Opening savings account in Vietnam

I have tried to update myself on the current rules for opening a savings account in a Vietnam bank.

A number of forums about bank accounts are dated--I am sure rules have changed.

Despite the fact many retirees are living in Vietnam, is it true that a work permit plus employment contract is required to open a bank account?

Am interested in simply using said account to receive my monthly SSA pension payment from the U.S.A.

Inconveniently, the SSA regional office in Manila refuses to provide me guidance on which banks they deal with in respect to direct-deposits of monthly pension payments.

I've been referred by others to a number of banks's websites (Vietcom, Vietin, HSBC, SACOM among others) and keep encountering the same "work permit" reqm't.

Surely people who are not running a business or currently employed--or holding a residency card-- are opening accounts in Vietnam these days?

Pls advise.

Lanna Prince :

I have tried to update myself on the current rules for opening a savings account in a Vietnam bank.

A number of forums about bank accounts are dated--I am sure rules have changed.

Despite the fact many retirees are living in Vietnam, is it true that a work permit plus employment contract is required to open a bank account?

Am interested in simply using said account to receive my monthly SSA pension payment from the U.S.A.

Inconveniently, the SSA regional office in Manila refuses to provide me guidance on which banks they deal with in respect to direct-deposits of monthly pension payments.

I've been referred by others to a number of banks's websites (Vietcom, Vietin, HSBC, SACOM among others) and keep encountering the same "work permit" reqm't.

Surely people who are not running a business or currently employed--or holding a residency card-- are opening accounts in Vietnam these days?

Pls advise.

Glad you started a new thread on this subject.

My own recent experiences have flipped my understanding of this issue.

Yes, in general, you have a pretty good understanding of what it takes to open a DOMESTIC account in Việt Nam Đồng.

Some of us have opened INTERNATIONAL accounts which are really prepaid debit card accounts.

I got mine at Asia Commercial Bank (ACB Bank)

There is a Swift code connected to that type of account, and in theory (I didn't try it yet) you can use it for direct deposits or wire transfers from outside the  country.

Maximum total balance allowed in my account is ₫200,000,000 VND

Up until a week ago, every bank told me that was the only kind of account I could open.

They all said I needed those requirements fulfilled in order to open a DOMESTIC account, because (they said) with a DOMESTIC account, the bank must be able to prove the origin of deposits.

With my INTERNATIONAL account, I can simply walk into the bank and add cash to my account (prepaid debit card).

Then I was speaking to the bank again a week ago, and I guess I asked my question (again) in a slightly different way.

I said that I didn't want the account for local (in Việt Nam) deposits.

I asked if I could have the account just for deposits coming from the U.S. Government.

She said YES!

She immediately opened the new DOMESTIC account for me. She even linked it with (NOT "To") the debit card account online, so I can do internet banking with one username online.

The account has a ZERO balance, but it is open.

I'm not allowed to add any cash to it.

However, I have the Swift code and account number and address to use for the main Đà Nẵng branch.

So once I fill out and submit the form, as long as SSA says they are an acceptable bank (the only way to know; read the sticky thread) ACB will accept the funds.

Further, she said I can wire transfer from Schwab as well, since they can trace the source of that money.

I'm thinking that a lot of the confusion about this issue has come from the many foreigners who are here working under the table, getting cash and looking for a bank account to use.

I think it's just a knee-jerk reaction on the part of the banks to say no you can't open an account unless you have these requirements fulfilled.

So it probably helps to make it very clear to them that you want to open an account for electronic funds transfer.

Individual Banks may still turn you down, but this experience has taught me that it is possible to open an account here just for the direct deposit of Social Security funds.

I'm asking ADMIN to move this thread from SAIGON to VIETNAM.

This issue is countrywide.

OceanBeach:

Thanks. Will digest this and get back to you if I have further questions or if new info comes my way on this subject.

