How common is it to pay with a credit card in Vietnam? On a trip to Hanoi or Saigon, how often do I have to pay by cash? If you carry cash, do you pay in USD or VND?

4 Answers 4


Vietnam remains a cash society, and that cash is Vietnamese dong. US dollars may be accepted for larger purchases and places like airport shops.

Credit cards are accepted at hotels and touristy/upmarket restaurants, shops, etc, but definitely not by your average hole in the wall noodle shop. You can, however, use a credit card for Grab payments for taxis, food delivery, etc. There are a bunch of other cashless QR code payment systems in addition to GrabPay, but most are not practical for visitors.

  • 1
    some shops may accept USD or other currencies but technically it's illegal
    – phuclv
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 0:53
  • 4
    @phuclv Airport shops openly (over) price and charge in dollars, but I presume they have a special concession for this. Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 9:07
  • Note that you might be able to overpay a credit card before the trip and do a cash withdrawal at an ATM without getting hit with high interest rates.
    – WBT
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 15:41
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    @WBT why would you bother with the hassle of overpaying and the uncertainty ("might") of avoiding credit cards interest rates, when you can just use a debit card? (The only reason might be the extra protection that a credit cards give you, but I think it's a marginal benefit, personally)
    – berdario
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 19:57
  • @berdario if someone doesn't have a debit card, for example. The uncertainty around fees can also be eliminated by looking at one's specific card terms, but I don't want to make an overgeneral statement on a Q&A forum about something that doesn't apply in everybody's situation. Also, the consumer protections might not be a trivial difference especially if traveling to a place where card theft/skimming/RFID-based theft might be more common.
    – WBT
    Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 16:28

I would argue that app based payments are becoming widespread in Vietnam, as they are across the Asia-Pacific. But since much of the Vietnamese economy is underground and many things such as tax are not often accounted for, one should assume that cash is required and assumed to be the main mode of payment unless an alternative mode of payment is available. And you will find that you cannot live on your card alone.

And VND is the main mode of currency for daily purchases in Vietnam, but ideally you should only carry large amounts of money in USD (so either withdraw small amounts from your atm each time, or carry USD and convert at a bureau de change). I think it is rare to use USD outside tourist orientared situations and certain large purchases.


In Vietnam, cash is still king but credit cards are becoming more widely accepted in the cities. In Hanoi and Saigon, most restaurants, shops and hotels will take credit, but smaller places like street food stalls are usually cash only.

It's a good idea to carry both US dollars and Vietnamese dong. Larger bills like $50s and $100s can be exchanged for dong at decent rates, while smaller transactions are often paid in dong. Just be aware of counterfeits if paying in dollars. Having cards and some of each currency covers you for most situations.


In Vietnam, cash is usually needed for a lot of things. Card (Visa/Master) is accepted as well but only in bigger establishments. You can use ATMs to get the cash there its good exchange rates and many of them don't charge fees for foreign card holders either... you can use the atm fee saver app, it gives a list of atms there with their fees, withdrawal limits etc.

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