Expat Guide: How to open bank accounts in VN
Banks and foreign bank branches are responsible for instructing their customers on the sequence and procedures for receiving and handling application files for opening payment accounts and place of signing the contract of opening and use of payment account in correspondence with their specific conditions and supply capacity. Planning on opening a bank account in Vietnam? Whether it is a personal or enterprise account, this article will cover all information you need to know before getting one for your company or yourself.
1. Personal bank accounts
According to the Circular 19/2016/TT-NHNN and 26/2017/TT-NHNN, a foreigner is only eligible to open a bank account, use bank cards and services if he or she is permitted to stay in Vietnam for longer than 12 months.
Also, the Circular 19/2016/TT-NHNN and 26/2017/TT-NHNN issued by the State bank stated that foreigners have to provide documents confirming their residential status in Vietnam for 12 months at least to be eligible for opening bank accounts.
1.1 Required documents for personal bank accounts
As per Circular No. 26/2017/TT-NHNN, the required documents to open a bank account for foreigners are:
- A valid passport in readable and identifiable conditions with at least 6 months validity before the expiry date
- A valid Vietnam visa with a duration of a minimum of 1 year issued within the last 12 months
OR one of the below valid documents with a validity of 1 year or longer, also issued within the past 12 months:
- Temporary Resident Card (TRC)
- Work Permit
- Permanent Resident Card (PRC)
- Temporary resident confirmation issued by Vietnam police
1.2 Banking Fees
Like anywhere else, banks in Vietnam will charge you as per their own set of fees. Here are some common fees that you might be charged, but be noted the fees vary among banks.
Normal bank fees
Vietnam is still in its bursting growth stage and basically, everyone wants to have a share of this attractive pie. What this means is that you are likely to open a bank account with no upfront fees at all. Although there is a minimum balance to keep the account active and a small amount of money as service fees each month.
For instance, the Joint-Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) has a minimum balance of VND 50,000 (approximately USD 2.15). Plus, VND 10,000 more (around USD 0.43) each month as an internet banking fee.
Typically, you will be charged VND 1,100 when withdrawing money from an ATM of your bank or VND 3,300 from that of another bank.
Additionally, the total amount you’re allowed to withdraw at a time is varied by banks. For example, Vietcombank allows a total amount of VND 5,000,000 (roughly USD 215.73) but Vietnam Technology and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) sets the total amount to VND 10,000,000 (around USD 431.46).
Be noted that if you are using a foreign debit card, your withdrawal fee can range around VND 20,000 to 55,000 (approximately from USD 0.86 to 2.37) plus an exchange rate of that bank if that is a foreign currency account.
Important notice: Not all banks will tell you the detailed fees for withdrawing money. Sometimes they only display a notification letting you know there will be “a fee”.
1.3 Common banking options for expatriates
Besides Vietnam banks, 11 foreign banks are currently operating in Vietnam. Choosing which bank to use is entirely up to your needs and locations. Here are some famous choices for expats:
- Timo – an online bank, is famous for its cost-saving, convenience, and excellent customer service. However, Timo is currently switching to a new banking partner (which is Viet Capital Bank). You should contact Timo for details before opening your bank account here.
- Vietcombank has a wide network of branches and ATMs all across Vietnam. No exaggeration to say this is a popular choice for both Vietnamese and foreigners.
- HSBC is famous because it is an international bank. This could be an excellent choice if you live in big cities such as Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang,…
- VietinBank is the largest state-owned bank in Vietnam. This bank also has a wide network of branches and ATMs all over Vietnam including rural areas.
1.4 International money transfer
Transferring money to another country from Vietnam can be quite complicated. According to Decree No. 70/2014/ND-CP of the Vietnam government, foreigners are allowed to remit and carry money overseas if they have foreign currency in their accounts or legal receipts. And if their legal receipts are in Vietnamese Dong, then they are allowed to purchase foreign currency and then remit or carry overseas.
International transfer fees are varied by banks. Let’s take Vietcombank as an example. This bank will charge you 0.2% on the total amount of the transaction with the minimum charge at USD 5 and the maximum charge at USD 200.
Important notice: Not all local banks offer international money transfer. In this case, make sure you check with your bank first to avoid any hassles, or just head straight to international banks in your areas.
2. Business Bank Account
Circular 23/2014/TT-NHNN, dated August 19, 2014 of the State Bank of Viet Nam regulates how to make application files for opening corporate payment accounts.
Under Article 12 of the Circular, an application file for opening a payment account comprises:
a) An application for opening a payment account, which is drawn up as per the provided form of the foreign bank branch where the account is opened and in conformity with provisions in Clause 2 Article 13 of this Circular;
b) Documents proving that the applicant is legally established and operate: Establishment Decision, Operation License, Corporate Registration Certificate or other documents as stipulated by laws;
c) Documentations of the capacity for legal representative or authorized representative of the person who registers as account holder, enclosing with ID card or valid passport of such person;
d) For the case where the applicant is a subject who is required by laws to have signature of chief accountant or the person in charge of accounting on the documents of transactions with the banks, in addition to the documents stated in Items a, b and c Clause 2 of this Article, the application file for opening payment account must contain an appointment decision, enclosing with ID card or valid passport of the chief accountant (or person in charge of accounting) of the entity applying for the opening of payment account.
According to Point 5 of Article 14, banks and foreign bank branches are responsible for instructing their customers on the sequence, procedures for receiving, handling application files for opening payment accounts and place of signing the contract of opening and use of payment account in correspondence with their specific conditions and supply capacity.
Under Point 3, Article 1, the opening and use of payment account in foreign currency by residents and non- residents, payment accounts in VND by non-residents and residents who are foreign individuals shall be conformable to laws and regulations on foreign exchange control and provisions of this Circular.
Opening a foreign business account in Vietnam is a little bit more complicated than that of individuals. There are two types of business bank accounts that you must register:
- Investment capital account: receiving and sending investment amount
Including Indirect investment capital account and Direct investment capital account. As per Circular No. 05/2014/TT-NHNN and Circular No. 19/2014/TT-NHNN, transactions regarding direct or indirect investment operation of a foreigner have to be implemented by an investment capital account opened in an authorized bank (commercial banks or internal banks in Vietnam) that are permitted to trade and supply foreign exchange service.
- Transaction account: daily transactions in Vietnam
Requirements to open a business bank account
As stated above, opening a business bank account is a bit trickier than a personal account. Here are the required documents you need to prepare:
- Application form: the form may be varied by banks, but generally it required the below information:
- Transaction name (both full and abbreviation name)
- Headquarter address
- Transaction address
- Phone number/Fax number (if any)
- Business sectors
- Information about the company’s legal representative who registered as the account holder
- Information about a Chief Accountant (In some situations where your company required to have a Chief Account (or a person in charge of accounting work) as per the law)
- Signature sample of the account holder (with the above case, there will be a signature of the chief accountant needed)
- Seal sample in transaction documents (if any)
- Signature and the legal representative’s full name along with a stamped seal (if any) of the company
- Proofs that foreign company was established in Vietnam:
- Establishment decision
- Operation license
- Business registration certificate
- Documents about a legal representative or authorized representative with a valid Identity or Passport