Are ATMs available and easy to find around Saigon? Would it be easier to withdraw from ATM or come to currency exchange? Should I expect any exchange office or trustworthy bank here?
Those are the most common questions regarding money exchange when tourists come to Saigon since it seems to be the highest priority. It’s the same as other things in this city, you should have some tips and tricks to make it easier.
The first thing needed to put on top – don’t be tempted to use USD instead of VND, since people will make the round numbers for their service, which is definitely not a good idea.
You can withdraw only Vietnamese dongs by your credit or debit cards with local ATMs which are available around city.
Fee will be 5,000 to 10,000 dong charged by the local ATMs plus your bank’s fee (you have to check it in advance with your bank). The cheapest way is to bring USD as cash and have them exchanged here.
The money exchanges in the airport should be easy to find because there are several around the exit (after you pickup the luggage) but easy things are not always right things.
They have different rates and usually lower than those in city center so you should move around and select the best rate among them for maximum 20 – 25 bucks just for taxi, the rest should be done in city center where you will find better rates.
When you come to city center, keep in mind that you can always find a place to change money: banks, hotels, jewelry shops and even boutiques on the street if they have service (which I’m not going to suggest you).
However, it doesn’t mean that you should have your bucks changed in any of them. I will get through all of those soon.
Normally, the hotels are not good choices. We should rank them before airport currency exchanges. Next, you can trust some trustworthy banks with good rates. My suggestions are SacomBank and VietcomBank.
You can check their rates shown out on boards or official web sites. You should take it in account that the exchange rates for $1, $2 ,$ 5 and $10 notes will be lower than the $50 and $100 ones.
Don’t be surprised that I’m going to suggest you, the best place to have your bucks changed in Saigon is not a trustworthy bank but jewelry shops! Yes, jewelry shops. They are all available around Ben Thanh market.
It sounds weird but don’t let it bother you too much. All you have to do is coming to the shop, making a guarantee by asking them how much Dong will you get for 100 bucks.
You can also negotiate for big sum of money to have better price. There will be different rates for 100 dollars and 500 dollars as long as you know some tricks to bargain (there is another article for that ‘art’, it’s not so easy to say it shortly here).
Another thing which directly helps or ruins your business is how you look. Showing up as a professional, not a newcomer will help you much.