As inflation has plagued Vietnam's currency for so long, you can find yourself using stacks of notes to just to pay for a bowl of pho. This means it's not always practical to change up your cash before travelling. So, what are the best travel money card options if you're exploring Vietnam?
Which currency is used in Vietnam?
The Vietnam dong (VND). Coins (starting at 200 VND) are rarely used or accepted. Notes start at 10,000 VND (equivalent to around 35p) and the highest value note is the 5,000,000 VND (around £175).
Should I use cash or card in Vietnam?
Cash is more popular than cards in Vietnam. However, as one meal could cost you more than 57,000 VND (£2), bringing enough travel money for your whole stay might be impractical.
If you're looking for a safe, practical way to access your travel money, bring a card (Visa, Mastercard and AMEX are widely accepted) and withdraw the money you'll need for the day before heading out. Most hotels and hostels will have an ATM, or there will be one at a local convenience store even in small towns. Although most will charge a fee for withdrawals, this is likely to work out cheaper than using a card that charges fees for every single transaction. It's also more practical, as lots of places don't accept card (particularly in small towns).
Best travel money card for Vietnam dong
Unfortunately, prepaid currency cards rarely offer VND as a loadable currency. If you want to use a card, opt for a multi-currency card, like the Caxton FX, WeSwap or Revolut, to access the best deals. These will allow you to make foreign transactions/withdrawals without any fees. If your bank doesn't charge for foreign transactions, you might even be best off just using your regular bank card. Withdraw cash at reputable places like banks or your hotel to keep your money safe.
Can I use US dollars in Vietnam?
In the past, many establishments in Vietnam preferred to accept US Dollars as their own currency was worth so little. However, as the massive inflation in Vietnam has slowed and its currency has become more stable, this practice is no longer popular.
It's also been made illegal for shops to list prices or ask for payment in any other currency, though you'll probably still come across small stalls or stores accepting other currencies.
Can I exchange cash in Vietnam?
Yes. The government-run Vietcombank can exchange British pounds, euros and US dollars for Vietnam dong. You'll find branches of the bank in most major cities and town. It's also common to find exchange stalls in large hotels, which offer similarly competitive rates to banks and in the shopping centres of large cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.