Banking Regulations for Foreigners Opening New Accounts

THIGV :

I moved this over from the thread on Buying a condo in Vietnam.

OceanBeach92107 :

The links to the regulations are unchanged.

Your links are still second hand.  That is they link to a page from Timo/VP Bank and not the government.  Colinoscapee's link goes to SCB (Saigon Commercial Bank.)  Both are Joint Stock Commercial Banks and their information should be equally reliable.

Although your Timo/VP link cites government circulars, the links do not appear to be live.  In any case, one would need to be a Vietnamese lawyer to have much of a chance of successfully interpreting the circulars.  Not having a Timo account, I don't know exactly how it works, but perusing their website, it seems to me that part of their problem may be tied to the ability to deposit through use of the card.  There also seems to be an ability to move money around to related accounts by online devices as a phone, which may be another problem for the government.  The circulars may affect Timo in ways that do not affect other banks and account types.

I hope you realize that your post--out of context (even though on topic) and without a referral link back to the other thread or a more-complete quote--will make no sense to anyone except you and...

No.

Only you

OceanBeach92107 :

without a referral link back to the other thread

I thought it would be fairly easy for anyone to find the other thread but here is the referential link:  https://www.scb.com.vn/eng/detail/perso … foreigners

OceanBeach92107 :
AkaMaverick :

I don't understand all the discussions.
I shared a link on November 1st with Timo announcing a change regarding the Cash Deposit Machines (CDMs).
This change is simply a fact and needs no discussion.
It should be helpful for Timo users and nobody else.

We agree

And yet this thread's title and the OP state things as if they apply to all foreigners wishing to open any accounts and not just Timo users.  Here is a direct quote from the OP: 

OceanBeach92107 :

Timo banking  is not a government authority, however, they have done a good job of quoting and explaining new regulations regarding foreigners (from any country) opening new bank accounts in Vietnam:

Notice there is no mention that it applies to Timo only but simply foreigners and new bank accounts in Vietnam.   I welcome anyone to go back and read the OP.

Perhaps you should ask the moderators to change the title of "your" thread (as you seem to take a proprietary interest in any threads you start) to something like "Notice for Timo Accounts Only."

THIGV :
OceanBeach92107 :
AkaMaverick :

I don't understand all the discussions.
I shared a link on November 1st with Timo announcing a change regarding the Cash Deposit Machines (CDMs).
This change is simply a fact and needs no discussion.
It should be helpful for Timo users and nobody else.

We agree

And yet this thread's title and the OP state things as if they apply to all foreigners wishing to open any accounts and not just Timo users.  Here is a direct quote from the OP: 

OceanBeach92107 :

Timo banking  is not a government authority, however, they have done a good job of quoting and explaining new regulations regarding foreigners (from any country) opening new bank accounts in Vietnam:

Notice there is no mention that it applies to Timo only but simply foreigners and new bank accounts in Vietnam.   I welcome anyone to go back and read the OP.

Perhaps you should ask the moderators to change the title of "your" thread (as you seem to take a proprietary interest in any threads you start) to something like "Notice for Timo Accounts Only."

You've really gone off the rails on this one.

There's no place to start in giving you a reasonable response.

Anyone who follows the link to the Timo blog, and then follows the links in the Timo blog to the government regulations can see that this thread is properly titled.

So if i arrive on a 3 month business visa, pocket full of cash in more than likely USD.
If im carrying more then 5k im supposed to declare on arrival - thats fine im happy to do so

But then means i can no longer open an account without a longer visa (im from the uk) so how to stay safe until i get a work permit ?

My wife is Vietnamese.. would this make a difference ?

Jlgarbutt :

So if i arrive on a 3 month business visa, pocket full of cash in more than likely USD.
If im carrying more then 5k im supposed to declare on arrival - thats fine im happy to do so

But then means i can no longer open an account without a longer visa (im from the uk) so how to stay safe until i get a work permit ?

