Best Credit Card While Traveling around Vietnam with travel insurance

Hello I'm going to Vietnam next month and looking for the best way to pay for stuff.
I'll be shopping around so I'm guessing I will need cash so probably need a card that is cheap to pull money out from ATM/free
I know 28 degrees has no international transaction fees but has cash advanced fee (taking from ATM).
Does anyone know if I pull money out from ATM and pay the card off right away would I be charged interest?

Also since I have to get travel insurance maybe a card that also has free travel insurance would be nice (or is it cheaper to buy separately)

Anyway I've sorted some USD to get my Visa On Arrival from
just seeing if anyone has a better options


  • +4


    • Would buying from travelex be that more cheaper then using a credit card?
      $1000aud is like 15 million dong cash in wallet haha

      • +13

        Never use Travelex, ridiculously expensive.

        Change your AUD to VND in Vietnam. You'll get more like 17.5 million VND if you change in the country once you arrive.

        Source: worked at Travelex for 3 years.

        • Thanks for the advice. where you think I should get some USD for the Visa On Arrival payment I have to give at gate? Will have to get it before I leave aust

        • @yoshiyoshi:
          Btw, Vietnam airport accepts like 10 different currencies, but prices are all in USD. Not sure about the Visa but thats the case for all the food outlets, etc.

        • @yoshiyoshi:

          You will need USD for the VOA and you will need it before you get on the plane. I just got mine from UAE Exchange because they have no minimum amount or commissions.

        • @yoshiyoshi: if you need usb for just the VOA thing, the ATM's in transit zone in Sydney and Melbourne can dispense a bunch of foreign currency so just pull it out from your citi or Macquarie card if you have one. Not sure about other Australian international airports.

        • @lgacb08: Thanks. I just looked at citi bank atm location and it doesn't show any in Melbourne airport tullamarine. or is it some other ATM that charges a fee and if so would you remember how much the fee is?

        • @yoshiyoshi: I think citibank atm is a rarity even outside the airport, at Melbourne airport last time I saw anz has such facilities, if you go through this route then probably you need to fork out few dollars extra for atm fee. Maybe Macquarie bank card a better choice because they state no atm fee within Australia (although I'm not sure whether transit zones is defined as such).

        • @lgacb08: Yeah I might go to UAE Exchange as PeteM said above. the rates are pretty much the same

        • @yoshiyoshi: Why do you need a Citi ATM in Tullamarine? You can pay in Australia by tapping or get cash from ATMs of several associated banks (see Citi doco for list) or from a Woolies checkout.

        • @greenpossum: to get USD out not aud

        • @yoshiyoshi: You can get only AUD from Citi ATMs in Australia. scrambledeggs is talking about Travelex and some other tourist ATMs.

        • @greenpossum: Sorry, lgacb08 not scrambledeggs. Those are not normal ATMs.

  • +20

    citibank debit card

    • Just reading about the debit card. Looks good no international transaction fees and no atm fees. So essentially I can go to the atm as many times as I like and I won't be charged any fees? Are there any cons to this debit card?
      Thanks again

      • Customer service is pretty shite. I've had a few issues with them, mostly minor. For example, losing my first application and sending me a card that could not be activated. It's worth it though, best card for travelling. I used it in Vietnam, there were a couple banks that did not accept it but that wasn't a big problem, just try another one.

    • +1

      +1 and if you can't arrange the card in time, AUD for cash exchange is ok too. Some countries/banks there is an ATM fee but it's levied by the ATM owner not Citi.

      • Ohhhhhhh I see it says "Pay $0 Citibank fees for any overseas ATM or in-store transactions"
        So I would still pay the ATM's fee. Anyone know of any ATM's in vietnam that don't charge a fee and have alot of locations

        • Stories differ, check tripadvisor to get an idea. Also there are withdrawal limits. That's why I opted for cash for a short trip I made recently.

        • Thanks how long were you in vietnam and how much money did you take with you. Just getting an idea how how much I'll need. So you just took AUD and changed it at the airport? Is that the best place to exchange to dong?

