Most Asian countries charge travelers insanely high ATM fees.
In Thailand, there’s a $5 surcharge per withdraw. Cambodia and the Philippines do this too.
It’s pretty steep, especially when you consider that local meals often cost a mere $2 – $3. Meaning that accessing your money is more expensive than eating.
Luckily, Vietnamese banks are more reasonable. Most ATM fees are between 30,000 – 50,000 VND ($1.50 to $2.50). A rate that’s pretty much in-line with what you’d pay in most Western countries.
That said, I do have some extra tips for banking in Vietnam.
Lowest ATM Fees
If you’re looking to save money on banking transactions, you’re in luck. There are two good options, both of which charge a measly 30,000 VND ($1.50) per withdraw.
These choices are AgriBank and SacomBank.
AgriBank ATMs have a brick-red color, while SacomBank’s are bright blue. Both are popular, and you’ll find them in every city.
Additionally, they’re often right next to more expensive options. Making it easy to save yourself a couple bucks with zero effort. It’s not a huge amount, but the savings do add up over time.
Protecting Your Money
According to many travel sites, ATMs (no matter the country) are a hotbed of crime.
They post warnings about thieves, card skimming devices, and muggers.
Now personally, I’ve never had a problem with any of these thing. And Vietnam is a pretty safe place overall. However, being cautious never hurt anyone.
As such, here are a few brief tips for protecting your money:
- Keep your wallet in your front pocket. It foils pickpockets.
- Keep some smaller bills on you when you’re taking a taxi. Most drivers don’t have change for 500,000 VND notes. Smaller bills ensure that you aren’t overpaying.
- Don’t buy a “travel pouch” (those canvas bags people wear around their necks) and use it in public. These look dorky, are impractical, and make you look like a tourist.
(Hammer Anvil Billfold)
- If you want a travel wallet, invest in something like the Hammer Anvil Billfold. They’re comfortable, look nice, and protect against card skimmers.
Like I’ve already said, Vietnam’s a very safe country.
There’s not much crime and most neighborhoods are perfectly safe. Use a little common sense, and you’ll be just fine.
There’s not a whole lot else to say about this subject.
Withdrawing money is a pretty straightforward topic, however it is something many travelers worry about.
Since countries like Thailand and the Philippines are known for their insane surcharges, they give all Asian banking systems a bad rap. Fortunately, Vietnam is one of the few Asian countries that doesn’t overcharge foreigners for withdrawing money.
Local ATM fees are generally reasonable, too. Most cost between $1.50 – $2.50.
Additionally, AgriBank and SacomBank have the lowest fees in the country. Both are about $1 cheaper than the competition.
Lastly, Vietnam’s crime rate is super low.
Use some basic safety precautions (like keeping your wallet in your front pocket) and you’ve got nothing to worry about.