Transferring Money INTO Vietnam

I've seen a lot of posts by people trying to get money out of Vietnam, I've got a few questions for those of you that have transferred money in.

I posted yesterday about buying some land, this is related to that but it's about the banking side.  I don't have much experience with banking in general, so whatever I know is from research and asking questions so far.

I opened up a USD account with a Vietnamese bank.  They told me I can transfer money into it from international accounts, and back to international accounts from this account.  I can walk into the bank and take money out of it after 30 days without a fee.  I checked the transfer rates in and out, they look pretty fair.  The limitation is, once I take the money out, I can't put it back in, even if I'm standing right there at the counter with the money and I change my mind.  I can't make any deposits into it from cash in hand or from within the country.  I think it's just for legit employers that may have license to deposit into for USD salary or for me to deposit into and out of from international accounts.

I planned to use this account to transfer money in for a land purchase.   I would be transferring in between 50-100k depending on what I decide to buy, but probably not all at once, and only withdrawing what I need for the purchase.  I explained this to the person I opened my account with and she said it's fine for this, but I can't transfer the money to any Vietnamese person's bank account, I actually have to come in and take out the money myself.  I elected not to get an ATM card because the withdrawals would be large.

Does this sound about right, or should I be doing this differently?  Are there any Vietnamese reporting forms or taxes involved with transferring money into my bank here from accounts abroad.  As a US citizen, on the US side of things, I think I have to file a form with the IRS for the year for having a foreign account with more than 10k, and forms for any transfers over 10k, but I don't know about the Vietnamese government/banking side.

Thanks in advance.

I refuse to use (any) bank, anywhere.

But that is my (cynical & suspicious) perspective.

All you need do is research (all) the (many) previous posts
regarding 'Banking in Viet Nam'.   Scary stuff...

You have every right to be afraid: very afraid...      :whistle:
.

Agree with the Baz

Use Western Union

I've looked at some of the older posts, but they have conflicting info.

Some people say Western Union.

Some people report trouble with banks out in smaller cities and provinces. 

A post by Yogi said he lives off money drawn from foreign accounts and advised against Western Union.

Some other people were doing things like losing their ATM cards, having trouble with ATM machines, trying to deposit money from who knows where off the street, or trying to send money out of the country.

My wife has Viet-Kieu relatives that sent money in to buy grandmom some land and a house.  I can see how they did it.

The transfer fee into my Vietcom USD account from overseas is .05% + there may be a small per transfer flat fee.  The numbers they gave me when I opened my account line up with their online fee schedule for inward international transfers.  There is no fee on withdrawals on money after 30 days post transfer.

I asked a lot of questions when I opened the account, and I used my US passport and wrote my name down letter for letter to match it, but I guess I should be worried what if they won't let me withdraw my money or send it back to my US account because my middle name isn't capitalized or something.

I'm trying to use the price estimator for Western Union but having trouble with it.  My guess is it's going to be higher than 0.05%?

Anyone here transfer money from USD accounts back home to here recently without trouble?  WU or Banks?

mtgmike :

My wife has Viet-Kieu relatives that sent money in to buy grandmom some land and a house.  I can see how they did it.

Are you saying you cannot understand how they did it, or are you saying you understand the procedure perfectly but don't want to use the same method?

This is how it has been done for more than 40 years:  The Overseas Vietnamese gives USD to a Vietnamese agent in their home country.  The agent's affiliation in Vietnam hands the pre-agreed equivalence in either gold or VND (commission is paid by the sender) to the family here.  There are always business records of the transactions, but they often are not reported to either government.  Therefore, no one paid tax.

Disclaimer:  The above explanation is NOT an endorsement of the procedure, which is illegal in most countries.

Why did you open a USD account if you want to pay land with VND?

Don't believe everything the eternal skeptics here in the forum say.

I've only had the best experiences with Vietnamese banks so far.
The procedures both via e-banking and at the counter are very secure.
I have transferred many times money from my account in my home country to the Vietnamese VND account.
From there I have transferred money to other Vietnamese bank accounts via e-banking.
Or I transfered money to other Vietnamese people via e-banking or from the bank counter (e.g. for a property or a car).
I can also transfer money to my wife's VND account.