        • @yoshiyoshi: 6 full days in Central VN. 2 hotel days were paid by CC to Agoda. Some small tours were prepaid. I paid for other hotel days, taxis and a foodie tour in VND. Not a shopper and I had no checked in luggage. I got about 5M VND from a bank branch outside arrivals in Da Nang airport.

        • +2

          just found this

          Citibank – fee free

          DongA Bank – fee free Confirmed working but with 3,000,000 limit per day April 2017

        • +5

          From Whirlpool (even though we don't like them):

          Vietnam: Citibank ATMs are easy to find in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Other fee free ATMs are few. Be careful many ATMs dont warn you there will be a fee, it will only come up on your receipt which is too late

          Citibank – fee free
          DongA Bank – fee free Confirmed working but with 3,000,000 limit per day April 2017
          AB Bank – there is a fee of 20000VND April 2017
          Agribank – fee 22000VND
          Shinhan Bank – fee 20000VND
          IVB Bank – fee 20000VND – No warning of a fee
          Sacombank – 1.5% of the transaction or a minimum fee of 30000VND
          SeABank – fee 33000VND – No warning of a fee
          ACB Bank – fee 35000VND – No warning of a fee
          ANZ Bank – fee 40000VND
          Commonwealth Bank – fee 40000VND
          HSBC Bank – fee 50000VND
          Vietcom Bank – fee 50000VND
          VIB Bank – fee 50000VND – No warning of a fee
          BIDV Bank – 4% of transaction or a minimum fee of 50000VND
          SHB Bank – fee 55000VND – No warning of a fee
          Techcom Bank – fee 66000VND
          TP Bank – Rejected the card
          Vietin Bank – Rejected the card
          EximBank – Rejected the card
          MB Bank – Fee charged afterwards April 2017

        • Plenty of Citibank Atms around HCMC to get cash out, including one as you exit the airport at HCMC. You can carry cash too and get good exchange rates, but don't go flashing it around and make sure you pay attention to the notes you are handing over.

          Also you can use your Visa/Mastercard at many places, I don't really use much cash when I go anymore…

        • +1

          There's a Citibank ATM just after you collect your luggage and pass customs.
          Plenty of other Citibank ATMs around the central areas of HCMC.

        • Citibank doesn't charge fee, but the local ATM provider may charge ATM fee which will not be that significant amount anyways.

    • +1

      This. Withdraw from Citibank Plus Debit account and pay for everything in cash. I just returned last week from my second trip to Vietnam. I withdrew 3,000,00 VND each time I got money out which came out of my citibank account at around $171 AUD each time, which is close enough to the exchange rate for me. I didn't pay attention to the brand of ATM on any occasion and didn't have any issues. Much better rate than converting actual cash.

  • +2

    and install uber on your phone. get your sim card at the airport in vietnam (or check OB classifieds).

    most places (shops, restaurants) use credit cards.

    in Saigon - avoid Ben Thanh Market and District 1 - just a shitty tourist area.

    • Any recommendations on sim company to go with? I will be in ho chi minh city and hoi an.
      Thanks for advice on Ben thanh market any recommendations of anything else to do :)

      • I got an airbnb in district 12. a 3 level house amongst 100's of others (the common architecture is to build up on small lots). that was great. plenty of shopping up and down the main streets around the area. plenty of restaurants as well. wandering around the narrow streets and alleys was fantastic. at times it was like a maze. you'd follow these narrow streets and end of in this cul de sac where 8 houses converge and the neighbours are all out in this small common area doing their own thing. you could walk 500 meters in most directions and come accross interesting shopping. and most importantly see locals doing their thing.

        Saigon was our last stop of a 2 week vietnam + cambodia trip. we were happy just walking around. and seeing how people lived. the war remnants museum was interesting.

        sim card - I went with Viettel. $7 usd for 3.5 GB data only, awesome 4G. I had fewer drop outs than I do here in Brisbane.

        • hey so can you pick up the viettel sim at the airport?

        • @Jason Genova: yes, there are several different phone company booths just outside international arrivals.

