Vietnamese Savings Account earning High Interest - Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

#1
On my recent trip to Saigon, I saw 8%+ interest rates on savings accounts denominated in VND. If you as a resident of a high cost of living (COL) country had a stack of cash from savings, selling a business, your house, all your stuff, etc wouldn't it make sense to consider life hacking a fun, sex filled life in Vietnam?

Even depositing $100k into VND would net you monthly interest of over 15 million VND. That's a shit ton of 400,000 VND hot toc blowjobs! Or I don't know, an actual rent payment in a halfway decent place. And that's just passive investment income, I'm sure lots of guys would work part time or have other investments to cover the gap from a subsistence lifestyle to a very comfortable expat existence.

I realize there are risks in this scenario like inflation, hassles eventually repatriating the money into your native currency and the very small but non-zero risk of Communists taking your money away, but that seems more than amply baked into the 8% yield. Anyone life-hacking their way in VN right now care to share their experiences?
 
#2
The 8% interest is indeed interesting especially now cause the rate vnd and dollar are stable now 1USD = 23.000 vnd for 3-4 years now.

But you have to deposit for 13 months, and you will receive 8% interest of the money you left for 13 months. During the duration of the deposit, you can still withdraw money. In the past, I did that for extra cash but now it not possible anymore. The bank can only allow a deposit as long as your staying in vn. For example, if you have a visa for 6 months, you can deposit for 6 months so you cannot deposit for 13 months and enjoy the 8% interest rate.
 
Southeast Asia
#3
My experience with the Vietnamese banks have not been the best. And to defend Vietnam, I understand where they are coming from.

Holding a USA Passport, I walked into a local Vietnam bank, and they explained I could open a bank account, and of course, they have extra paperwork for Americans because of FACTA requirements. I don't have any problem with any of this, and they were willing to allow me to open the bank account.

The problem I had was with funding the account. They would not allow me to deposit cash directly into the account. All deposits had to be wired in because the government wanted to see the source of funds. The costs to make this happen was too much to make it worth it... my bank in America would charge an international wire transfer fee, the Vietnam bank would charge me to receive the international wire, and I would not receive the best conversion rate from USD to VND. The bank explained the government does this because when the day comes to close the account, they want to know where your money came from. I've heard from locals about not being able to close an account and withdraw large amounts of cash, unless you can prove how the source of the funds. And if you're not working in Vietnam, where they can see how you made the money, it's a lot more paperwork and hoping/waiting/wanting things to go your way. For a large sum of cash to be tied up in a foreign bank account, this was not worth my time and energy.

Just my two cents worth...
 
#4
Thanks both for chiming in. @Logan Given how incredibly small the spread is between changing USD to VND (often less than 0.5%) I thought the banks would have no problem taking deposits in cash USD.

I think their version of FDIC insurance is really low (75M Dong) and although it's anecdotal, a few friends have told me of bank managers running off with big depositor's accounts. Given all that, I guess it makes sense why they offer so much.
 
#5
My two cents worth on the subject would be to wire by Western Union which is dirt cheap because a lot of overseas Vietnamese send money to relatives in VN. The WU fees are very low you will be surprised. You can take the receipt from WU and deposit it in the bank. The best bank to use is probably Techcom bank which is owned by a Canadian bank and is very well managed from my experience.
 
Southeast Asia
#6
As a US citizen, the easiest bank accounts to open in Vietnam were at HSBC and Citibank. And because they have a presence in America, you can send funds via ACH and not incur international wire transfer fees. The reason I did not open an account with these particular banks was because of the annual charge. Citibank runs a promotion with no annual fee for the first year, but I didn't want to incur additional costs to open a bank account that really wasn't necessary. As an expat traveling internationally, the best account is the Charles Schwab Checking Account, because there's no international transaction fees and all ATM fees are rebated, but only US citizens can open this account.
 
#7
My Fidelity Cash Management account tied to my brokerage account reimburses for all debit withdrawals, anywhere in the world.

Chase Sapphire account also reimburses for all debit withdrawals from non-participating ATMs worldwide.

Schwab Checking Account is ideal internationally as well.
 
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