Banking Regulations for Foreigners Opening New Accounts

Fancybear :

what if you are out of the country a while and have a lapsed visa. Are banks now taking on a new gig as  enforcer of visas? I have a 3 month visa starting next week on a 3 year old bank account but if the bank demand a 12 month visa to open an account, I have to wonder what bs they'd pull if I show up with my 3 month visa for the final quarter  of 2019.   They are quite scary places  to leave large sums of money given how quickly they change in repsonse to regs from above

You "have to wonder"?

Best to contact your bank directly.

Too much speculation in your question to get an informed response from anyone here.

Fancybear :

what if you are out of the country a while and have a lapsed visa. Are banks now taking on a new gig as  enforcer of visas? I have a 3 month visa starting next week on a 3 year old bank account but if the bank demand a 12 month visa to open an account, I have to wonder what bs they'd pull if I show up with my 3 month visa for the final quarter  of 2019.   They are quite scary places  to leave large sums of money given how quickly they change in repsonse to regs from above

- If your account was opened 3 years ago, why would you worry about the new regulation?

- If you want to withdraw money from your existing account, the only thing you'll need is a valid visa, not a 12 month one.

- - "If you are out of the country a while and have a lapsed visa", how did you entered the country again on that visa?

- Assuming you've somehow found the way to sneak back in, the banks are not "taking on a new gig as enforcer of visas" meaning they'll not report you to Immigration, but they have the rights to refuse to hand over money to a lapsed visa holder (they do the same to Vietnamese: no valid ID, no money) and that's not due to any "bs they'd pull".  I believe it's the same rule in every country.

When you opened your account 3 years ago, you signed an agreement (aka contract) to accept their rules, thus "I have to wonder what bs"  you'd pull trying to negate that contract.

I dont know how relevant this reply will be but...
I have an on line account with Vietnamese bank, I regularly move money within this account incl USD to VND & pay bills etc without even visiting the bank. I have a debit card issued by my Vietnamese bank. I can withdraw up to 100mil vnd daily at ATM when in Vietnam & up to 30mil Equ VND daily when abroad at ATM.
Not sure about opening a new account but I got a scare when reading about the new banking laws for ex pats because I have quite a big account term deposit that pays my expenses here so went to my bank to ask about it, the lady just laughed & said no problem & I opened a new term 6 month deposit there & then.

moscowmetro :

I dont know how relevant this reply will be but...
I have an on line account with Vietnamese bank, I regularly move money within this account incl USD to VND & pay bills etc without even visiting the bank. I have a debit card issued by my Vietnamese bank. I can withdraw up to 100mil vnd daily at ATM when in Vietnam & up to 30mil Equ VND daily when abroad at ATM.
Not sure about opening a new account but I got a scare when reading about the new banking laws for ex pats because I have quite a big account term deposit that pays my expenses here so went to my bank to ask about it, the lady just laughed & said no problem & I opened a new term 6 month deposit there & then.

This new banking law is not really relevant for Term Deposit but about any savings plan accounts that hardly any expat had used.
If the TRC expires soon you just have to create a new Term Deposit for a few months. Once you have the new TRC, you can then create a longer term deposit again.
Everything is easy to do with an app if you use the right bank.

Fancybear :

what if you are out of the country a while and have a lapsed visa. Are banks now taking on a new gig as  enforcer of visas? I have a 3 month visa starting next week on a 3 year old bank account but if the bank demand a 12 month visa to open an account, I have to wonder what bs they'd pull if I show up with my 3 month visa for the final quarter  of 2019.   They are quite scary places  to leave large sums of money given how quickly they change in repsonse to regs from above

That bank account started before the new rules came in. Its not worth having a bank account here, you cant get a term deposit unless you have a 12 month visa, and the drama associated with doing it all is not worth it.

I'll be at the bank in question on Monday but it actually crossed my mind not to bother even giving them  my updated visa and instead just get the money moved rather than flag up a lapsed visa being updated. The banks appear strongly as enforcer of the state bank regs. They know it's lapsed. their behaviour around time deposit regs shows they are quite scary..To see 2 features of the bank account switched off. Giiven their behaviour, I ask myself why wouldn't they also add new kyc and say..."all money deposited previously on a tourist visa is frozen till you prove how you got it?"