        • @Jason Genova:

          If you get the cards outside the airport (they also sell the phone cards on the street in the aluminium carts along the footpath or some shops - they have signs out the front saying so).

          Viettel and Mobifone are the main cards. (Both are good, but go viettel if you intend to venture outside the main cities). They have things like data packages that you can buy by topping up the credit and then entering the codes. I don't know what those codes are off the top of my head right now, but can find it later if you need.

          When talking on the phone, be careful not to stand in the middle of the footpath. If you're not careful, someone will come around on a scooter and snatch your phone. I make it a habit to stand with my back against the wall so that I can see who's coming or I go into a shop. This also goes for cameras and any other valuables held in your hand.

        • +1

          @Jason Genova:

          After you clear baggage you will enter an area full of money changers and phone companies. If you turn right you will pass the Citibank atm, and then keep walking down the end and on the left you will spot what is apparently a legitimate outlet for Viettel. They charge you the correct price, will ask how long you are staying etc, they then take a photo of your passport and set everything up. I tried getting a sim from one of the shops in Hanoi previously and they were useless.

          If you buy a sim card from someone whom doesn't register it correctly the phone company may block it. In saying that mine got blocked after a few months of inactivity, but after a couple of emails to viettel they unlocked it for me.

          Also +1 for uber, especially if you have your visa set up for it, saves struggling to find small dong all the time. And don't be afraid to use an uber moto, they get you through the traffic much quicker.

      • +1

        Ben Thanh is ok, just visit so to say youve been there. I am Vietnamese so it is just another market place, but you can definitely walk through the area to see what it is.

        HCMC is the busiest city in Vietnam so if you enjoy city life (it is even more vibrant than Sydney or Surfer paradise here) you will enjoy District 1.

        However, if you are more into sightseeing and touristy stuff, then Hoi An is great, Can't say the same about HCMC.

      • at the airport there is a heap of stores. Just pick one!

        back in 2015 i got 20gb for 180,000 vnd. Worked great!!

        Hint Get cash out of a ATM first

        • Would you know if the stores are still open at midnight?

        • +1

          @garffi: Its Vietnam….. Most shops don't open till late morning and go way late into the night, due to the heat etc.

          Plus its the airport, if flights are still arriving and a dollar is to be made, they'll be open!

        • @JimmyF: its true about the shops opening hours. But its not the heat. Its just how we operate. And most shops actually open at 9 which is already considered late.

          Food stalls open much earlier.

          Markets are way ealier.

        • @dennis3107: 'heat' is in the eye of the beholder. At the moment its lows overnight of 25c and highs around 30c, with 84% humidity. Some would call that 'hot', if coming from the south of Australia ;)

    • +2

      The most popular transport app in Vietnam is actually Grab Car/Taxi.

      Only the westernised restaurants (for example inside the shopping centres) take credit cards - most places still only take good ol' cash. Especially outside district 1.

      Ben Thanh Market and District 1 is the only place to go if English is your first language. No-one else outside those areas (except some of District 7 which is an asian ex-pat area will understand much, if any, English). Just need to be careful around there and always negotiate in the market.

      At one end of the market, there's a couple of jewellery stores - they're the best places to change money. It's part of the black market money exchange thing (that's very very open) and they give rates that are either at or above the official rates. You'll see lots of people lining up around the counter - they take all sorts of currency but they prefer the big notes like 50s or 100s. When changing money, need to make sure that every note is relatively clean and not damaged. If you give them a damaged note, they'll change that particular note for a lower price. I've been there many times and they've never tried to rip me off, but I always count my money above the counter once they hand it to me so that it's easier to dispute if it's short. But like I said, the money has never been short and they count it two or three times before they even hand it over.

      • This
        Grab is more popular than Uber in south east asia
        It offers fixed price from A to B (we know there are bad traffics in these countries).
        Plus, grab has more promotional code.

        • Uber also offers fixed price for trip if pay by card, by cash it can vary depending on traffic conditions and detour. Uber also a bit cheaper too but they just raised the price yesterday.

