maliusmaximus (elite user) maliusmaximus posted June 6th, 2008 at 10:33 am to Etiquette. Viewed 145 times. Answered 20 times.

So there is currently a gap between the black market buy/sell rate and the bank buy/sell rate for USD and Dong.
I'm just curious, what's to stop me from taking $1000USD to the black market, selling it for 17200 Dong/dollar, then going the bank, buying back my dollars at 16200, and doing it all again?
What am I missing?

Last answered by ltmagnificent about 66 months ago.

Answers (jump to newest answer)

Khumbu wrote on June 6th, 2008 at 11:35 am
Khumbu (elite user)

My bank won't let me take US dollars out - only VND. If your banks allows you to do this, please let me know: I'll open an account with them!!

loominpapa wrote on June 6th, 2008 at 12:27 pm
loominpapa (elite user)

Yep, I think you'll find that Khumbu's right. Vietcombank will not allow you to withdraw US Dollars from a VND account any longer (as of about ten days ago, I'm told). I assume you still can if you have a USD account though.

I assume it'll be the same deal with the other banks.

The official rate for the Dong can't move against the dollar by more than a certain amount (2% I think) from it's pegged rate. That accounts for the difference - the black market rate reflects the real value (as I understand it).

Some info here:

maliusmaximus wrote on June 6th, 2008 at 12:55 pm
maliusmaximus (elite user)

Actually I'm about to open a USD account as that is what I am paid in (by cheque). I've read though that the banks are experiencing USD shortages. Perhaps I should check if there is going to be problems accessing (withdrawing) the money in the future.
How are you dealing with the upcoming Dong devaluation? I guess the key is to get the money converted.. But are dollars the answer? I hear that some people are converting to Euro since the Dollar is also weakening.

Khumbu wrote on June 6th, 2008 at 1:11 pm
Khumbu (elite user)

I could be wrong, however I think I actually had a US dollar account with Vietcombank.
They screamed blue murder when I wanted to take out US$250 about a month ago. Eventually, after talking to a supervisor and questioning me about how I was planning to use it (including making me fill in a form stating my purpose for taking out US$), they grudgingly gave me US$ "special exemption this time".

I'm about to close down that account & just bank with ANZ. Given the pending Dong devaluation I'm even thinking I might just access money from my Australian bank account directly, rather than transfer it to an account over here.The US $ is dropping against the Australian $ as well - and I lost $80 in the conversation rate when I transfered $$ in US dollars to my Vn account.

Antwerpman wrote on June 6th, 2008 at 1:49 pm

You can probably take $ out of your usd $ account without a problem, you can also exchange at 17200 without a problem, the problem you will have is getting the 17200 back in to dollars. your bank will not transfer money from your VND account to your $ account, and even if you have $ already you are not allowed to deposit $ cash in to your $ bank account - only money paid as a $ part of your salary or other legal contract can be deposited. SO you would bestuck with all of your profits in VND not $

letsgoeverywhere wrote on June 6th, 2008 at 1:57 pm
letsgoeverywhere (elite user)

The Dong is only allowed to trade within a 1% band of the dollar daily. Traders are putting a lot of money on the fact the gov is going to devalue the Dong 40% before the end of the year, in an effort to avoid a currency collapse.

maliusmaximus wrote on June 6th, 2008 at 3:41 pm
maliusmaximus (elite user)

Antwerpman yep I can see what your saying, but what I'm thinking is why not just do a cash exchange at a bank (exchange dong for dollar, no bank accounts involved).
Essentially you'd be selling your existing USD dollars at a high price on the black market, then taking your dong and buying your dollars back again at a cheaper price from say a bank.
But yeah again the issue arises of whether the banks would be willing to actually sell USD at the moment.

Naga wrote on June 6th, 2008 at 3:53 pm

You are not allowed to buy dollars at bank as personal. Only organizations have legal contract in dollars can buy it to transfer through bank.
So your trade cannot be done.

Stosskraft wrote on June 6th, 2008 at 4:25 pm
Stosskraft (elite user)

Right now the black market rate is 180000. The banks are trading at 16250 so yes you can get free money is you have USD around. If you go to the jewlery shops around the lake there are mobs of people trading money. Some people think that the blackmarket will hit 19000-20000 by the end of the week.

mattpowell wrote on June 6th, 2008 at 4:35 pm

I'm with Khumbu on this one. Bank with a stable foreign bank for the time being - HSBC/ANZ.

Ouriel wrote on June 6th, 2008 at 5:09 pm
Ouriel (elite user)

Not sure if my calculations are correct. You wanna get $1000 USD and sell it on the street for 17.000 VND to the dollar which should give you 17 000 000 VND. Then you gonna go to the bank and try to deposit your VND into the US account at the rate of 16.2000 to the dollar.

