Travel credit cards (Mastercard/Visa) - refillable

My finance will be traveling in a few weeks from HCMC to Atlanta via Incheon on Korean Airlines with our new K-1 visa (YAYYY).  Anyway, I would like to get a refillable travel credit/debit card with the Mastercar or Visa logo for use during the travel.  Any suggestions on the betters ones and where can it be purchased.  We will contact Citibank (Nguyen Hue) tomorrow to see if they have available.  Thanks!!!  Jeff

jefflaborda :

My finance will be traveling in a few weeks from HCMC to Atlanta via Incheon on Korean Airlines with our new K-1 visa (YAYYY).  Anyway, I would like to get a refillable travel credit/debit card with the Mastercar or Visa logo for use during the travel.  Any suggestions on the betters ones and where can it be purchased.  We will contact Citibank (Nguyen Hue) tomorrow to see if they have available.  Thanks!!!  Jeff

You don't make it clear if you are currently here in Vietnam (will YOU walk into the bank or contact them from outside Vietnam?)

ACB Bank has a "prepaid debit" Visa card account in Vietnam Đồng.

I use it primarily for online purchases within Vietnam (Vietnam Airlines, Booking. com, etc).

I have no idea as to what Foreign transaction fees or exchange fees might be incurred for use outside of Vietnam.

However, it IS a bank account, subject to Banking Regulations for Foreigners Opening New Accounts

It will probably be easier for her to open that type of account here in Vietnam.

I have sent a wire transfer from the USA directly into the card account without any problem, but with the wire charge plus foreign exchange fee, it's not a cheap option.

You can't safely send her any type of activated card by mail (through customs) and the major shipping companies (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc) will refuse to accept the shipment, unless the card is not yet activated and sent by a financial institution, such as a replacement card being sent by a U.S. Bank (I have recent experience receiving a card from Schwab Bank as well as having futilely attempted to send a friend their active cards from Vietnam to Europe).

Probably your best solution is for your fiancée to open an account here and for you to fund it through wire transfer or a service such as Transferwise or Zoom by PayPal, but I'm happy to be corrected by either a more detailed explanation of your logistical situation OR by someone else with a different option.

Cheers!

Thank you sir.  I appreciate your help.

jefflaborda :

My finance will be traveling in a few weeks from HCMC to Atlanta via Incheon on Korean Airlines with our new K-1 visa (YAYYY).

By the time your fiance obtained a fillable card from a Viet Bank and by the time you got it loaded by foreign funds transfer, she will be in Atlanta.  If you really feel she needs access to cash in Korea, why not buy and load up a card in the US and send it to her by FEDEX.  You should be able to accomplish that in just a few days.  If there is a Vietnamese community in Atlanta, as I imagine there is, you could ask around about services that send cash.  Try looking for a Vietnamese owned travel agency.  You provide the exact address and phone number and they will deliver crisp $100 bills right to her home in HCMC.  The fee should be $3 per 100.

BTW, my experience with overnight stay-overs in Taiwan and in Korea, when traveling from Vietnam, is that travelers are pretty much restricted to their hotels.  In Taiwan, they took everyone's passports and gave them back when we got back on the bus to the airport.  Once in the Philippines, going to Vietnam, was the only time I recall being free to go out on the town but I was too tired.  In any case, you should not really worry much for cash for her as the hotel stay is usually all expenses paid including meals.

THIGV :
jefflaborda :

My finance will be traveling in a few weeks from HCMC to Atlanta via Incheon on Korean Airlines with our new K-1 visa (YAYYY).

By the time your fiance obtained a fillable card from a Viet Bank and by the time you got it loaded by foreign funds transfer, she will be in Atlanta.  If you really feel she needs access to cash in Korea, why not buy and load up a card in the US and send it to her by FEDEX.  You should be able to accomplish that in just a few days.  If there is a Vietnamese community in Atlanta, as I imagine there is, you could ask around about services that send cash.  Try looking for a Vietnamese owned travel agency.  You provide the exact address and phone number and they will deliver crisp $100 bills right to her home in HCMC.  The fee should be $3 per 100.

BTW, my experience with overnight stay-overs in Taiwan and in Korea, when traveling from Vietnam, is that travelers are pretty much restricted to their hotels.  In Taiwan, they took everyone's passports and gave them back when we got back on the bus to the airport.  Once in the Philippines, going to Vietnam, was the only time I recall being free to go out on the town but I was too tired.  In any case, you should not really worry much for cash for her as the hotel stay is usually all expenses paid including meals.

Deleted. I guess I didn't read your post right.  :D

THIGV :
jefflaborda :

My finance will be traveling in a few weeks from HCMC to Atlanta via Incheon on Korean Airlines with our new K-1 visa (YAYYY).

By the time your fiance obtained a fillable card from a Viet Bank and by the time you got it loaded by foreign funds transfer, she will be in Atlanta.

Not my experience.

As a foreigner (with assistance from a Vietnamese citizen) I received my Visa prepaid debit card within 2 hours of opening my account at an ACB branch in Tam Ky.

When I sent a Schwab Bank wire transfer to the account/card, the transaction cleared within 24 hours.

Since the OP outlined "a few weeks" timeframe, he (and she) should have no problem creating the card account and fully funding it by the end of this week (it's Tuesday morning here now).

THIGV :

If you really feel she needs access to cash in Korea, why not buy and load up a card in the US and send it to her by FEDEX.

You might have overlooked my statement regarding a recent attempt to help one of our fellow forum members when there was a need to have their active credit cards in Vietnam forwarded to them as they were traveling in Europe.