I agree. I am on 3 month tourist visa and with a concerningly big chunk of cash in their system. I will go in an update the visa. I opened the account in 2016 when they were cool with walk in tourst visa customers, unlike the way they're being forced to treat us now it seems

Giiven their behaviour, I ask myself why wouldn't they also add new kyc and say..."all money deposited previously on a tourist visa is frozen till you prove how you got it?"


WOW NOT SO GOOD........can I ask, did you bring the money in by bank transfer in 2016?

moscowmetro :

Giiven their behaviour, I ask myself why wouldn't they also add new kyc and say..."all money deposited previously on a tourist visa is frozen till you prove how you got it?"


WOW NOT SO GOOD........can I ask, did you bring the money in by bank transfer in 2016?

the source of my funds is clear to them and within Vietnam. My question is purely conjecture too. I am imagining the future. It is not real now.  If they can write regs  like "no resident card, no time deposit", then I am guessing they are capable of writing a retrospective rule too. It is perfectly legal to have a bank account as a tourist because foreigners buy and sell property. I am sure tourists visas are allowed to open bank accounts or else property market seizes up for foreign buyers.

Fancybear :
moscowmetro :

Giiven their behaviour, I ask myself why wouldn't they also add new kyc and say..."all money deposited previously on a tourist visa is frozen till you prove how you got it?"


WOW NOT SO GOOD........can I ask, did you bring the money in by bank transfer in 2016?

the source of my funds is clear to them and within Vietnam. My question is purely conjecture too. I am imagining the future. It is not real now.  If they can write regs  like "no resident card, no time deposit", then I am guessing they are capable of writing a retrospective rule too. It is perfectly legal to have a bank account as a tourist because foreigners buy and sell property. I am sure tourists visas are allowed to open bank accounts or else property market seizes up for foreign buyers.

Are you really an Afghan, your writing is very good for a non-native.

Fancybear :

I'll be at the bank in question on Monday but it actually crossed my mind not to bother even giving them  my updated visa and instead just get the money moved rather than flag up a lapsed visa being updated. The banks appear strongly as enforcer of the state bank regs. They know it's lapsed. their behaviour around time deposit regs shows they are quite scary..To see 2 features of the bank account switched off. Giiven their behaviour, I ask myself why wouldn't they also add new kyc and say..."all money deposited previously on a tourist visa is frozen till you prove how you got it?"

Fancybear :

I agree. I am on 3 month tourist visa and with a concerningly big chunk of cash in their system. I will go in an update the visa. I opened the account in 2016 when they were cool with walk in tourst visa customers, unlike the way they're being forced to treat us now it seems

Trying to keep things on topic for this thread...

Your terminology is confusing.

One moment you talked about having a "lapsed" Visa, but then you talk about "updating" it.

Are you currently in the country on a legal Visa?

Did you overstay your Visa, and now you are going to look into getting a new Visa?

It seems you're presenting a very special set of circumstances specifically related to your situation.

For the sake of the casual reader seeking info for newcomers on topic for this sticky thread, can you please clarify?

At this moment, are you in Vietnam illegally?

I just share a bit of my recent bank account opening experience here with you guys. I’m on a one month tourist visa and just opened a bank account with Standard Chartered Bank in VND and USD having online banking account assess (no ATM card allowed) They just asked me for my passport and visa with entry stamp by Vietnam immigration. However, I was referred by a property agent to a specific RM there claiming that I’m going to invest into a property here as a foreign buyer.  Before that I walked in to a HSBC branch here and got declined to open a bank account unless I can show them work permit and resident card. So I think you guys can check with different banks on the requirements.

Thank you for that information. That is quite interesting. May I ask which Standard chartered branch within Saigon you visited as I would like to try next week

no ATM card seems unusual though. How might you manage  without it?

Fancybear :

Thank you for that information. That is quite interesting. May I ask which Standard chartered branch within Saigon you visited as I would like to try next week

It’s located in Saigon Trade Center. They will ask you why you need to have a bank account here, you better pretend saying to invest into a property here.

Fancybear :

no ATM card seems unusual though. How might you manage  without it?