Regards

LannaPrince

OceanBeach:

Thanks again for yesterday's explanatory on accounts.

When applying for a new bank account in VN, is it a requirement that one has a TRC?

It seems a retiree cannot obtain a TRC as he isn't working  in a company (employment contract frequently must be presented as well), hence a retiree cannot open a bank account?

LannaPrince

Lanna Prince :

When applying for a new bank account in VN, is it a requirement that one has a TRC?

A tourist visa is enough.

AndyPassenger:

Kindly advise which bank(s) are not requiring TRC's, and how recently was the account opened?

Many thanks.

LannaPrince

OceanBeach92107 :

Maximum total balance allowed in my account is ₫200,000,000 VND

Up until a week ago, every bank told me that was the only kind of account I could open.

They all said I needed those requirements fulfilled in order to open a DOMESTIC account, because (they said) with a DOMESTIC account, the bank must be able to prove the origin of deposits.

I have never seen a Vietnamese bank differentiate between domestic and international bank accounts.

According to you, I should have domestic bank accounts.
I had no problems opening a "domestic" bank account with three different Vietnamese banks.

I've never heard of a limit of 200 million dong.
I already had a much higher account balance.

Lanna Prince :

AndyPassenger:

Kindly advise which bank(s) are not requiring TRC's, and how recently was the account opened?

Many thanks.

LannaPrince

I opened a VND Current Account with Sacombank in HCMC in 2017 with a three-month tourist visa.

Thanks Andy Passenger.

Lanna Prince

Lanna Prince :

Thanks Andy Passenger.

Lanna Prince

I always say that for such things you should be accompanied by a Vietnamese friend/spouse.  Even if the bankers speak English, it is not the same as when two Vietnamese can talk.

I am a retiree, never had a TRC & have two accounts with local Vietnamese bank one in USD & one VND. Have debit card linked to the VND account & all obtained on a 3 months tourist visa in 2018. Only restriction I have on these accounts is that I can not pay into them in cash, but I can withdraw USD & VND also any interest earned on the principal can not be taken out of Vietnam if say I close the accounts & transfer the principal out of Vietnam.

Thanks for that alanJohnconnon:

Pray tell, with which bank?

I have been all over the net these past 2-3 weeks trying to sort out the transfer of my U.S. monthly pension via SSA direct-deposit into a VN bank and have run into one obstacle after another.

I must say SSA/Manila have not been the most helpful on that issue, but I do now have their SF to advise them of my new bank, when an account can be sorted out.

Many thanks again.

Lanna Prince

Lanna Prince :

OceanBeach:

Thanks again for yesterday's explanatory on accounts.

When applying for a new bank account in VN, is it a requirement that one has a TRC?

It seems a retiree cannot obtain a TRC as he isn't working  in a company (employment contract frequently must be presented as well), hence a retiree cannot open a bank account?

LannaPrince

I have the two bank accounts I mentioned.

I do not have a TRC

alanjohnconnon:

Will certainly agree with that. Thanks.

Lanna Prince

Lana Prince, I am with Sacombank

Thanks again, Ocean Beach!

Lanna Prince

alanjohnconnon:


Thanks for that bank name. It is not the first time I see Sacombank mentioned as easy to deal with.


Lanna Prince

Andy Passenger :
OceanBeach92107 :

Maximum total balance allowed in my account is ₫200,000,000 VND

Up until a week ago, every bank told me that was the only kind of account I could open.

They all said I needed those requirements fulfilled in order to open a DOMESTIC account, because (they said) with a DOMESTIC account, the bank must be able to prove the origin of deposits.

I have never seen a Vietnamese bank differentiate between domestic and international bank accounts.

According to you, I should have domestic bank accounts.
I had no problems opening a "domestic" bank account with three different Vietnamese banks.

I've never heard of a limit of 200 million dong.
I already had a much higher account balance.

