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Paying hotel balances in U.S. dollars

Vancouver Island...
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Paying hotel balances in U.S. dollars

I'm planning on bringing some U.S. $ with me to pay for the balance of the rooms we have booked throughout Vietnam. From what I've read here though, everyone says it's best to pay with local currency for better exchange rate. Problem is the ATM's apparently have a very low withdrawal limit and we get dinged every time we use an ATM by our bank. Credit card we would get dinged on both ends. Does it make sense to pay for my hotel bills and Halong Bay cruise in U.S.? If I brought U.S. and converted it to local currency, where would I get the best exchange rates? Also, can anyone confirm that you have to bring U.S dollar series 2006 or higher? We were in Africa this year and they flat out refused to accept anything less than 2006 series or higher, thinking it was counterfeit.

leicester
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1. Re: Paying hotel balances in U.S. dollars

I'm not sure how accurate this is but we were told its illegal to pay in dollars in VN now. You can change them in hotels and money exchanges or banks easily enough but a lot less is displayed in dollars these days.

Nha Trang, Vietnam
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2. Re: Paying hotel balances in U.S. dollars

The Vietnamese government wants:

All prices quoted in VND only.

All advertisements and menus displaying the Vietnamese language version most prominently, if more than one language is used.

These laws are blatantly broken by the Vietnamese everywhere. In Nha Trang nowadays it is common to to see Russian language signs with no Vietnamese on them at all.

I kind of feel sorry for the foreigners who never learned to read cyrillic and who don't know enough (or any) Vietnamese to inquire what a particular place is selling.

Whenever you pass a bank or a gold store take note of today's exchange rate. Or just go http://vietcombank.com.vn/ and the exchange rate is right there on the index page. Make sure that's what the hotel uses if you do decide to pay them in anything but VND.

If the hotel quotes you US $ for a room, ask about the equivalent in VND.

There's absolutely no need for each and every tourist to get scammed.

Adelaide
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3. Re: Paying hotel balances in U.S. dollars

It's not illegal to pay in US dollars, but it is illegal for your hotel to ask for payment in US dollars. It's a fine line, I know. The local currency is the dong, and it's always best to pay in dong. Paying in dollars you are at the mercy of whatever exchange rate your hotel chooses to use; never in your favor.

Plus, coming from Canada, I assume you will have to pay fees and charges to buy the US dollars in the first place. Then converting these US dollars into dong, and you've got a double whammy of charges.

Better to use a low or no fee debit card in Vietnam to pay your hotel and withdraw dong from ATMs as needed.

Llanbrynmair...
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4. Re: Paying hotel balances in U.S. dollars

Jo, what the law actually states is that is illegal to DEMAND payment in US dollars.

Therefore if customers wish to pay in dong or by plastic those means must be accepted. Customers are free to pay in dollars if they so wish, but not at the insistence of the hotel, travel agent, vendor etc.

Edit: ha, others beat me to the draw while I was typing, so treat this post as confirmation of what has been said above.

Edited: 15 November 2013, 00:26
Los Angeles...
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5. Re: Paying hotel balances in U.S. dollars

So if they demand dollars, just give them the equivalent rate their front desk gives at exchange, which in recent years is generally 20,000d/dollar or even less. They want your dollars, because they will fetch 21,000d/dollar, when they exchange them, making another 5% (today).

When you check in, note the exchange rate, which is usually posted. If it's not, ask them and note the name of the front desk person that provided the rate. You can play this game both ways with them, when they're legally required to take dong and not dollars. Good luck and Happy travels!

Richard

Australia
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6. Re: Paying hotel balances in U.S. dollars

I don't know the banks in Canada but here in Oz I sourced a debit card from a different bank than the one I have all my accounts with. It has no fees for anything - I only pay an ATM fee in Vietnam of $1.50 - if I find a Citibank ATM I pay nothing at all. Have you shopped around the various banks?

If you bring $US there are lots of places you can change them and they will advertise their rates on a sign out the front so no problem.

Have fun!

Vancouver Island...
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7. Re: Paying hotel balances in U.S. dollars

I read a post today from another Cdn who found a no fee debit card but there is a pretty high monthly fee and a minimum deposit. I will either take some US with me and pay that to the hotel or convert it. Wonder how accepted our Canadian dollar is there for exchanging to dong.

Nha Trang, Vietnam
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8. Re: Paying hotel balances in U.S. dollars

No problem in banks.

Vancouver Island...
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9. Re: Paying hotel balances in U.S. dollars

Thanks Jim B. Maybe that's the route to go then.

Ghent, Belgium
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10. Re: Paying hotel balances in U.S. dollars

When we compare the quotes hotels give us in $ v dong, the difference seems to be minimal (a few 1000 dong max), so if you factor in withdrawal costs there won't be that much difference I guess.