I only know that it is not possible to deposit cash into my account and that Vietnamese nationals cannot transfer money to a foreigner's account.
Transferring money from a Vietnamese bank account to my home country is something I have never done before, so I can't tell if it's possible.

If you not trust Vietnamese banks, transfer just what you need to buy land.
Or transfer the rest of the money to your wife's account (that would work if you would had a VND account).
Recently, almost all of our transactions have been made through my wife's bank account.
Because if we sell something (e.g. a property or a car), the Vietnamese buyers can't transfer the money to my account.
So it is easiest if the money is transferred from a sale to her account and is transferred from her account to the seller at the next purchase.
The prerequisites for this are of course that you trust your wife.  :)

https://transferwise.com

highly recommendable!

Take a look at Transferwise - seems to be a Fidelity service

https://transferwise.com/us/

Send $1000.00 USD to Vietnam for $8.45

23,010,259 VND is deposited to your Vietnamese bank account.

Current exchange rate is ₫ 23,344,001.41 VND for $1000 USD

I have yet to try this but need to find something VERY SOON

What I have found on ExPat is very confusing and/or conflicting.

I have Viet family in the US and Saigon and will get it sorted when I get there in Dec

[at]Jim-Minh:  It's no big deal when you transfer from your US account to your VN account.  The money is yours, you don't pay tax in either country and no need to report to the Treasury's FinCEN  if it's under $10,000.  You can use money transfer services that charge a percentage, or you can use Schwab for a flat rate of $25 no matter the amount.

If you maintain two accounts (as I did with Sacombank, a USD account and a VND account), then you can receive and keep USD intact until you need to exchange into VND.

The complication happens only when you transfer money from your US account to someone else's VN account.  The receiver may have to pay tax on the income.  That's why Overseas Vietnamese do it the interpersonal way.  They either use agents or pay the individual in the States, for instance, and the VN counterpart will pay back in gold or VND.  This works very well for families in VN whose children attending colleges in the States or Canada.  The semester tuition and monthly upkeep that they have to send from VN is taken from your USD, then they reimburse you (or your loved ones) in VND for your living expense here.

BTW, reporting to FinCEN is not a big deal either, just a simple form to fill out and documents to explain the transfer.  I did that twice when buying, then later, selling our home in Italy.  When you had a legitimate reason, no one blinked at the size of the transfer.

Jim-Minh :

Take a look at Transferwise - seems to be a Fidelity service

https://transferwise.com/us/

Send $1000.00 USD to Vietnam for $8.45

23,010,259 VND is deposited to your Vietnamese bank account.

Current exchange rate is ₫ 23,344,001.41 VND for $1000 USD

I have yet to try this but need to find something VERY SOON

What I have found on ExPat is very confusing and/or conflicting.

I have Viet family in the US and Saigon and will get it sorted when I get there in Dec

When you transfer USD 100000 like the OP want, the fee is near USD 1000.

For high amount of money, TransferWise is expensive. But the currency exchange rate is not bad.

Thanks a lot, this is the information I was looking for.  I think I'll be going through my bank with either the USD account or the VND account depending on what they have to say about a few things.

Ciambella - Your simple transfer mechanism makes sense. Evidently there are several levels of money transfer and if I want to tap my American account for living expenses then there is no problem.

If the transfer is not a problem, why don't people just pay cash to make their purchases? Is there benefit in obfuscating the procedure?

Có phải không? (Is that true?)

I am beginning to think I need to transition into living in VN slowly and not hit the ground running.  I need to simplify this first iteration of transitioning into being a citizen of VN. I am scaling back my goals

I took a tour of Da Lat in '16 and had a whole bus load of friends when I got back to Saigon. Every trip i've made before and after was the same. Wonderful people with few exceptions.

Exception - I went to Phú Quốc recently and the VN TSA asked me if I was wearing a money belt. Dumb sh*t here took off his money belt and let the ong ghe run it through the machine - after he lifted $100 from my belt. Don't fall for that trick - there was no metal in my belt and no reason to take it off. I lost another $100 in a currency conversion trick. Be ever vigilant.