So basically you gonna end up with around $1050. Over and above all the points brought up above regarding the issues banks have with converting VND to USD, is it worth all that trouble for $50?

Maybe my calculations are wrong or I'm missing something!

maliusmaximus wrote on June 6th, 2008 at 7:32 pm
maliusmaximus (elite user)

Well if I do more than $1000 then it's worth it, plus if the jewellry shops are doing 18000 then it's even better!

Thanks for the advice.

farside wrote on June 7th, 2008 at 9:03 am

Once I took out VND from my VND account for a transaction. When this didn't go ahead, I thought I'd change the VND into USD...I did this at the gold shop. But my bank would not accept the USD because I had bought notes on the black market. They would not take the USD and put into my USD account because it was not salary certified.
Even then, I had friends who wanted to take salary earned money back to their home country. They had to get all their payslips red stamped. This sounds easier than it actually was.The business they worked for had too branches. The one they initially worked for in HCm and the last place in Hanoi. It seemed that they had to get payslips stamped from both and it took time. Meanwhile they had an emergency situation. one of them needing urgent surgery.
You need to be aware, be organised and thinking/planning ahead with the money thing. In this heat. I admire maliusmaximus for thinking up such a plan. Too many appearances at his bank, with him standing and eating too much complimentary Taro candy at the teller station... without an airline ticket to show he's leaving....good luck:)

farside wrote on June 7th, 2008 at 9:14 am

Safe as houses? Has anyone had the experience of having personal bank account accessed by former, employer, current employers or landlords. If one "owes" money, bond for rent etc.
I heard a situation where an employer who sponsored an expat was able to take money from an expats account while he was on vacation to pay a disgruntled landlady who said that she was owed rental monies.

billyboy wrote on June 11th, 2008 at 11:26 am


You need to take into account any fees. It is all well and good to have the idea to change money, but if you have been here for long enough, you know as well as I do, Vietnamese don't do ANYTHING for free. My mate was about to be charged 900,000 VND yesterday just for $600 USD. Just giving you a heads up

abslakin wrote on June 18th, 2008 at 10:18 am

The GVT has put restrictions on banks selling USD so banks will not sell USD at the moment. At HSBC you can only transfer money out of VND accounts to GBP, EURO, AUD etc but NOT USD. They exchange at the inflated rate so you loose a lot and you can only transfer money out if you have prove the source of the money. For example HSBC charge 0.3% fee + 265,000 VND for transaction and they use GBP exchange rate of 36,000 VND to 1 you will loose a lot but I heard that it is only going to get worse so I took the risk and transferred money out. I have now negotiated my salary in USD.

Stosskraft wrote on June 18th, 2008 at 4:25 pm
Stosskraft (elite user)

I am jsut wondering if anyone here has a USD account?

I am wondering if you have hads problems getting USD from an USD account?

One option might be to change on the black market some VND into USD and deposit this into a USD account (if you have opened the account legally) and then withdraw it later in USD from the bank?

Personally I have just opened a USD account so I can start transferring money out of Vietnam. I know transferring can be a pain, but if you have a work permit it is significantly easier to to transfers, and I feel safer with my money in my Canadian account than sitting in a Vietnamese bank where the regulations can have a negative impact on us.

Has anyone been able to successfully exchange more that $500 USD (VND to VND) at a bank with an airline ticket? What is everyone doing with this?

clock iconThen Some Time Passed...
QuyTay wrote on April 6th, 2009 at 12:44 am

Hey Maliusmaximus banks dont sell US dollars to any Joe who walks in off the street. If it was as simple as that the every Vietnamese would have done it long ago so no matter where you sell your USD outside on the street banks cant legally sell you USD anyway.

clock iconThen Some Time Passed...
sunny beaches wrote on August 25th, 2013 at 10:56 am
sunny beaches

Everybody, be careful when you go to gold shops to change your money. Dont use their calculators though there are always 3-4 ones on their tables. 2 days ago I went to Ha Chung street to change money, and just I found out that their calculators were wrong. But sadly, I just found it out tonight when I calculated it again with my phone when I counted money to give some to my friend. 10 usd lost when I changed 600 USD to VND. I cant come back there to clam cuz I didnt take any receipts.

ltmagnificent wrote on August 25th, 2013 at 11:46 am
ltmagnificent (elite user)

I miss the black market. When I found out Thailand didn't have one and you could freely exchange dollars at banks, A tsunami wave of culture shock hit me so hard, I almost had a heart attack.

Oh, yeah and sunny is right, know the numbers before you go in.

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