My wife is Vietnamese.. would this make a difference ?

Is she a Vietnamese citizen?

That would definitely make a difference for her.

If she is Việt Kiều, she would be able to apply for the longer residence permit (Ciambella help us out here) which, according to the regulations, would permit her to open an account.

THEN, I'm pretty sure you would qualify for the longer Temporary Resident Card (anyone feel free to correct me or edit my reply) and you too would then qualify under the regulations as quoted on the Timo Blog (link in the OP of this thread).

(HERE is the thread covering YOU getting a Temporary Residence Card

THIGV, AkaMaverick, Colinoscapee, Budman and many others can also explain to you how you go about getting the longer Temporary Resident Card once your wife has established her immigration status.

If your wife is a citizen, it will be even quicker for you.

I'm also thinking your wife might be helpful in contacting different banks to learn their specific requirements.

She can call on the phone and use email in the Vietnamese language much easier than you, I'm guessing.

For those without a Vietnamese spouse: as it has been pointed out, there may be a difference between what the regulations require and what the banks are actually doing.

Perhaps someone who has opened an account here SINCE THE NEW REGULATIONS WENT INTO EFFECT can share their experience if it differs from the requirements of the regulations.

Good luck!

AkaMaverick :
OceanBeach92107 :
AkaMaverick :

Another restriction according Circular-No-16-2014-TT-NHNN:

All foreigners will no longer be able to deposit cash into their Timo account using a Timo Cash Deposit machine (CDM) at a Timo Hangout as per this circular. If you do try and deposit funds into a Timo CDM, your funds will be rejected till the time you can prove the source of funds.

However if you have the proper documents to prove your source of funds, you can continue to deposit cash into you Timo account via ANY VPBank branch counter.

Wow...that's huge.

I wonder if they are talking about ALL types of accounts?

As I think I've mentioned before, I have 2 accounts at ACB BANK:

Both Vietnam Đng accounts:

One account which ACB calls a "domestic" account, which has always had the restrictions you noted.

I can send my U.S. government direct deposit there.

I've also been told I can use it for wages sent to the bank by an employer in Vietnam.

My second account is a prepaid Visa debit card account, which ACB BANK calls an "International" account.

As recently as 3 days ago, I took Vietnam Đng withdraw from an ATM and deposited it into that Visa debit card account without any type of documentation; not even my passport.

I had thought that most basic TIMO accounts were similar to the ACB BANK "International" account, but if your information applies to all types of accounts at TIMO, I guess I was wrong.

The regulation is not new.
But Timo has only now restricted the deposit at the cash deposit machine.

I received the email from Timo today (the Timo Master Card is also affected).
https://timo.vn/en/blog/news-and-deals/ … -machines/

Your email alert is now included as a pop up notice (android phone via Google Chrome) when accessing this link from the OP of this thread:

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

Also, a forum member questioned whether the links to the Vietnamese regulations pertaining to this thread are "still live".

They are still live, but it requires scrolling down to the bottom of the Timo Bank blog in order to find them:

*****

(From Timo Blog:

Read about the detailed Circulars mentioned above below:

Savings Accounts:

https://thuvienphapluat.vn/van-ban/Tien … 05871.aspx


Term Deposit Accounts:

https://thuvienphapluat.vn/van-ban/Tien … 05872.aspx


Required documents to open a bank account:

https://thuvienphapluat.vn/van-ban/Tien … 16056.aspx

*****

So now all of the information (including information specific to the Timo Card machines) is on one page (if the popup appears for you).

Thanks again for sharing the link.

OceanBeach92107 :
THIGV :
OceanBeach92107 :

without a referral link back to the other thread

I thought it would be fairly easy for anyone to find the other thread but here is the referential link:  https://www.scb.com.vn/eng/detail/perso … foreigners

I know it would be helpful for me if someone could explain the difference between at least 4 different types of accounts:

Asking what I think are pertinent questions:

Domestic Accounts:

1. Savings Accounts:

Are the funds available at any time without penalty?