  • +4

    Just got back from a week in Vietnam - mostly HCMC.
    We took AU$ but never used any of it.
    There are a good number of Citibank ATMs in HCMC - including 2 in the arrivals hall of Saigon airport, one at the main entry to Ben Thanh market, one at Vincom Plaza, and a Citibank branch with a couple ATMs on Nguyen Hue - the big plaza with the statue of Uncle Ho in it.
    I used 28 Degrees for bookings and bigger more reputable places, and cash from Citibank ATMs for the rest.
    It was very easy.

    • thanks! im heading there in less than 3 weeks will take note of these destinations for citibank atms

  • Unless it's changed in the past few years, Vietnamese ATMs are a strange bunch. It's the only place I've been charged a fee without notice. Other machines tell you there's a fee but sometimes won't tell you how much.

    Though in Indonesia they sometimes dispense whatever they think you need. "$50? Nah, take $200 and enjoy yourself!". Wouldn't mind if it didn't come from my account…and wasn't my last day so I'd have to convert it back to AUD at a loss.

    • You must be referring to disclosure requirements for fees - this is Vietnam we're talking about here… and yep, nothing's changed! haha!

      Lucky the actual fees are usually quite small. The times I've been charged a bigger fee, it's been from my own bank.

      The first time I went there, I was pulling out about 2,000,000 from the ATM - that was the max from the random bank ATMs on the street. Checked my account afterwards and realised that CBA charged me a AUD$13-15 international fee. I learnt my lesson after that.

  • When next month are you going? I'm heading to HCM next month also, but in the middle until the end of the month.

    • +2

      ozb meetup in hcm?

      • I was thinking the same thing! haha
        It'll be interesting for all of us to be standing around bargaining for a bowl of pho!

        I usually stay a few kms out of District 1 because I'm not a fan of all the touristy areas.

        • I'll be in HCM from the 18th-24th sept

        • @Jason Genova: I'll be around 19th Sept to 3rd October.

          What's your plans? Travelling all over or just staying in HCM?

        • @bobbified:

          all over HCM I guess

          Haven't actually got anything planned I think I'll be spontaneous!

          Any suggestions?

        • @Jason Genova:
          If you want to see the largest cave in the world and probably the most beautiful, go to Dong Hoi and Phuong Nha. Dalat in the central highlands of Vietnam is also beautiful and much cooler. I guess Sapa in the north is a must see for most people who are into culture and nature.

  • Use a citibank card as mentioned above, and for travel insurance just find an ozbargain… We paid $94 for 2 people for 12 days through World2Cover using a recent ozb promo.

    EDIT: Try WW20 or WC20 on world2cover, the 20% discount might still work?

    • Was looking at CBA free travel insurance that comes with credit card. It's $89 annual fee. I also have a trip to Japan in March booked and CBA will cover both trips. It will also cover my partner. What does worldcover give you that CBA cc travel insurance doesn't? Thanks

      • I'm not sure, I never bothered with any other card for the trip besides citibank due to no fees. Both my personal cc are fee free and have no travel insurance, so I purchased travel insurance separately.

  • regarding travel insurance through a CC, be aware you usually have to use the card to pay for a pretty decent chunk of the travel expenses, such as plane tickets or hotel bookings, and you have to do so before the travel insurance can be used (automatically), it doesn't include buying foreign currency, so if you're already booked and paid for, or plan on paying hotels once there, you may not even be able to activate the CC's travel insurance.

    also i found that for the cost of the cards with decent travel insurance you can just get better insurance outright so unless you are using the other features of the card or taking many trips it might not be worth it

    • Yes I read though ANZ travel Ins and they say you have to spend $250 on the trip (eg hotel) to activate it.
      The cheapest travel insurance I found for 2 people was $130 with TID.
      CC with ANZ is free for first year.
      I'm going on a trip in Oct for 2 weeks and another one in March for 2 weeks so it would cost around $260 for both trips to buy from TID. Maybe I'm missing something but the CC seems like a good option

      • as long as the insurance details, like excesses and max coverage amounts etc work out then yeah

  • I would never rely on CC travel insurance.

