Money in Vietnam: A Tourist Guide to ATMs, Cards and Exchange

This is for all travelers to Vietnam who want to know how to handle money and payments in the country of the Dong.

I will tell you all about withdrawing from an ATM, exchanging currency, and paying by card.

Do you want to know which ATMs don’t charge an access fee? TPbank and VPbank!

Do you wonder if you can use Revolut and Wise in Vietnam? Yes, no problems at all!

This is the full guide to money in Vietnam for tourists!

Currency in Vietnam

The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese đồng with code VND.

First things first – don’t laugh at the name! It’s the name for the copper material of the coins in Vietnam’s ancient past. In modern times it just means money, plain and simple, really nothing phallic about it.

It’s one of those currencies with a lot of zeroes. Rampant inflation after 1985 resulted in one of the weakest currencies (unit for unit) in the world to this day. And the proliferation of the joke that everybody is a millionaire in Vietnam.

2 banknotes of 500.000 Vietnamese dong each
1 million VND is around 42 USD

There are no coins in Vietnam anymore.

The banknote denominations are 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10.000, 20.000, 50.000, 100.000, 200.000, and 500.000.

All banknotes 10.000 and over are now made of polymer making them very durable (unlike money in Laos where you also have to carry lots around and they get ruined pretty quickly being of cotton).

The biggest banknote of 500.000 VND (~21$) means you don’t have to carry a thick lump of money like with the Indonesian Rupiah.

Can you use your card in Vietnam?

Yes, you can use your foreign card to pay for some things in Vietnam.

Foreign card payments are not that common though. It’s only true in cities and popular tourist hotspots. Bigger hotels, bigger supermarkets, and most tour operators will accept payment by card.

However, most will charge a 2% to 4% commission.

Smaller supermarkets, traditional open-air markets, family-run guesthouses, etc. of course, only accept cash. Imagine going to a floating market on the Mekong Delta and trying to pay by card, ain’t happening mate!

3 debit cards (Visa and Mastercard) from Monese, Revolut and Curve
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Vietnam

All kinds of cards are accepted: Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, and American Express.

ATMs in Vietnam

ATMs are everywhere in the cities of Vietnam. You won’t have to walk more than a few meters to find an ATM.

In more remote locations like Ha Giang region in the far north or rural villages around Sapa finding an ATM may prove to be an impossible task.

TPbank has the best ATMs (and the most stylish)!

Visas and Mastercards will always be accepted by ATMs. For Maestro and AMEX you may have to try a few ATMs before you find one that accepts your card.

The maximum withdrawal amount on ATMs is between 2 and 5 million VND. The maximum is at TPbank at 5 million.

Withdrawal Fees

Here comes the tricky part – avoiding those pesky ATM withdrawal fees. I’m not talking about the fees you get charged by your bank – those you can avoid by using a FinTech solution like Revolut, Curve, or Monese.

Most ATMs in Vietnam charge a withdrawal fee between 20.000 and 50.000 VND (0.8-2$).

ATMs without withdrawal fees

Only TPbank and VPbank ATMs offer free withdrawals in Vietnam.

Although most ATMs will tell you if there’s an access fee, some in Vietnam don’t. You will only realize you paid a 50.000 VND fee when you check your bank statement. Urghh!

The best ATMs in Vietnam for foreigners are TPbank and VPbank because you can withdraw money without a fee. Guaranteed, tried and tested! Feel free to send me an angry message if they charge you a withdrawal fee!

VPbank is the best ATM to withdraw money in Vietnam
TPBank’s logo – the best bank for travelers in Vietnam

And yes, I did try most of the other different banks, including Agribank, Vietinbank, Vietcombank, BIDV, Shinhan Bank, HSBC, and more that I don’t remember the names of. They all charge an access fee.

Some travelers report that Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB) also doesn’t charge a fee. I haven’t tried it myself. If you have, let me know in the comments below.

You can find TPbank ATMs on Google Maps. They’re not the most common but there are at least 1-2 in every city (and more in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City).