I assume you can wire transfer into these accounts?

Is this a good choice for having easy access to your funds?

I also assume that the source of funds must be verified?

2. Term Deposit Accounts (similar to a CD - Certificate of Deposit)

Is it possible to wire transfer funds into one of these? Seems not likely to me.

Also, what is the penalty for early withdrawal of funds, and is that even possible?

While the restrictions on THIS type of account have been relaxed for foreigners (only requiring 6 months of approved presence in Vietnam) it seems to be a bad choice for anyone who might want to use their money here before the term of deposit is complete.

Also, I believe the source of funds must be verified?

3. "Standard" account:

I don't know the technical name for this type of account I have with ACB, but it's not restricted by a term of time and it doesn't earn interest.

I can only deposit "verified source" funds into this account, which includes wire transfers from my United States bank (Charles Schwab).

I can transfer funds out of this account and withdraw from an ATM or in the bank.

I'm pretty sure THIS is the type of account most foreigners need for their basic banking needs, IF they will be earning verified source income in Vietnam.

For instance, if the employer of a teacher assists the teacher in opening a bank account for the direct deposit of payroll checks, THIS is the type of account they would open.

The restrictions on THIS type of account have NOT been relaxed, as far as I can tell.

Regulations still appear to require 1 year of approved presence in Vietnam (and other documentation) for a foreigner to open THIS type of account.

International Accounts:

This is the term ACB Bank uses to describe my Prepaid Visa Debit Card account.

It accepts wire transfers.

As of yesterday (I deposited ₫8,000,000  VNĐ cash) I am still not required to verify the source of funds deposited into this account.

The account has a ₫200,000,000 VNĐ high balance limit.

I PERSONALLY think this is the best option for many foreigners because of the ability to deposit funds without verification of source, up to the high balance limit.

Keeping in mind something I posted earlier; just because a bank can do something, doesn't mean it will do something.

So the type of prepaid Visa debit card account that I can get with ACB Bank may not be possible with Timo Bank, not necessarily because of regulations, but because of the policies of that bank.

AkaMaverick :
sflxn :
colinoscapee :

Usually you can get between 8-9 if you leave it in a term deposit for 13 months.

What's a term deposit?  Is that like a CD?

Several names depending on the bank. Term Deposit, Time Deposit, Savings Book, ...
You deposit money for a selectable period (the longer the more interest).
When the term is up you can collect the interest or it will be credited to your account.
If you withdraw the money before the expiration date, there is no interest at all.

Timo (VP Bank) is the best solution.
The interest is high. Maybe there are banks with a little more interest, but with Timo you can handle all very easy by the phone app or the computer.
For example when you want use 200 million dong for term deposit, you can partition the amount in 4 part a 50 million. If you need money, you only loose the interest for 50 million.
And the Timo phone app and the webpage are really complete in English (many Vietnamese webpage are not completely translated in English).

Since the relaxing of regulations only applies to "Term Deposits", I'm quoting/reposting this excellent explanation by AkaMaverick

Term Deposit (Time Deposit):
Time deposits are invested in a "sub-account" of a regular Vietnamese bank account (different names).
You can close the time deposit account at any time. The money is automatically moved to the main account. The interest accrued until then is lost. You lose nothing of the invested money, only the interest on it.
If you do not close the time deposit account before the expiration date, the time deposit and the interest are automatically moved to the main account.
You can then create one (or many) new term deposit accounts.
With many banks you can do everything very easily via eBanking or a phone app.

At Sacombank there is a hardcopy "Savings Book".
You have to go to a branch to get the interest and create a new "Savings Book".
You can also cancel the "Savings Book" before the expiration and get all the money (but without interest).

The Sacombank "Savings Book" is the path taken by many millions of Vietnamese. They collect the interest once a year and live on it for months.