I will be happy to provide my bank's phone number so you can call them and hear them tell you about the limits on my type of account

These are the important distinctions, Andy:

1. How did you open the accounts: with cash or electronic transfer?

2. Are you allowed to deposit cash or do deposits need to be an electronic transfer?

3. Do you know for a fact if your bank(s) accept U.S. Social Security direct deposits?

4. Can you provide the name of a qualifying bank to the OP?

That's what the OP needs to know.

It's not enough for him to open "an account".

He needs to be able to direct his U.S. Social Security payments to an account at a qualifying bank in Vietnamese Đồng.

Perhaps you could help him by telling him how your U.S. Social Security payments are direct deposited here?

Oh, wait...

Lanna Prince :

Thanks for that alanJohnconnon:

Pray tell, with which bank?

I have been all over the net these past 2-3 weeks trying to sort out the transfer of my U.S. monthly pension via SSA direct-deposit into a VN bank and have run into one obstacle after another.

I must say SSA/Manila have not been the most helpful on that issue, but I do now have their SF to advise them of my new bank, when an account can be sorted out.

Many thanks again.

Lanna Prince

I hope you noticed that no one who has replied so far is actually receiving direct deposits from the U.S. Social Security Administration into their Vietnam bank.

That is the main issue for you.

There are plenty of people here (including me, now) who will give you Andy's good advice to go with a Vietnamese friend to open an account.

THAT can happen, I am now able to confirm.

@BudMan1 is the first person who posted to the forum that he had successfully received U.S. Social Security direct deposit payments into his Vietnamese bank account.

He used Agribank.

Please re-read the entire sticky thread on the subject, where you will see his post (which I copied and reposted 2 more times) and go forth informed.

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=761380

Peace

OceanBeach92107 :

I will be happy to provide my bank's phone number so you can call them and hear them tell you about the limits on my type of account

These are the important distinctions, Andy:

1. How did you open the accounts: with cash or electronic transfer?
Cash (only 500k).

2. Are you allowed to deposit cash or do deposits need to be an electronic transfer?
Electronic transfer.

3. Do you know for a fact if your bank(s) accept U.S. Social Security direct deposits?
I guess I missed that in the first thread of the OP.

4. Can you provide the name of a qualifying bank to the OP?
I have good experience with Sacombank, but I don't know anything about U.S. Social Security payments.

That's what the OP needs to know.

It's not enough for him to open "an account".

He needs to be able to direct his U.S. Social Security payments to an account at a qualifying bank in Vietnamese Đồng.

Perhaps you could help him by telling him how your U.S. Social Security payments are direct deposited here?

Oh, wait...

1st question is what is your citizenship??It is a HUGE difference, if American.

Lanna Prince :

I have tried to update myself on the current rules for opening a savings account in a Vietnam bank.

A number of forums about bank accounts are dated--I am sure rules have changed.

Despite the fact many retirees are living in Vietnam, is it true that a work permit plus employment contract is required to open a bank account?

Am interested in simply using said account to receive my monthly SSA pension payment from the U.S.A.

Inconveniently, the SSA regional office in Manila refuses to provide me guidance on which banks they deal with in respect to direct-deposits of monthly pension payments.

I've been referred by others to a number of banks's websites (Vietcom, Vietin, HSBC, SACOM among others) and keep encountering the same "work permit" reqm't.

Surely people who are not running a business or currently employed--or holding a residency card-- are opening accounts in Vietnam these days?

Pls advise.

GuidoVN :

1st question is what is your citizenship??It is a HUGE difference, if American.

Lanna Prince :

I have tried to update myself on the current rules for opening a savings account in a Vietnam bank.

A number of forums about bank accounts are dated--I am sure rules have changed.  Daily

Despite the fact many retirees are living in Vietnam, is it true that a work permit plus employment contract is required to open a bank account?  Yes, for working age foreignersw

Am interested in simply using said account to receive my monthly SSA pension payment from the U.S.A.   Massively complicated.most bank staff are monkeys

Inconveniently, the SSA regional office in Manila refuses to provide me guidance on which banks they deal with in respect to direct-deposits of monthly pension payments.

