The currency of Vietnam is “Dong” (abbreviated “d” or VND). Bank notes are: 100d , 200d and 500d (too small value – rarely used); 1,000d; 2,000d; 5,000d; 10,000d, 20,000d, 50,000d and 100,000d (each has two versions – cotton and polymer), 200,000d and 500,000d. Coins have recently come into circulation but not widely been accepted due to inconvenience, including: 200d; 500d; 1,000d; 2,000d and 5,000d. Their photos are as below.
US dollar is widely accepted while most major currencies can be exchanged at leading banks in Vietnam (Vietcombank, ANZ, ACB, VIB Bank…) or some hotels and jewelry shops. The official rate of exchange is approximately VND22,500 to US$1. With the relatively low value of Dong, you are recommended to carry US dollar in small notes; it will help you to change easily.
ATMs can be a choice as it’s very popular in most of tourist destinations now. Vietcombank (VCB) has the best network in the country. Withdrawals are issued in Dong (50,000d and 100,000d only). There is a limit of 2,000,000d (about US$125) for each withdrawal and a daily limit of 20,000,000d. Fee is 50,000d (US$3) each time.
Visa, MasterCard and JCB cards are widely accepted. Some merchants also accept Amex. A 4%-commission charge on every transaction (3%} for other cards) is pretty common, due to bank’s policy. Getting cash in advance from cards is possible at Vietcombank and some foreign banks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Travellers Cheques are accepted at most of hotels, restaurants but in major cities. If you only have travellers cheques, stock up on US dollars at a bank, which usually charge anywhere from 1.25% to 3% commission to change them into cash. VCB charges no commission to changing travellers cheques for Dong. If your travellers cheques are in currencies other than US dollars, they may be useless beyond the major cities. Hefty commissions are the norm it they can be exchanged at all.