    • to further clarify I would never rely on cba CC insurance even though my parents do

  • 28 degrees CC

    • sorry just saw you mentioned this already - i also use a qantas card that i reload with cash. does take 24-72 hours to reload once you transfer. but easy to store up and then transfer out back to bank account if you don't need it anymore when you return

  • +6

    OP - Citibank debit card. i've had one for last few years and used it all over the world. The exchange rate is always ridiculously close to the xe exchange rate. For certain countries such as Thailand - it's very hard if not impossible to find a fee free atm. But other counties such as Vietnam (where you are heading) it's pretty easy - as people have replied above. Certain counties for example Chile - you can find only one bank (when i was there in 2014) that does fee free. The bank is called Bank of security (translated into spanish of course and the reason I'm writing this even though it's off topic is in case someone ever google searches and comes along this post).

    I will note three things for you though - citibank in my opinion are known to be much harder when it comes to security compared to say aus banks. There process back in the days with like their one time pin (which was ALWAYS sms delivered) was extremely annoying - but they've made changes in the last year or so which has made it easier to use it overseas.

    Second thing to note, if you cash out - it'll show up straight away on your statement and how much it was in AUD, thereby being able to work out exchange rate. THIS IS NOT THE CASE for any transactions that are made when using the card itself (i.e. using the card to pay at maccas etc). It takes a few days for it to clear. Furthermore, you cannot screenshot the amount you have before and directly after the transaction - well you can BUT this amount can change, because they take the exchange rate on the day the transaction clears (which can be anywhere between 1-7 days).

    Lastly, it takes about 2-3 days for money to clear (longer if it's weekend) if you transfer from another bank to citibank - so make sure u have enough funds. However, Citibank acc to citibank acc transfer is instantaneous (my gf has citibank too - so makes it easier to transfer etc).

    Apologies for any grammar issues - on a train heading from amalfi coast to rome.

    EDIT : My vote for travel insurance is SCTI ( southern cross travel insurance) which i've used on every trip and when i have to make two claims - its been super easy and super fast to receive the funds. They also cover terrorism related things (which some travel insurances actually don't) so that's cool too - ALWAYS read the PDS though!

    • What claims did you make? I tried claiming hotel costs when plane had to stop at another city due to hurricane but NAB credit card insurance provider QBE denied the claim.

      • +2

        so the two claims i've made with SCTI was:
        1) volcano erupted in bali and was stranded there for an extra 7 days - they covered things like sunscreen, laundry, hotel etc. They was really good about it!

        2) Had flights to chile in 2012 booked - but gf at the time couldn't go as a personal issue came up. They requested documents in relation to her issue and paid out

    • Great Info. Thanks

  • As others have said take cash and exchange it in Vietnam as needed. Hide the money in your hotel room. The hotel provided safe is an OK option but I prefer hiding it somewhere unexpected like within a curtain or shower rail. Google for more options on that. Similarly it's a good idea to google up articles about avoiding dodgy money changers in your target country.

    My name's Dan Wilson. I run Iowa's largest wildlife preserve.

  • Citbank card is best.

    Source: Me. Been to Vietnam about 10 times, total time several months.

  • Citibank debit card!

    For all your international travels.

  • I am amazed how often these questions get asked over and over. Is there a way we can make these answers and previous posts easier to find so people don't ask over and over?

  • HO Chi Mihn has commonwealth bank ATM's pretty much everywhere. Dispenses in Vietnamese Dong or USD.
    Fee is like $5 or something like that.

    All hotels have cash out at the reception and money conversion as well.

    • The fee is about $2.50 (VND40,000) if you use a CBA card, but the exchange rate is really bad.
      If I remember correctly, I worked it out to be almost 10% between the official and the actual rates.

  • +1

    Ok So I got citibank debit card for all money and anz CC comp insurance (
    I couldn't see much of a difference and its free for 2 trips i have plan.
    Thanks heaps everyone and good luck to everyone going to Vietnam bargaining.

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