I've been referred by others to a number of banks's websites (Vietcom, Vietin, HSBC, SACOM among others) and keep encountering the same "work permit" reqm't.Stay away from Vietcombank.  Great bank, but you will 10x what Shylock charges.  VCB NEVER deviates from whatever is the rule of the day.  HSBC (Holy Sh**, the British Coming)  is NOT HSBC....merely a VN org with branding.

Surely people who are not running a business or currently employed--or holding a residency card-- are opening accounts in Vietnam these days? Sure, most is held by my VN wife, except 1 acct I opened with ZERO ID....7 years ago. I just got an unsecured 3tr credit card!!!  not worth effort.

Americans are incredibly scrutinized...FATCA, FINRA KYC, et al....know the rules




Pls advise.

GuidoVN :

Americans are incredibly scrutinized...FATCA, FINRA KYC, et al....know the rules.

Not just Americans.

I recently had to sign a form from my bank in my home country and send it back by Vietnam Post.
In this form I had to declare to the American tax authorities whether I am liable for tax in Vietnam.

In the past, when I lived in my home country, every tax return included a form for possible American financial relations.

I never had anything to do with America in my life (and it will stay that way for the rest of my life), let alone with the IRS.

The whole world is harassed by the IRS but they don't care if Amazon, Apple and GE don't pay taxes for their billion dollar profits.

GuidoVN:


Yes, I am an American national.

Your comments pretty well summarize what I have read to date:  rules vary, and can change with the weather.

Living in VN will be quite an adventure, I can tell!

Thanks for your input.

Lanna Prince

I opened 2 accounts with TPBank in Nha Trang last year.  One in USD and one in VND. I had only a 3 month tourist visa.  I have since then transfered enough money from the States to buy a condo, twice, into the account.  No problems either time.  I have found that most banks will allow you to transfer money into the country so long as you exchange it into dong at their bank.  The rate at most of the big banks is pretty bad compared to the rate on the street though...

theschust :

I opened 2 accounts with TPBank in Nha Trang last year.  One in USD and one in VND. I had only a 3 month tourist visa.  I have since then transfered enough money from the States to buy a condo, twice, into the account.  No problems either time.  I have found that most banks will allow you to transfer money into the country so long as you exchange it into dong at their bank.  The rate at most of the big banks is pretty bad compared to the rate on the street though...

That's one of the advantages of the US Social Security direct deposit program, also good for US veterans benefits. When the direct deposit is made here to a Vietnamese Bank it is converted into dong mid-stream so to speak, and arrives in the Vietnamese account in dong without having to be further converted

FYI today Swift-transferred US$8000 from my Schwab to my wife's ACBank USD account. Schwab charged a flat $25 outgoing.
ACB charged about $5 for fee and tax incoming.
Not bad. We can withdraw funds in dollars from this account.
Dollar accounts don't provide interest but that's ok since we'll withdraw soon.

Curious if we will get back those beautiful virgin $100 Benjamins that banks require for currency exchange, or scruffy old stuff.

Rather than being vague, how about also stating the names of the Vietnamese Banks where people were able to open accounts in USD and also VND. That would be helpful than just vague posts.

gobot :

Curious if we will get back those beautiful virgin $100 Benjamins that banks require for currency exchange, or scruffy old stuff.

It seems you were jesting but take care.  I once overheard a Viet Kieu customer at Citibank who was trying to return a $100 bill that they had just given him a little earlier.  He had taken it out to exchange at a gold shop likely because Citi's conversions are terrible.  Because of a small tear that would have been ignored in the US, the gold shop had rejected the bill and then Citi was refusing to exchange it for another.  I don't know how it was resolved as we had to take care of our own business, but it shows how ridiculous the Vietnamese insistence on perfect bills is.  This is particularly true for Citi which surely sends a packet back and forth with New York daily and can easily physically exchange $100 bills for new ones.