I think I'll just use this first really casual of eight trips to VN to accomplish my goal of becoming fluent in Vietnamese and not just partially literate. This trip is for me.

I am here to tell you that Vietnamese girlfriends have a vested interest in keeping their foreign boyfriends Vietnamese-illiterate.

It is so much fun listening to Viets when they have no Idea that you understand what they are saying. It is a constant source of entertainment for me - but I make absolutely sure they do not lose face in the process.

What is really important is the appreciation I get for learning their language. I can make a Viet friend in a heartbeat. All I have to do is to make sure they understand they are my equal and they have my respect.

Jim-Minh :

I need to simplify this first iteration of transitioning into being a citizen of VN. I am scaling back my goals

Unless you are using the term citizen loosely, you need to scale back your idea of becoming a VN citizen.  Although on paper there is more than one way to become a citizen, in reality naturalizations of foreigners are very rare.  The exception is Viet Kieu, even second generation.   In general Vietnam seems to subscribe to the concept of jus sanguinis (right of blood).  One notable exception is if you do something great for the country and for socialism.  I suggest you endeavor to coach the Viet football (soccer) team to victory in the World Cup.  Sorry to say it, but that is just about as likely to happen as your obtaining citizenship.

Scratch citizen and substitute resident.

Jim-Minh :

If the transfer is not a problem, why don't people just pay cash to make their purchases?

People do pay cash for everything.  For buying / selling properties between individuals, the preferred payment is a combination of cash and gold.

Jim-Minh :

Is there benefit in obfuscating the procedure?

The fewer people know about your finance, the fewer problems you'll have to face.

Jim-Minh :

I am beginning to think I need to transition into living in VN slowly and not hit the ground running.

Even without any problems with the language, custom, and culture, in my own evaluation I still have yet to seriously consider myself a full-fledged local.  I still have to switch back and forth between Vietnamese and Western ways of thinking; still have to check my reactions and standards on social value, etc. 

Hit the ground running?  I would rather paraphrase Ol' Blue Eyes:  Hold your horses / Let's make all the stops along the way / To rush would be a crime / Slow and easy does it every time.

As always, Si Bella nails it...   (Ok, my take...)      :blink:

"If the map doesn't agree with the ground, the map is wrong"
                                                                         -  Too soon Old; Too late Smart  -
.

I dated a very dear Viet lady for ten years. And like you said "The fewer people know about your finance, the fewer problems you'll have to face."  Strike finance and insert life. That relationship was ruined by outsiders. But I digress.
This girl was extremely smart and a great businesswoman. She expressed all of her finances in terms of ounces of gold. She told me about buying rice from the previous harvest and holding it until just before the next harvest. She could then sell her rice at a very good price at a time of low supply and high demand.
My favorite story was her escape from VN by boat. It took three tries.  Each attempt was paid for with gold. She made it out on her third try. The Thai boat captain got the boat near shore and told the passengers to jump off the boat. LMAO - she was no dummy - she had no clue about how deep the water was so she shoved the captain overboard. When he stood up in chest-deep water she knew it was safe to go.

Ciambella - thanks for the sage advice, it is appreciated.

I have a bank account on HSBC  USD and VND also Euro, I have brought several times etc .120K $ but there was nothing wrong and don't have to pay for Tax in Vietnam or USA,  But in Vietnam, they charge 0.22% every single withdrawing.  Also, I have transferred many countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the USA using my Vietnam account; there was nothing wrong. I think for you the safer way to bring money from your account to personal account under your name, the bank will be a good option.

Andy Passenger :

When you transfer USD 100000 like the OP want, the fee is near USD 1000.

For high amount of money, TransferWise is expensive. But the currency exchange rate is not bad.

This is correct.  I transferred $50,000 USD in June and the fee was about $498 with Transferwise.  It was my first transaction and I wanted to be sure it got there correctly.  The better exchange negates a lot of the fee since it is traded at mid-market price.  Today's exchange rate is 23,010,751 including the fees to transfer.  That quote is the net with a $1,000 transaction.