TPbank is easily recognizable by its vivid purple colors.

VPbank on the other hand has its branding in green and red.

Exchanging Money in Vietnam

You don’t have to exchange money in Vietnam if you have a card with low fees like Revolut. It will probably turn out to be more expensive to exchange cash than to withdraw from an ATM due to the exchange rate margins.

But I understand if you carry cash when traveling and exchange it for the local currency. It’s normal and safe. So here’s how to be prepared about exchanging money in Vietnam.

What currency to bring

As with almost anywhere in the world, the US dollar is the best foreign currency to carry to Vietnam.

You will have no issues exchanging these currencies too:

  • Euro;
  • British Pound;
  • Japanese Yen;
  • Chinese Yuan;
  • Swiss Franc;
  • Australian Dollar;
  • New Zealand Dollar;
  • Canadian Dollar;
  • Singaporean Dollar;
  • Malaysian Ringgit;

If your currency is not on the list it’s better to change your money to something more widely accepted.

I once tried to exchange 20 euros in Vietinbank where they told me they only change US dollars. But the bank next door, Agribank gladly accepted the euros and exchanged them in a few minutes.

The Gold Shops in popular tourist hotspots accept all sorts of currency and are unlikely to turn you around.

Where to Exchange Money

Vietnam is a popular travel destination and exchanging money is common, widespread, and standard.

You can exchange at:

  • Banks (Takes a few minutes. Bring your passport!)
  • Exchange bureaus in a city (Best rates)
  • Gold and Jewelry stores (Most double down as exchange bureaus, thus their rates are good)
  • Airports (worst rates)
  • Hotels (just okay)
  • Tour Agencies (bad rates considering there’s usually a bureau or a gold shop nearby)
  • Dodgy guy at the market (you’re setting yourself up to be scammed)

Tips for Changing Money in Vietnam

Most of these are common sense and not any different from other countries. Here are my top tips:

  • Higher denominations = higher rates. For USD, 50 and 100 yield a slightly better rate.
  • Damaged banknotes = lower rates + fee (if accepted at all);
  • Don’t accept foreign banknotes with ANY damage (if changing Dong back to USD for example);

Pro Tips and Common Scams

Scams are one of the reasons I don’t like Vietnam. I don’t get scammed easily but even so, it takes energy and mental fortitude to avoid all the ways in which you can overpay unfairly.

I’ve compiled some smart tips from my travels to Vietnam and fellow travelers’ confessions to give you a heads-up.

  • Polymer STICKS when even a little wet. Count your banknotes slowly and twice!
  • Never take any banknotes with tears or holes.
  • Check banknotes against light (use your smartphone flashlight in the dark) to confirm they are not forgeries. Fake banknotes are rare in Vietnam but they do exist.
  • Be careful with the so-called “Spirit Money”. These are fake banknotes made of poor-quality paper, for burning and Buddhist ceremonies. They vaguely resemble real USD or VND banknotes but fail to close up scrutiny easily. Nonetheless, in the dark, some not-so-kind individuals may try their luck with you.
  • Mentally ignore the last 3 zeroes to make calculations easier. 50.000 is just 50k, 20.000 is 20k.
  • Know the multiple of your currency. Say you use US dollars and 10.000 VND is 0.4$. Your multiple is 4. If something costs 40.000 VND, ignore the zeroes, multiply by 4 and you have 16, i.e. 1.6$; Quick maths: 230k VND? -> 2.3*4 =9.2 USD.
  • 10k, 50k, and 200k are in a similar shade. Be careful!
  • 20k and 500k are also in a similar shade. Be very careful with these two!
  • The most common scam is when you pay with 500k, the payee then secretly switches it to 20k and pretends he only received 20k. Taxi drivers are known to do this. They start being aggressive, it can get ugly quickly. Change 500k notes to smaller ones at reputable establishments!

How much cash to bring to Vietnam?

This depends on your way of traveling and your budget. Using your card in Vietnam is pretty easy so there’s no need to go overboard with physical cash.

My advice is to have at least 200$ just in case something goes wrong with your bank cards and you need emergency cash until you sort it out.