AkaMaverick :

Term Deposit (Time Deposit):
Time deposits are invested in a "sub-account" of a regular Vietnamese bank account (different names).
You can close the time deposit account at any time. The money is automatically moved to the main account. The interest accrued until then is lost. You lose nothing of the invested money, only the interest on it.
If you do not close the time deposit account before the expiration date, the time deposit and the interest are automatically moved to the main account.
You can then create one (or many) new term deposit accounts.
With many banks you can do everything very easily via eBanking or a phone app.

At Sacombank there is a hardcopy "Savings Book".
You have to go to a branch to get the interest and create a new "Savings Book".
You can also cancel the "Savings Book" before the expiration and get all the money (but without interest).

The Sacombank "Savings Book" is the path taken by many millions of Vietnamese. They collect the interest once a year and live on it for months.

So, I wonder if that "regular" account can be opened with less than 1 year approved presence here?

Do you see the potential problem?

Jlgarbutt :

So if i arrive on a 3 month business visa, pocket full of cash in more than likely USD.
If im carrying more then 5k im supposed to declare on arrival - thats fine im happy to do so

But then means i can no longer open an account without a longer visa (im from the uk) so how to stay safe until i get a work permit ?

My wife is Vietnamese.. would this make a difference ?

To add to my previous reply, which I cannot quote because the link is under review, Ciambella has reminded me that you would likely get a VEC (Visa Exemption Certificate).

That would definitely allow you to open an account.

OceanBeach92107 :
AkaMaverick :

Term Deposit (Time Deposit):
Time deposits are invested in a "sub-account" of a regular Vietnamese bank account (different names).
You can close the time deposit account at any time. The money is automatically moved to the main account. The interest accrued until then is lost. You lose nothing of the invested money, only the interest on it.
If you do not close the time deposit account before the expiration date, the time deposit and the interest are automatically moved to the main account.
You can then create one (or many) new term deposit accounts.
With many banks you can do everything very easily via eBanking or a phone app.

At Sacombank there is a hardcopy "Savings Book".
You have to go to a branch to get the interest and create a new "Savings Book".
You can also cancel the "Savings Book" before the expiration and get all the money (but without interest).

The Sacombank "Savings Book" is the path taken by many millions of Vietnamese. They collect the interest once a year and live on it for months.

So, I wonder if that "regular" account can be opened with less than 1 year approved presence here?

Do you see the potential problem?

In the new Timo contract conditions for foreigners (the link you posted), it says that a foreigner can only open a regular Timo bank account if he has a visa that is valid for at least 12 months and that he can only add a term deposit if he has a visa that is valid for at least 6 months.
That means for me, after he already has a Timo account, he will need at least a 6 month visa to add later a new time deposit (maximum 6 months).

I forgot to mention this important information:
"The above documents do not need  to have 12 months remaining validity from the date of applying to join Timo."

So you don't have to open an account on the first day of your 12-month visa.

AkaMaverick :
OceanBeach92107 :
AkaMaverick :

Term Deposit (Time Deposit):
Time deposits are invested in a "sub-account" of a regular Vietnamese bank account (different names).
You can close the time deposit account at any time. The money is automatically moved to the main account. The interest accrued until then is lost. You lose nothing of the invested money, only the interest on it.
If you do not close the time deposit account before the expiration date, the time deposit and the interest are automatically moved to the main account.
You can then create one (or many) new term deposit accounts.
With many banks you can do everything very easily via eBanking or a phone app.

At Sacombank there is a hardcopy "Savings Book".
You have to go to a branch to get the interest and create a new "Savings Book".
You can also cancel the "Savings Book" before the expiration and get all the money (but without interest).

The Sacombank "Savings Book" is the path taken by many millions of Vietnamese. They collect the interest once a year and live on it for months.

So, I wonder if that "regular" account can be opened with less than 1 year approved presence here?

Do you see the potential problem?