From
    John R

Amount paid (fee included)
    50,000 USD

Converted and sent to: John R
    1,133,471,587 VND

Fee
    498.02 USD

Here's my 2 cents' worth of advice:
1. Whatever transfer method you choose, send a small amount first to make sure it arrives safely. Believe it or not I made 2 transfers to Vietnam that never arrived, they eventually bounced back but it took a lot of chasing and for a couple of weeks the money was literally untraceable. Luckily I also only transferred a small amount, so it was annoying, but I didn't loose any sleep over it. I'm not sure I'd sleep well if a $100K transfer vanished into thin air... And yes the transfer was via SWIFT but it failed twice, I didn't try a third time with that particular route. I tried another source and target bank and it went through swiftly :) (albeit with a stiff fee).
2. I would transfer USD to the vietnamese account, whether the Vietnamese account is in VND or USD. Generally the Vietnamese banks give fairly decent exchange rates, likely better than Transferwise, Western union etc.
3. Be sure to keep all records of the transfer, forever, as you'll need these if one day you want to get your money out again (which is possible, as long as everything is documented and any increase in value is legal, ie tax paid if it is due).


In summary I think a Swift transfer will be best, but try a small amount first. Also try to go with one of the bigger state-owned banks maybe, they're less likely to fail (deposit insurance is very low). But Vietnamese banks are being upgraded by credit agencies at the moment, so that's reassuring.

The small 1st transfer amount is a very good idea for any mechanism. A test almost always pays for anything with the exception of interpersonal relationships.

Records never hurt for any legal activity. :D

I found that Fidelity has an account that functions similar to that of Schwab where the ATM fees are reimbursed. I've got information coming and will report.

Fidelity Cash Management Account
Fidelity has made managing your cash and spending easier with no account fees, automatic reimbursement of all ATM fees, and cash management features that can help you stay fully invested.

Online - https://click.fidelityinvestments.com/? … f144440ef3

Paper - https://click.fidelityinvestments.com/? … f144440ef3

ATM machine specific fees are not reimbursed (If I  understand correctly)

Where is a recommended ATM machine in District 1?

My fiance's house is near Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai street.

I've used transferwise a number of times to transfer 10K with no issues

I do not endorse any money transfer method, I am listing what I do.

I keep it as simple as possible:
I trust my wife - send money as required to her account.
I trust my friend in Philippines - send money as required into their account.

I use OrbitRemit $4 AUD fee and good exchange rate (best I have come across).  I researched many other methods and this has been the best - if someone finds anything better - please let me know. 

Most exchange rates are disgustingly low, because banks and remit businesses gain extra money due to their lousy exchange rates that they offer.

And trying to obtain SWIFTCODES from Vietnam has not been possible (no one knows what I'm talking about).

herbj :

And trying to obtain SWIFTCODES from Vietnam has not been possible (no one knows what I'm talking about).

Try looking here:   https://www.theswiftcodes.com/vietnam/

I only used the SWIFT code system once when the Citibank free in house transfer system (CGT) was temporarily suspended for Vietnam.  It worked fine with Citi but I can't say about other banks.  Most do have codes however.

Jim-Minh :

Where is a recommended ATM machine in District 1?

My fiance's house is near Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai street.

Use google maps: "HSBC", "Citibank", "atm".
Foreign ATMs dispense more per transaction.

TigerPlease :

I've used transferwise a number of times to transfer 10K with no issues

Can you tell me how your money that you transfer with TransferWise is declared on your bank account in Vietnam?

On my Vietnamese bank account it is declared as "Salary".
My Vietnamese bank has said that this is declared by the sender (TransferWise) and that they have no influence on it.

I don't want the Vietnamese tax office suddenly contact me about this.  Because the money is not from an income.

Andy Passenger :
TigerPlease :

I've used transferwise a number of times to transfer 10K with no issues

Can you tell me how your money that you transfer with TransferWise is declared on your bank account in Vietnam?

On my Vietnamese bank account it is declared as "Salary".
My Vietnamese bank has said that this is declared by the sender (TransferWise) and that they have no influence on it.

I don't want the Vietnamese tax office suddenly contact me about this.  Because the money is not from an income.