Braised pork with noodles (bun cha) = 45k VND (<2$)!

When I went to Vietnam I had exactly that much stashed away but since I exclusively used my Revolut and Curve cards, I’ve only ever changed 20 euros once.

On the other hand, if you’re wondering how much money you need to travel to Vietnam, you can check out my backpacker’s budget report for Vietnam.

Example prices

These are actual price ranges from 2024. Inflation isn’t very high right now, so they should remain stable. (Note: 10.000 = 10k, all prices in VND)

  • Coffee with milk: 10 – 25k;
  • Pho soup: 35 – 50k;
  • Banh Mi sandwich: 6 – 25k;
  • Passionfruit cooler: 15 – 25k;
  • Can of beer (supermarket): 8 – 20k;
  • Can of beer (street bar): 15 – 40k;
  • Museums: 20 – 50k;
  • Public bus ticket in HCMC or Hanoi: 6 – 10k;
  • 1-hour full-body massage: 200-400k;
  • Budget hostel: 30 – 220k (usually breakfast included); 
  • Mid-range hotels – 300 – 800k;
  • Half-day group tour – 500k – 1 million;
  • Overland bus travel – ~50k per hour of travel
A boat ride in Van Long Nature Reserve – 100k (~4$)

See my budget report for Vietnam for more details.


Bargaining is an inseparable part of shopping in Vietnam.

In the eyes of locals, any foreigner is rich. Thus, the first price you will hear will be at least x3 what the locals pay.

It’s not uncommon to get a price 10 times higher than the actual!

As a foreigner, you will never get the locals’ price. But if you bargain playfully and politely, you can easily get at least a 50% discount most of the time.

Always assume you are getting the “tourist price” and ask for discounts. When I say always, I mean it – you can bargain for bus tickets, food, clothes, a coconut on the street, etc. You will be overcharged if you don’t bargain.


Tipping is not mandatory in Vietnam.

It’s not expected and it’s not common. Vietnamese people rarely tip.

And considering that you’re paying the tourist price already, one could assume that the tip is automatically included.

If you encounter genuinely friendly staff, exceptional service, and are overall happy with the way you were treated/pampered, do tip. It will bring smiles and good fortunes your way!

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s answer some of your most burning questions about money in Vietnam.

What is the ATM withdrawal limit in Vietnam?

The maximum withdrawal limit is 5 million VND (~195$) at TPbank ATMs.

TPbank doesn’t charge a withdrawal fee, so you can withdraw twice, thrice, or more in a row. There is no daily limit but you may have one set by your bank.

Can you use US dollars in Vietnam?

You can use US dollars to pay for SOME things in Vietnam.

For example, tours are usually advertised in dollars and payable in dollars too.

For most daily transactions though, only Vietnamese Dong is accepted.

Can you use Revolut in Vietnam?

Yes, Revolut cards work in Vietnam. Both VISA and Mastercard work. You can withdraw from ATMs and pay on POS terminals with your Revolut card.

Similar fintech apps like Wise, Monese, Curve, N26, and Starling also work there.

If you are going to other Southeast Asian countries, you may want to read my money guides for them too:


  1. Thanks for this recap! What kind of shopping apply to bargaining? Can this be applied to transportation or even fooding?

    1. Transportation – only for unmetered taxis, private transfers and when they’re trying to make you pay for luggage. Otherwise the prices are set and there’s no haggling.
      Food – mostly no, but sometimes yes. Just use your judgement – if the price is too high, especially if you aren’t in an overly touristy place, ask for a discount 🙂
      In Vietnam, almost everything is subject to bargaining. But then again, don’t push it too far.

  2. Currently in Tam Coc. Plenty of businesses have hand held atm machines or there is BIDV booth. All charge 4%! There is another outside Hidden Charm hotel that is not working.
    My advice, bring plenty of dong or try Ninh Binh.

    1. Good advice, Anne!
      There is a TPbank ATM in Ninh Binh for sure, it charges 0 for withdrawals.

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