FedEx, DHL and UPS refuse to ship ACTIVATED payment cards, and will only ship inactivated cards directly from the card issuer.

But again, no need to worry about that option when OP can accomplish what he and she need to do through any bank here that has a similar prepaid debit card account available.

OceanBeach92107 :

FedEx, DHL and UPS refuse to ship ACTIVATED payment cards, and will only ship inactivated cards directly from the card issuer.

I am Ivory Snow certain that this is to protect the carriers from liability if the shipment is lost.  If you hand them an envelope and state that it is documents, they will ship it.  The only thing is the risk is all on you. 

Getting back to the basic supposition, even if you could set up and load the card in just a few days, why do you need to?    The stopover in Korea is almost surely less than 24 hours and meals are included.  If it is Korean Air, the rooms and restaurants are actually rather nice.  If I remember correctly it is a Hyatt.  Anyway, she won't have much time to go anywhere even if she wanted to.

THIGV :
OceanBeach92107 :

FedEx, DHL and UPS refuse to ship ACTIVATED payment cards, and will only ship inactivated cards directly from the card issuer.

I am Ivory Snow certain that this is to protect the carriers from liability if the shipment is lost.  If you hand them an envelope and state that it is documents, they will ship it.  The only thing is the risk is all on you. 

Getting back to the basic supposition, even if you could set up and load the card in just a few days, why do you need to?    The stopover in Korea is almost surely less than 24 hours and meals are included.  If it is Korean Air, the rooms and restaurants are actually rather nice.  If I remember correctly it is a Hyatt.  Anyway, she won't have much time to go anywhere even if she wanted to.

Yeah, a person could definitely assume all the risk, fool the shipping company, and hope that customs doesn't open the package, and...

Is that seriously your recommendation as a person who has previously lived in Vietnam?

As for the unsolicited advice you are offering the OP regarding your assessment of his fiancée's financial needs during the trip, maybe it's because of your marriage, but you seem to be adopting the Vietnamese habit of questioning and rationalizing a pretty straightforward request.

Or are you attempting to protect him against the possibility of the fiancée taking off with the funds and leaving him waiting for her forever at the airport?

If you think it's too big a risk for him at this stage, maybe say that?

jefflaborda :

My finance will be traveling in a few weeks from HCMC to Atlanta via Incheon on Korean Airlines with our new K-1 visa (YAYYY).  Anyway, I would like to get a refillable travel credit/debit card with the Mastercar or Visa logo for use during the travel.  Any suggestions on the betters ones and where can it be purchased.  We will contact Citibank (Nguyen Hue) tomorrow to see if they have available.  Thanks!!!  Jeff

I had the Sacombank All for You Visa card for a 2-3 years:

https://www.sacombank.com.vn/canhan/Pag … r-You.aspx

It's pretty basic. A bread and butter visa card. It doesn't come with a current account, so opening account is straight forward. Only thing is not many staff in the smaller branches may be aware of it, so show the website above on your phone/tablet.

Money can be only be paid in at branches or through CDM (Cash deposit machine), I've never tried the CDM option because had never really seen a sacombank CDM during the time I was using it.

I gave up that account and signed up with TIMO which offers a fully fledged current account (but no VISA card - still the card they offer is accepted widely in Vietnam)

If you do go for the Sacombank All for you card ask if you/your fiance can get Internet banking and/or SMS banking to keep track of deposits and spending. It should be available for a small fee every month. The card itself is about 50k VND and have a validity of up to 1-3 years. (The cards come with the expiry date pre-printed, so you may walk in to a branch that have cards expiring on 12/22 or they may say 12/20. The latter happened to me on the last occasion.)

BTW, It's issued on the Spot.

sanooku :
jefflaborda :

My finance will be traveling in a few weeks from HCMC to Atlanta via Incheon on Korean Airlines with our new K-1 visa (YAYYY).  Anyway, I would like to get a refillable travel credit/debit card with the Mastercar or Visa logo for use during the travel.  Any suggestions on the betters ones and where can it be purchased.  We will contact Citibank (Nguyen Hue) tomorrow to see if they have available.  Thanks!!!  Jeff

If you do go for the Sacombank All for you card ask if you can get Internet banking and/or SMS banking to keep track of your spending. It should be available for a small fee every month. The card itself is about 50k VND...

Good points.

I paid about the same to get my ACB card account.

Internet banking and SMS are available.

Pretty sure I pay only ₫5,500.00 VNĐ per month as a service charge.

It's also limited to a ₫200,000,000.00 VNĐ maximum balance at ACB.

OceanBeach92107 :

Or are you attempting to protect him against the possibility of the fiancée taking off with the funds and leaving him waiting for her forever at the airport?

If you think it's too big a risk for him at this stage, maybe say that?

Not at all.  My supposition from the beginning has been that the OP simply wanted her to have enough spending power to get through an unforeseen emergency.  A few hundred dollars should certainly suffice.  As I discussed, expenses in Korea should be nil or nearly, but USD certainly would be more accepted than VND to change to Korean Won (KRW?) if needed.  So the only other thing she might need a credit card or US cash for might be a cab if he is the one who fails to show up at the airport in Atlanta.   :sosad: 

We haven't heard from the OP lately, so I am assuming he has found a solution that meets his needs.

Just my two cents: prepay travel multicurrency MasterCard works pretty well. Beware of extra withdraw fees, that vary by Vietnamese bank. VietInBank was my go-to choice, with 60k VND fee being among other lowest. There is some confusion about which type of "account" you select at the ATM (savings, chequing, credit, current). I believe "current" (whatever that means) worked.

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