The said they can only issue ATM card if I can get a resident card here. Otherwise I can only manage by online banking or go to the counter in person to withdraw money.

ok. Thanks for that info

Good info. Thank you.

Things must have changed at SCB since  I opened my account there 8 years ago. I have an ATM card & am here on a 3 month tourist visa. I think it will depend on how much you deposit there. 1 billion VND gets you a priority customer account there & it will come with a card I would think.

moscowmetro :

Things must have changed at SCB since  I opened my account there 8 years ago. I have an ATM card & am here on a 3 month tourist visa. I think it will depend on how much you deposit there. 1 billion VND gets you a priority customer account there & it will come with a card I would think.

Same with HSBC or Citibank.

AkaMaverick :
moscowmetro :

Things must have changed at SCB since  I opened my account there 8 years ago. I have an ATM card & am here on a 3 month tourist visa. I think it will depend on how much you deposit there. 1 billion VND gets you a priority customer account there & it will come with a card I would think.

Same with HSBC or Citibank.

Sorry....forgot to mention one important thing!!........only 2% interest on VND term & zero% interest on USD.
6.5 to 8.5% interest on VND term deposit at Vietnamese banks.
You pays your money & you take your chance as they say!!!

moscowmetro :

Things must have changed at SCB since  I opened my account there 8 years ago. I have an ATM card & am here on a 3 month tourist visa. I think it will depend on how much you deposit there. 1 billion VND gets you a priority customer account there & it will come with a card I would think.

No even though I’m on priority account, it’s the rule that no resident card no ATM card, it’s confirmed by Standard Chartered.

Ememprivatevn :
moscowmetro :

Things must have changed at SCB since  I opened my account there 8 years ago. I have an ATM card & am here on a 3 month tourist visa. I think it will depend on how much you deposit there. 1 billion VND gets you a priority customer account there & it will come with a card I would think.

No even though I’m on priority account, it’s the rule that no resident card no ATM card, it’s confirmed by Standard Chartered.

Well this must be new rule, I have card with SCB & Debit card with my Viet bank & I dont have TRC. I still use both of them regularly in Vietnam & overseas, I better check if they will replace them in 2022. I visit both banks & talk with my RM  regularly & they know I am on 3 months visa & never ask for the cards back!
Monday morning I am off to SCB to get update.

moscowmetro :
Ememprivatevn :
moscowmetro :

Things must have changed at SCB since  I opened my account there 8 years ago. I have an ATM card & am here on a 3 month tourist visa. I think it will depend on how much you deposit there. 1 billion VND gets you a priority customer account there & it will come with a card I would think.

No even though I’m on priority account, it’s the rule that no resident card no ATM card, it’s confirmed by Standard Chartered.

Well this must be new rule, I have card with SCB & Debit card with my Viet bank & I dont have TRC. I still use both of them regularly in Vietnam & overseas, I better check if they will replace them in 2022. I visit both banks & talk with my RM  regularly & they know I am on 3 months visa & never ask for the cards back!
Monday morning I am off to SCB to get update.

The banking laws just changed. My brother had a term deposit with the same bank for 6 years, they now refused him a term deposit and only open an account per the term of his visa.

The govt of Vietnam doesnt want us here, its obvious. They keep making things as difficult as they can.

The govt of Vietnam doesnt want us here, its obvious. They keep making things as difficult as they can.

Hmmmmmmm...Seems like it! I have a term maturing Nov so will see how it goes then, even 3 months term interest is better than nothing I suppose. Its the ATM cards that is more worrying for me as per the last ladies post

moscowmetro :

The govt of Vietnam doesnt want us here, its obvious. They keep making things as difficult as they can.

Hmmmmmmm...Seems like it! I have a term maturing Nov so will see how it goes then, even 3 months term interest is better than nothing I suppose. Its the ATM cards that is more worrying for me as per the last ladies post

I very much doubt it will be renewed, since the law change they have ceased giving term deposits unless you meet the new criteria.

https://timo.vn/en/blog/regulations-for-foreigners/

AkaMaverick :
moscowmetro :

Things must have changed at SCB since  I opened my account there 8 years ago. I have an ATM card & am here on a 3 month tourist visa. I think it will depend on how much you deposit there. 1 billion VND gets you a priority customer account there & it will come with a card I would think.