In the new Timo contract conditions for foreigners (the link you posted), it says that a foreigner can only open a regular Timo bank account if he has a visa that is valid for at least 12 months and that he can only add a term deposit if he has a visa that is valid for at least 6 months.
That means for me, after he already has a Timo account, he will need at least a 6 month visa to add later a new time deposit (maximum 6 months).

I forgot to mention this important information:
"The above documents do not need  to have 12 months remaining validity from the date of applying to join Timo."

So you don't have to open an account on the first day of your 12-month visa.

This is EXACTLY what I thought (how I interpreted ALL new rules).

Thanks very much for confirming it.

This then seems to be in line with the regulations for ALL banks.

AkaMaverick :
OceanBeach92107 :
AkaMaverick :

Term Deposit (Time Deposit):
Time deposits are invested in a "sub-account" of a regular Vietnamese bank account (different names).
You can close the time deposit account at any time. The money is automatically moved to the main account. The interest accrued until then is lost. You lose nothing of the invested money, only the interest on it.
If you do not close the time deposit account before the expiration date, the time deposit and the interest are automatically moved to the main account.
You can then create one (or many) new term deposit accounts.
With many banks you can do everything very easily via eBanking or a phone app.

At Sacombank there is a hardcopy "Savings Book".
You have to go to a branch to get the interest and create a new "Savings Book".
You can also cancel the "Savings Book" before the expiration and get all the money (but without interest).

The Sacombank "Savings Book" is the path taken by many millions of Vietnamese. They collect the interest once a year and live on it for months.

So, I wonder if that "regular" account can be opened with less than 1 year approved presence here?

Do you see the potential problem?

In the new Timo contract conditions for foreigners (the link you posted), it says that a foreigner can only open a regular Timo bank account if he has a visa that is valid for at least 12 months and that he can only add a term deposit if he has a visa that is valid for at least 6 months.
That means for me, after he already has a Timo account, he will need at least a 6 month visa to add later a new time deposit (maximum 6 months).

I forgot to mention this important information:
"The above documents do not need  to have 12 months remaining validity from the date of applying to join Timo."

So you don't have to open an account on the first day of your 12-month visa.

Sacombank still gives foreigners a "savings book"? Every other bank I talked to now says you can only get a "savings contract" which is many pages stapled together instead of a compact "book".

I believe you still have to open an account on the very first day of your new 12 month visa if you want a 12 month term deposit since the visa can only be for the REMAINING validity of your visa.

According to this link given earlier:

https://www.scb.com.vn/eng/detail/perso … foreigners

the "term deposit for foreigners" has 7.5% interest for 12 month term.

Now go to this link: https://www.scb.com.vn/eng/pages/webtools_interestrate

Under "Product", select "DAC LOC TAI SAVINGS"

And you see the interest rate for Vietnamese citizens for same 12 month term deposit is 8.45%.

So they are giving us almost 1% LESS interest than the natives.

I've never heard of this kind of discrimination against foreigners in other countries' banks.

Next will they be telling us to go to the back of the bus?

hyagly256 :

And you see the interest rate for Vietnamese citizens for same 12 month term deposit is 8.45%.

So they are giving us almost 1% LESS interest than the natives.

I've never heard of this kind of discrimination against foreigners in other countries' banks.

Next will they be telling us to go to the back of the bus?

Nobody's forcing you to go to that bank. At my bank there is only one interest rate for everyone. I have the same interest rate as my wife.

hyagly256 :

I believe you still have to open an account on the very first day of your new 12 month visa if you want a 12 month term deposit since the visa can only be for the REMAINING validity of your visa.

Some hanks are offering incremental terms.

The link THIGV shared earlier for Saigon Bank showed 11 month terms possible.

Slightly lower rate, yes.

