open an account with HD Bank. They don't communicate well with customer.

Last year my Viettel phone number code changed from five digits to four. HD Bank did not warn me about this. After the changeover, i couldn't do any online transactions (e.g. top up mobile) as I couldn't receive the OTP code.

When I asked branch staff, she simply printed out the notice sent by Government well before the changeover. The notice actually warns the bank to inform customers about the changeover.

They've now decided to change their debit card to 'CHIP' enabled since 01 April 2019. I Received an sms one month before the change. the SMS doesn't say anything about the old card being disabled after 01 April. I reckoned it might be so visited a branch soon after receiving sms. Branch staff were clueless.

Now I've reached out to support staff via email (as I'm in Malaysia), to ask how to make Viettel mobile top-up without active bank card. One of their suggestions is to visit a vietnamese embassy and appoint a power of attorney. Then that power of attorney has to bring document to HD bank branch to carry out transaction. There is no phone banking (so I cannot transfer money from my HD Bank account to sacom bank account after passing security on telephone support line).

My latest email to tell them what happened (with me visiting HD Branch and them being clueless) was responded to with quite a terse/impolite 'we do not want to repeat...this will be the final reply...'. Needless to say, must be some sớm tốt behind a desk.

BTW: I've also had issues with their per transaction sms notifications:
https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=781007

Why is it HD bank job to inform you of a Viettel change.
Ive banked with HD for 9 years with minmal problems. You want serious hassles use a govt owned bank.

colinoscapee :

Why is it HD bank job to inform you of a Viettel change.
Ive banked with HD for 9 years with minmal problems. You want serious hassles use a govt owned bank.

It's not a Viettel change per se. I think the change happened across other providers also.
There used to be a notice on sbv.gov.vn

but it says '403 forbidden' when I try to access it now. But here's what it said (I've retrieved it using my locally cached copy):

Information concerning transition of 11-digit phone numbers to 10 digits
09/13/2018

On May 25, 2018, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) issued Decision No.798/QD-BTTTT on the transition of network codes and planning of telecommunication numbers. Accordingly, from September 15, 2018, 11-digit phone numbers will be switched to 10 digits


Therefore, all banks are also required to carry out the data transition (code part of the 11-digit mobile numbers) due to the fact that 11-digit phone numbers of their customers are stored in the customer service records of the banks.

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has considered the impacts of the phone number transition, measures of supporting the transition in the banking sector, and directed the banks to implement the following substances:

- Develop a transition plan in line with the transition schedule planned by the MIC and mobile telecommunications businesses;

- Proactively develop a suitable transition options, taking into account technological and electronic solutions (such as tools for customers to change telephone numbers via websites, Internet-Banking, Mobile- Banking, SMS-Banking ...) to ensure convenience for customers;

- Provide information and guidance for customers, and implement, ensure safe and smooth operations of banking services.

According to the information provided by the commercial banks with large numbers requiring to be switched, they have already developed solutions, tools and utilities to conduct the transition and to make updates of their customers’ mobile numbers.

Le Hang

Google carried out the changes automatically (I noticed my google account with Viettel number changed automatically and google sent me an email).

Each HD Bank branch was told via a circular from head office on 27 September 2018. Probably too late!. (notice date on SBV notice above - changes due to take place from 15 Sep 2018)

I've banked with Agri bank in the past (2016) and it was a joy. Regret having closed that account when I left vietnam for a bit, only to return.

I heard fee is very high for using vietnamese debit (or credit) card outside of Vietnam  (online payment on a foreign site, payment in a store abroad, etc.).
What do you think of this ? Do some of you use vietnamese bank card abroad ? What is your fee ?
With my Techcombank account, with Visa Platinum card, the fee will be over 4% (without including ATM fee in case of withdrawal).
It is very high...
It's the reason why I am looking for other experiences.
Thanks in advance :-)
Laurent

colinoscapee :

......
Ive banked with HD for 9 years .....

Is it a current account you have with HD bank? and does it charge a monthly fee?

sanooku :
colinoscapee :

......
Ive banked with HD for 9 years .....