Same with HSBC or Citibank.

Thanks!

I'm glad you both posted about this.

The issuance of ATM/DEBIT cards seems largely up to the individual bank and the individual circumstances of the customer.

A new arrival in Vietnam "might" be able to get an ATM card immediately.

Many people have been able to do so in the past, and there isn't anything in the new regulations about that.

MY EXPERIENCE:

ACB Bank said they understand that the ability to wire funds into my account is most important, so they agreed to set up the basic Vietnam Đong account for me with online access and mobile text alerts.

However, they made me wait a year before issuing me a Visa Debit/ATM card.

No matter what anyone posts here (including me) there is no guarantee that you (the new arrival) will have the same exact experience with the same bank.

moscowmetro :
Ememprivatevn :
moscowmetro :

Things must have changed at SCB since  I opened my account there 8 years ago. I have an ATM card & am here on a 3 month tourist visa. I think it will depend on how much you deposit there. 1 billion VND gets you a priority customer account there & it will come with a card I would think.

No even though I’m on priority account, it’s the rule that no resident card no ATM card, it’s confirmed by Standard Chartered.

Well this must be new rule, I have card with SCB & Debit card with my Viet bank & I dont have TRC. I still use both of them regularly in Vietnam & overseas, I better check if they will replace them in 2022. I visit both banks & talk with my RM  regularly & they know I am on 3 months visa & never ask for the cards back!
Monday morning I am off to SCB to get update.

Same with me.

I only have a 1 year category DN Business visa, and ACB bank just issued me a Visa Debit/ATM card this month (after waiting 1 year)

OceanBeach92107 :
moscowmetro :
Ememprivatevn :

No even though I’m on priority account, it’s the rule that no resident card no ATM card, it’s confirmed by Standard Chartered.

Well this must be new rule, I have card with SCB & Debit card with my Viet bank & I dont have TRC. I still use both of them regularly in Vietnam & overseas, I better check if they will replace them in 2022. I visit both banks & talk with my RM  regularly & they know I am on 3 months visa & never ask for the cards back!
Monday morning I am off to SCB to get update.

Same with me.

I only have a 1 year category DN Business visa, and ACB bank just issued me a Visa Debit/ATM card this month (after waiting 1 year)

Well I for one like clarity & the problem in Vietnam is that everything is foggy!
Tomorrow I am heading to my banks to try & find a way through the fog at my branches anyway & for my accounts. But as we all know each bank & each assistant seems to have a different take on the new law.
A TRUE STOREY
Recently like 2 weeks ago I read all about the new laws ref forigners & deposite accounts & started to get worried. So I contacted a Viet friend working in the financial sector at De Vere to ask if he knew anything about it. He said he did not know but would contact his bank to find out. He came back & said yes its true ....forigners cant hold term deposits with Tourist Visa. Now not being a guy who believes anything 100% a Vietnamese tells me especially about money, I hopped on my Moto & headed to my bank. Saw the RM & asked her. She just smiled & said its OK dont worry. Again not being a guy who believes even what my bank RM tells me I said.........so, if I wire transfer xxcxxusd to my account today, tomorrow you will change it to VND & open another  6 month term for me
Next day I went back, handed over my passport & opened the 6 month term.
That was 2 weeks ago & is a fact! But hey, its Vietnam & who knows what to believe.
I will keep you posted what they say tomorrow about renewing my Debit Cards but thats like 2022 so who knows what the situation will be then. What I do know is that it seems like its getting harder & harder to retire in peace here & getting costlier by the week. Gone are the days of 14% interest on savings & kitkat chunky is up from 12500 to 14,000vnd at Aeon!!!

moscowmetro :
Ememprivatevn :
moscowmetro :

Things must have changed at SCB since  I opened my account there 8 years ago. I have an ATM card & am here on a 3 month tourist visa. I think it will depend on how much you deposit there. 1 billion VND gets you a priority customer account there & it will come with a card I would think.

No even though I’m on priority account, it’s the rule that no resident card no ATM card, it’s confirmed by Standard Chartered.

Well this must be new rule, I have card with SCB & Debit card with my Viet bank & I dont have TRC. I still use both of them regularly in Vietnam & overseas, I better check if they will replace them in 2022. I visit both banks & talk with my RM  regularly & they know I am on 3 months visa & never ask for the cards back!
Monday morning I am off to SCB to get update.