ACB bank seems to only offer 6 and 12 months (and other higher terms)

Jlgarbutt :

So if i arrive on a 3 month business visa, pocket full of cash in more than likely USD.
If im carrying more then 5k im supposed to declare on arrival - thats fine im happy to do so

But then means i can no longer open an account without a longer visa (im from the uk) so how to stay safe until i get a work permit ?

My wife is Vietnamese.. would this make a difference ?

One other point I don't think anyone addressed in response to your post:

Even if you manage to open a bank account, you will be very limited regarding depositing the cash you bring.

Domestic Vietnamese accounts require that all deposits be from verified funds, such as payroll payments from a Vietnam employer or wire transfers from foreign banks.

Your only option now for depositing cash is to open an International account such as a prepaid debit card account.

Your debit card will be useable here for Point of Sale (POS) and internet purchases, and you will be able to wire transfer money into it.

If you open a PayPal Vietnam account, you can transfer funds from your foreign bank into the debit card account.

Transferwise and other services can also transfer money into the account for you.

You can also arrange for certain foreign direct deposit payments to be sent to your debit card account.

You will not be allowed to transfer funds out of this account into a Vietnam domestic account, but you will be allowed to transfer funds from a domestic account into your international account.

OceanBeach92107 :
Dan911 :

But there is still no way to open a bank account here if I dont have 12 months visa right?

even if I will feed the account legally from EU bank.

That does appear to be the case, however a charitable reading of the regulations has caused some to say that you would be eligible if you have a total of 12 months or more of approved presence, say with 4 consecutive 3-month tourist visas.

I don't think that is so, but it's worth contacting individual banks to see if they might honor that scenario.

Yea, I dont think so either. I do believe that if I run few banks, MAYBE I might be lucky and one will do, just because, this is Vietnam. But I am too lazy to do that, I would rather follow some official way.

I wanted it for moca pay only anyway haha

Dan911 :
OceanBeach92107 :
Dan911 :

But there is still no way to open a bank account here if I dont have 12 months visa right?

even if I will feed the account legally from EU bank.

That does appear to be the case, however a charitable reading of the regulations has caused some to say that you would be eligible if you have a total of 12 months or more of approved presence, say with 4 consecutive 3-month tourist visas.

I don't think that is so, but it's worth contacting individual banks to see if they might honor that scenario.

Yea, I dont think so either. I do believe that if I run few banks, MAYBE I might be lucky and one will do, just because, this is Vietnam. But I am too lazy to do that, I would rather follow some official way.

I wanted it for moca pay only anyway haha

That is one of the main reasons I wanted a Vietnam bank debit card.

I was missing out on a lot of GRAB rideshare perks by not having one.

I opened the link for Saigon commercial bank. I see 6 months is mentioned again. I assume having a 3 month tourist visa in passport means I can't use this bank or their term deposit.

Fancybear :

I opened the link for Saigon commercial bank. I see 6 months is mentioned again. I assume having a 3 month tourist visa in passport means I can't use this bank or their term deposit.

Please read the full thread after that. You can only open a six month deposit account if you have a regular account, and the regular account does require one year. It's all explained after the post you are talking about

Ah okay. My apologies  for not looking carefully at the thread. I am done with looking at the long term here. It's not worth it.  The VND also goes off a cliff every 18 months so it is very unclear that the interest earned on a term deposit looks as  impressive by the time USD gains strength. USD  likely gains unstoppably due to sketchy yuan, trade  war, the fact the euro has serious design flaws.Strong USD is on the way, so VND looks less appealing over 5 years. The changing regulations in Vietnam are all still indicative of the targeting of foreign registered bank accounts with regulation. Can't deposit cash, can't open, can't invest in time deps. What is coming next is my question? I will guess at it here.

I see  capital gains taxes and potentially looking back through deposit history to query and then write up some regs or AML and freeze foreign accounts. That's what I would do if I wanted to freeze assets and claim I am the good guy..like the state regulators are. It's  all upside for bank reserves. I see the regulation  as indicative of the stress in the banking system. I do not see the state bank as the good guys at all

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