Is it a current account you have with HD bank? and does it charge a monthly fee?

Yes, just 15k a month.

colinoscapee :
sanooku :
colinoscapee :

......
Ive banked with HD for 9 years .....

Is it a current account you have with HD bank? and does it charge a monthly fee?

Yes, just 15k a month.

I closed my HD bank current account today. Was paying 11k a month + 1.1k. I think the 1.1k is VAT (statement says 'THU VAT TRONG PHI - if my vietnamese is any good TRONG PHI means 'on fee', so VAT on Fee?)

That's not the main reason. Every time I deposited money, this also meant a small fee because my account holding branch was in Saigon and I'm miles away from there now. When I visited the HD bank branch where I'm now to do something, they would often have to contact the branch in Saigon by phone to ask for advice etc.

One time the branch where I'm now asked the saigon branch to process something and Saigon branch didn't do it. So had to visit local branch again and ask them to contact Saigon branch again.

Finally, thought screw this for a game of soldiers and closed account today.

sanooku :
colinoscapee :
sanooku :


Is it a current account you have with HD bank? and does it charge a monthly fee?

Yes, just 15k a month.

I closed my HD bank current account today. Was paying 11k a month + 1.1k. I think the 1.1k is VAT (statement says 'THU VAT TRONG PHI - if my vietnamese is any good TRONG PHI means 'on fee', so VAT on Fee?)

That's not the main reason. Every time I deposited money, this also meant a small fee because my account holding branch was in Saigon and I'm miles away from there now. When I visited the HD bank branch where I'm now to do something, they would often have to contact the branch in Saigon by phone to ask for advice etc.

One time the branch where I'm now asked the saigon branch to process something and Saigon branch didn't do it. So had to visit local branch again and ask them to contact Saigon branch again.

Finally, thought screw this for a game of soldiers and closed account today.

Pretty much all banks do that in VN. If your account is in another place, they charge you. VIB charged me 300k to take my own money out of the bank.

colinoscapee :

Pretty much all banks do that in VN. If your account is in another place, they charge you. VIB charged me 300k to take my own money out of the bank.

Were you aware of the 300k fee? and agree to it? or did you find out afterwards?

The HD bank fee was nowhere near. About 11k for deposit and withdrawal (if using other branch than your account holding branch).

But I think over time it can add-up to quite a bit. My sacombank account doesn't charge for deposits in non-account holding branch. Not sure if they they charge for over the counter withdrawals at non-account holding branch. Never really had to use it (apart from one/two times). Pretty much always use the card on a Sacombank ATM. (If I use other bank atm there is a fee of around 50k a pop for cash pull).

sanooku :
colinoscapee :

Pretty much all banks do that in VN. If your account is in another place, they charge you. VIB charged me 300k to take my own money out of the bank.

Were you aware of the 300k fee? and agree to it? or did you find out afterwards?

The HD bank fee was nowhere near. About 11k for deposit and withdrawal (if using other branch than your account holding branch).

But I think over time it can add-up to quite a bit. My sacombank account doesn't charge for deposits in non-account holding branch. Not sure if they they charge for over the counter withdrawals at non-account holding branch. Never really had to use it (apart from one/two times). Pretty much always use the card on a Sacombank ATM. (If I use other bank atm there is a fee of around 50k a pop for cash pull).

I was made aware of it when I went to withdraw it. Transferring from one bank to another local bank also cost 350k.

I just western union to vn costs $21us to move $1,000 us from my checking account. This might be bone headed but it has worked so far.

Barrboy :

I just western union to vn costs $21us to move $1,000 us from my checking account. This might be bone headed but it has worked so far.

I was doing the same but after totalling about £1500, WU refused to do any more until I provided them with additional proof of ID in the form of a utility bill or something with my UK address on it. Which was a problem as I had no such thing with me in VN.

Luckily I discovered I could use Transferwise to move money into my Viet girlfiend's Agribank account, for less than half the fees WU charge and at a much better exchange rate.

I am hoping she will not incur untoward scrutiny for this activity. She doesn't seem worried so fingers crossed.

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