I presume he is talking about an international transfer into Viet Nam, which is not subjected to the same rules as depositing in-country.

colinoscapee :
Andy Passenger :
TigerPlease :

I've used transferwise a number of times to transfer 10K with no issues

Can you tell me how your money that you transfer with TransferWise is declared on your bank account in Vietnam?

On my Vietnamese bank account it is declared as "Salary".
My Vietnamese bank has said that this is declared by the sender (TransferWise) and that they have no influence on it.

I don't want the Vietnamese tax office suddenly contact me about this.  Because the money is not from an income.

I presume he is talking about an international transfer into Viet Nam, which is not subjected to the same rules as depositing in-country.

Yes, you're right.  It was a mistake in thinking.

I assume that in Vietnam only an income generated in Vietnam has to be taxed.

I have just transferred funds to my GF's bank account. My Bank in US converts it to VND.

And I assume that onece yuo check in, you can't check out. Meaning I would not plan on bringing any money out.

Wxx3 :

And I assume that onece yuo check in, you can't check out. Meaning I would not plan on bringing any money out.

There is some way to do it depending on how it was coded and you have a paper trail.  In my case Transferwise asked the reason for the large transfer to Vietnam and I said it was to pay mortgage. That was logged on the Transferwise site so I have documentation if I want to take that money back out some day that the initial amount would be exempt from tax.  Any capital gains would be taxable.

Wxx3 :

And I assume that onece yuo check in, you can't check out. Meaning I would not plan on bringing any money out.

Sort of like Hotel California  :cool:

'Relax' said the night man,
'We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!'

.."But you can never leave!"...

    ..sort of saying, "we got your back"...

..depending on how much "Front" you have...        :cool:

There is no such thing as a foolproof system

We all have our ways...      :whistle:

Wxx3 :

I have just transferred funds to my GF's bank account. My Bank in US converts it to VND.

I cannot transfer VND from my bank in my home country.
In my case this is done automatically via an intermediary bank which converts the currency.  My Vietnamese bank then receives VND.

I recently found that my Vietnamese bank automatically deducts 0.045% from the VND amount without any information.
I had previously assumed that the Vietnamese bank itself did not charge any fees for incoming money.
I have now also seen it in the bank's account cost listing.
I must have overlooked that before.  :)

herbj :

I do not endorse any money transfer method, I am listing what I do.

I keep it as simple as possible:
I trust my wife - send money as required to her account.
I trust my friend in Philippines - send money as required into their account.

I use OrbitRemit $4 AUD fee and good exchange rate (best I have come across).  I researched many other methods and this has been the best - if someone finds anything better - please let me know. 

Most exchange rates are disgustingly low, because banks and remit businesses gain extra money due to their lousy exchange rates that they offer.

And trying to obtain SWIFTCODES from Vietnam has not been possible (no one knows what I'm talking about).

That's strange, I never had any issue getting SWIFT codes from either of the 2 Vietnamese banks. With one bank they were even printed on the branch business cards!

jonasp :
herbj :

I do not endorse any money transfer method, I am listing what I do.

I keep it as simple as possible:
I trust my wife - send money as required to her account.
I trust my friend in Philippines - send money as required into their account.

I use OrbitRemit $4 AUD fee and good exchange rate (best I have come across).  I researched many other methods and this has been the best - if someone finds anything better - please let me know. 

Most exchange rates are disgustingly low, because banks and remit businesses gain extra money due to their lousy exchange rates that they offer.

And trying to obtain SWIFTCODES from Vietnam has not been possible (no one knows what I'm talking about).

That's strange, I never had any issue getting SWIFT codes from either of the 2 Vietnamese banks. With one bank they were even printed on the branch business cards!

Geez, I just type in "swift code" and the name of the bank into Google and up it comes. Fairly complicated process.

THIGV :
Wxx3 :

And I assume that onece yuo check in, you can't check out. Meaning I would not plan on bringing any money out.

Sort of like Hotel California  :cool:

'Relax' said the night man,
'We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!'

Or do you remember Roach Motel?  :cool:  :cool:

https://pixen.netlify.com/pix/roachmotel.jpg

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