I also think the rules have changed.
I opened a Vietnamese bank account before I married more than 2 years ago.
I got a VISA debit card one week after I opened the bank account.

But VISA/Master Card debit or credit cards from the Vietnamese Banks are not really important.
Good for paying something online or in shopping malls in VND. Or using the ATMs of the same bank. One debit/credit card and one bank card is enough for that.
But the problem is the high administration fee for foreign currencies of 4%.
For payments and ATM withdraws outside Vietnam, my international credit card is only relevant.

Thanks for the info. That is interesting. I will approach that bank at some point to see what they say re accounts on tourist visa

My experience:  My niece and her SO had a foreign-owned company in Saigon.  Their business account was with a Sacombank in Phu Nhuan.  Two years ago, they called up their banker to say I needed to open an account.  I took pics of my passport (VEC attached), sent to her (the banker) via Messages. 

I came in the bank the next day.  She explained the pros and cons of several different types of accounts, then suggested that I opened two accounts that linked together of which I would have full access in person, online, and via their app.  I signed on the dotted line , handed over 5M to deposit in the VND account and $5 to the USD account. 

She gave me an ATM card, I set the PIN.  Then she offered me a credit card with no annual fee.  I thought about it then declined because we already had too many American credit cards.

I don't know whether the personal and business relationship my relatives had with the bank made any difference in the way I was treated, but IMO, banking with Sacombank was rather simple, unlike Citibank and HSBC with whom I also had experience in dealing.  With a readily available ATM card and an optional credit card, it's the same as banking in the States.

Several people have posted words to this effect (perhaps slightly exaggerated  :cool: ):  "I have a tourist visa and have had an account with Bank XYZ for 6 years and have an ATM card and a time deposit, no problems."  While it remains to be seen what happens to that time deposit when it matures, it is largely irrelevant to the discussion.  Some banks may be choosing to ignore things on existing accounts and hope that the problem goes away with time, as it sometimes does in Vietnam with reversals of policy.  The most pertinent comments would be from those who, holding no prior accounts, recently entered a bank with money to open a new account.  What is their experience?

You guys are not retirees. You don't want a banking relationship that will just hold your money for use for day-to-day needs. Aren't there institutions that will work with you to fund whatever you are wanting to do? What are your goals?

Ciambella :

My experience:  My niece and her SO had a foreign-owned company in Saigon.  Their business account was with a Sacombank in Phu Nhuan.  Two years ago, they called up their banker to say I needed to open an account.

Your experience matches my criteria for comments from persons who have opened a new account recently but, as with many things in Vietnam, it seems you had some real "drag" with the branch manager.  Acknowledging that you prefaced your remarks with "My experience" do you think you would have had the same treatment if you had walked in cold?

exactly my problem...have been taken out by the new regs. Maybe they see enough retiree size accounts sitting their and have decided to make buying a property feel safer than trusting a bank that can out of the blue change rules

THIGV :

Your experience matches my criteria for comments from persons who have opened a new account recently but, as with many things in Vietnam, it seems you had some real "drag" with the branch manager.  Acknowledging that you prefaced your remarks with "My experience" do you think you would have had the same treatment if you had walked in cold?

I can't answer that question at all, that's why I wrote the sentence "I don't know whether the personal and business relationship my relatives had with the bank made any difference in the way I was treated". 

I know my path has been paved for me since the day we arrived; I can see that in many aspects of life here.  OTOH, I also received some preferred treatments (without the influence of my relatives) when my husband and I were together at the hospitals, doctor's offices, airports, other banks, the buses, etc.  I think those treatments were given due to our ages, his being a quiet and undemanding foreigner, my old-fashioned behaviours and *very* polite way when speaking Vietnamese.  Or maybe we're just lucky, who knows.

Ciambella, your experience is several years ago, or am I mistaken? Is that relevant to the new rules that just started in July?

Here's what I understand from my banks: I can get a new one-year fixed deposit, but to get it, I have to apply for it the VERY FIRST DAY I arrive in the country with my new 1 year visa. If I try to get it the next day, too late.

Any other fixed deposit I get can not mature any later than the expiration date of my visa.