There is some talk at the US treasury department about eliminating $100 bills altogether as an anti-crime measure.  That could cause more upset in Vietnam than it would in the US where people seldom use $100 bills for everyday uses.

About a year ago I opened a savings account (giving me 7% interest per  year, which can be withdrawn every 6 months :))... plus a "normal" account that gave me a Visa  debit card.... I had to get my wife to deposit  my money (cash) into her account, then she deposited  any amount into my account.... no loss!!.... I am also receiving funds from Europe and China... no problem, the bank assistant always calls me to ask if i want the funds in VND or whitchever denomination received... I highly recommend TECHCOMBANK

very helpful....will they do that with VA benefits and military retirement!!

Hi Lanna.
I have a Vietcombank account and a saving  account. The saving is the guarantee  for my MasterCard so if my daily account don't has enough for my credit card payment they use my saving account. They never told me there is any limit.

I have never had any issues either with Sacom Bank in Tay Ninh. There are some taxes and service fees I get hit with using international bank wire service ie swift  but it's much simpler then carrying a large amount of cash going through immigration and security at both ends of my flight. Nothing on me over the limit so no declaration needed. I can even send money from my Canadian online banking account.  funds directly into my current vnd account. Using swift code 2500 cad daily. International remittance. Just make sure your account is setup to receive cad or USD in vietnam. When done online there is a record of transaction from source bank. My bank knows I do not work in vietnam. account registered with VEC

no problem, the bank assistant always calls me to ask if i want the funds in VND or whitchever denomination received... I highly recommend TECHCOMBANK

I cannot disagree more strenuously that TKB is a good bank. They have been the worst bank I have ever experienced.  They have charged undisclosed fees, refused to repatriate legitmate remittals, required me to sign documents 5-6 times in a branch, lied directly about Visa CC terms (card issuance took a year) automatically converted funds from a specified USD acct into VND, slicing  ~$480.00 via SWIFT unpublished interbank exchange rates, and other idiotic things that have cost both me & my VN wife time & money.   The latest problem is they have rejected an inbound SWIFT due to a small difference between client names.  They want me to call the European sender, and rectify the MT100 to match their records, or it will be returned in 8 days.  I AM the sender :-D. Complete morons.  They now get zero fees. I suspect in 3-4 days, they will offer a 'good client waiver' in order to complete the xfer.  Branches differ, but I no longer speak to anyone other than Hanoi HQ mgrs.  The rest are idiots or thieve, IME both.

THIGV :
gobot :

Curious if we will get back those beautiful virgin $100 Benjamins that banks require for currency exchange, or scruffy old stuff.

It seems you were jesting but take care.  I once overheard a Viet Kieu customer at Citibank who was trying to return a $100 bill that they had just given him a little earlier.  He had taken it out to exchange at a gold shop likely because Citi's conversions are terrible.  Because of a small tear that would have been ignored in the US, the gold shop had rejected the bill and then Citi was refusing to exchange it for another.  I don't know how it was resolved as we had to take care of our own business, but it shows how ridiculous the Vietnamese insistence on perfect bills is.  This is particularly true for Citi which surely sends a packet back and forth with New York daily and can easily physically exchange $100 bills for new ones.

There is some talk at the US treasury department about eliminating $100 bills altogether as an anti-crime measure.  That could cause more upset in Vietnam than it would in the US where people seldom use $100 bills for everyday uses.

Some of the note quality whackiness is that there isa price diff in the seondary market. Citibank is just another VN bank, with foreign minority share and logo.  They most likely are players in that game.

The VN circle I'm around use c-notes daily.  They have banded packs of $2 bills for Tet.  I saw my 1st new style note in VN, and had never heard of 'star notes' until shown a pack in HCM.

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