Best place to exchange money in Vietnam

Best place to exchange money in Vietnam – Nearly all payments are made in cash in all of Vietnam. Vietnam Dong is the local currency (VND). Therefore, when you visit a restaurant or shopping, it is always important to have a small amount of money on you.  The question then is: where is the best place to exchange money in Vietnam? 

For most monetary transactions, people in Vietnam like using cash more than cards. Though card payment is increasingly popular, cards are only allowed in places like restaurants, shopping centers, and so on. Moreover, sidewalk sales are everywhere in the country, and cards are never accepted, so the optimal choice is still to bring cash with you.

Furthermore, any other currency payments other than VND in Vietnam are illegal. You can pay only in the currency of Vietnam. It’s a must to exchange your money for VND while traveling to Vietnam.

Where is the best place to exchange money in Vietnam?

First off, it’s better to come to Vietnam to exchange money than exchange money in your home country. Why?

The reason is, you’re going to get a much better rate when you exchange your currency in Vietnam. So wait till you get here. Many currencies around the world are widely accepted for exchange, including US dollars, pounds, euros, and Australian dollars.

Best place to exchange money in Vietnam

(Source: uob.com.vn)

Vietnamese dong (VND) is the official currency of Vietnam. The VND 10,000 is the smallest polymerized bill you’re going to find on the street these days. But you’ll find bills of 1000 VND and 2000 VND. The upper limit is the bill for VND 500,000.

Major currencies can be exchanged almost anywhere in Vietnam, but not all exchange facilities are equal. Banks and airport money exchangers can change your money at a high cost compared to a jewelry shop in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, so it’s worth asking dong around before trading dollars.

So where is the best place to exchange money in Vietnam? You have a few options:

Airports

Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) or Tan San Nhat Airport (Ho Chi Minh City). After immigration and customs, you will find certain Vietinbank and Exim Bank currency exchange stalls. However, an unfavorable exchange rate is generally applied to these booths. You should therefore change only a small amount that is sufficient to cover your taxi fare and other necessities, and then go to the city for a better rate.

Best place to exchange money in Vietnam

Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) has two passenger terminals: Terminal 1 serves national flights and Terminal 2 serves international flights to and from Hanoi. Both of Noi Bai Airport’s terminals provide currency exchange services. Currency exchange rates at Noi Bai Airport may not be the best you can get in Hanoi, but money-changers here still give quite a good rate, particularly if you carry US Dollars.

Currency exchange rates at Ho Chi Minh Tan Son Nhat Airport are equal to some of the best exchange rates you can get in Ho Chi Minh City if you only choose the right currency exchanger. Money changes can be found at both Ho Chi Minh Airport terminals: the domestic terminal (Terminal 1) and the international terminal (Terminal 2). However, you will need to go to Terminal 2 to get the best exchange rate.

Banks

In Vietnam, you can easily find currency exchange counters for popular banks all around the city such as Eximbank, Vietcombank, Vietinbank, Agribank, etc.

Banks are the safest places to exchange your money. The government-run Vietcombank may exchange dong for US dollars, Euros, British Pounds, Japanese Yen, Thai Baht, and Singapore dollars. Banks in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will allow you to change foreign currencies and most traveler’s checks. You will be charged a commission rate of between 0.5 and 2% for the latter.

Best place to exchange money in Vietnam

Note that if you intend to exchange money with banks, you always bring in new notes; any damaged or dirty notes will be charged an additional 2% of the face value of the note.

Hotels

Another money exchange option is at hotels. A majority of hotels agree to do this. Your hotel used to help its clients stay in Vietnam to make it easier. So, there are many things you can ask them to do and also to exchange your money. Without taking any commission, the hotel will exchange your money at the actual rate. But, the hotel will often not be able to exchange large sums of money because they do not have enough Vietnam Dong in the cash register.  

Note that not all hotels are willing to exchange money. Small and budget hotels will not be willing to exchange money. Larger hotels may offer competitive rates with banks, but smaller hotels such as those in the Old Quarter of Hanoi or near some of Vietnam’s top beaches may charge an additional fee for the service.

Gold and jewelry shops

It’s very simple to exchange money at gold shops. No form needed to be filled out, no passport required, and it’s very straightforward. 

Best place to exchange money in Vietnam

The prices in these shops can be surprisingly fair, without any fees (unlike those in hotels and airport bureaux de change). You can find gold and jewelry shops in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, especially the Hang Bo and Ha Trung streets. They offer better deals, as do gold and jewelry shops in Nguyen An Ninh Street, Ho Chi Minh City (near Ben Thanh Market).

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Tips for exchanging Vietnamese money

  • First, you should check the current exchange rate. You can do this by searching the Internet or using smartphone currency apps. It’s going to give you an idea of what the rate is and what you’re offered should be reasonably close to it. 
  • Make sure the notes you’re going to exchange are in good condition. Damages may not be accepted or you will have to pay an additional fee.
  • Make sure that you are given some VND notes, including some lower denomination, when swapping. When you buy low-cost items, if you give them 500,000 dong notes, they might not have enough changes to pay you back. So having many notes that include 20,000, 50,000, and 100,000 dong notes will make it easier.
  • Don’t mistake one bill for the next. As if multiple zeros aren’t confusing enough, some VND denominations may look very similar to the untrained eye. With VND 100,000 bills, many tourists have overpaid, mistaking them for the equally greenish VND 10,000.
  • The 2003 issue of Vietnam dong is made of long-lasting polymer, not paper: and these plastic notes can stick together, presenting another risk that you will overpay for your goods. When you pay for a purchase, flick or peel your notes carefully.
  • Don’t change your currencies on the black market. At any moment, the legal exchange rate beats black market rates; claims of better prices are probably only the lead-up to a scam.
  • Pay proper respect. When visiting a pagoda, just before you leave, leave a small donation
  • Before leaving the exchange stall, make sure you count the money.
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