I recently asked to get a visa debit card for an existing 3-year old Current Account, so I could use it outside the country if necessary (only if necessary because the fees are very high). I was told that I could not get the card now, because I only have two months remaining validity on my present 1 year visa. To get the debit card, I have to apply for it the VERY FIRST DAY that I enter the country with a NEW 1 year visa. If I get to Saigon too late and the bank is closed, I can't get the card.

So, after a long exhausting bus ride and dropping off my bags at my hotel, I will be racing to the bank the day I enter the country with the new 1 year visa to hopefully get a new 1 year term deposit and a new debit card.

Seriously, I tend to agree with Colonoscapee. Why are they making things so difficult for us?

I might move my money to Cambodia where you can get high interest rates with none of this hassle. Or can anyone suggest another pleasant country in SEA where you can get high interest rates on term deposits without too much risk?

Right now there are tons of retirees seeking to flee Thailand because it's gotten so expensive there. This situation will surely dissuade them from moving to Vietnam and spending their money here, which would have benefitted the VN economy.

hyagly256 :

Ciambella, your experience is several years ago, or am I mistaken? Is that relevant to the new rules that just started in July?

Here's what I understand from my banks: I can get a new one-year fixed deposit, but to get it, I have to apply for it the VERY FIRST DAY I arrive in the country with my new 1 year visa. If I try to get it the next day, too late.

Any other fixed deposit I get can not mature any later than the expiration date of my visa.

I recently asked to get a visa debit card for an existing 3-year old Current Account, so I could use it outside the country if necessary (only if necessary because the fees are very high). I was told that I could not get the card now, because I only have two months remaining validity on my present 1 year visa. To get the debit card, I have to apply for it the VERY FIRST DAY that I enter the country with a NEW 1 year visa. If I get to Saigon too late and the bank is closed, I can't get the card.

So, after a long exhausting bus ride and dropping off my bags at my hotel, I will be racing to the bank the day I enter the country with the new 1 year visa to hopefully get a new 1 year term deposit and a new debit card.

Seriously, I tend to agree with Colonoscapee. Why are they making things so difficult for us?

I might move my money to Cambodia where you can get high interest rates with none of this hassle. Or can anyone suggest another pleasant country in SEA where you can get high interest rates on term deposits without too much risk?

Right now there are tons of retirees seeking to flee Thailand because it's gotten so expensive there. This situation will surely dissuade them from moving to Vietnam and spending their money here, which would have benefitted the VN economy.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

I think it's important to differentiate between the restrictions imposed by the new banking rules formulated by the government, versus the individual policies of different banks, especially as those policies relate to the issuance of ATM debit cards.

hyagly256 :

Ciambella, your experience is several years ago, or am I mistaken? Is that relevant to the new rules that just started in July?

Here's what I understand from my banks: I can get a new one-year fixed deposit, but to get it, I have to apply for it the VERY FIRST DAY I arrive in the country with my new 1 year visa. If I try to get it the next day, too late.

Any other fixed deposit I get can not mature any later than the expiration date of my visa.

I recently asked to get a visa debit card for an existing 3-year old Current Account, so I could use it outside the country if necessary (only if necessary because the fees are very high). I was told that I could not get the card now, because I only have two months remaining validity on my present 1 year visa. To get the debit card, I have to apply for it the VERY FIRST DAY that I enter the country with a NEW 1 year visa. If I get to Saigon too late and the bank is closed, I can't get the card.

So, after a long exhausting bus ride and dropping off my bags at my hotel, I will be racing to the bank the day I enter the country with the new 1 year visa to hopefully get a new 1 year term deposit and a new debit card.

Seriously, I tend to agree with Colonoscapee. Why are they making things so difficult for us?

I might move my money to Cambodia where you can get high interest rates with none of this hassle. Or can anyone suggest another pleasant country in SEA where you can get high interest rates on term deposits without too much risk?

Right now there are tons of retirees seeking to flee Thailand because it's gotten so expensive there. This situation will surely dissuade them from moving to Vietnam and spending their money here, which would have benefitted the VN economy.

But you can also open a 6-month term deposit (or shorter) that may still give 6% interest.
At TIMO (VPBank) you can do it all by the phone app.

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