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Southeast Asia forum

ATM's - Vietnam / Cambodia / Laos

Posted by angfonz on 10/8/2009 at 21:37

I am an American, but I live in Australia (actually just a few miles north of friend Bruce). As such, the money in my bank account is in USD. Unfortunately, for me to take out a chunk of USD here in Australia, I would be converting first to AUD, then back to USD - losing money with each conversion.

I would certainly like to avoid this.

My question is twofold: will the ATM machines in Vietnam / Cambodia / Laos provide USD? And, if they do, does the transaction convert to local currency and then back to USD?

Thanks in advance~

#1 angfonz has been a member since 7/7/2009. Posts: 36

Posted by somtam2000 on 11/8/2009 at 06:37 admin

Hmm interesting question. You've got a USD account with an Australian bank is that correct?

My initial thought would be the Oz bank would try to convert the money as many times as humanly possible just so they could charge you more!

The ATMs dispense dong rather than USD and bear in mind there is a low maximum withdrawal (I think around the equiv of US$130 from memory) which means this can be a very expensive way to access your money.

I'd suggest contacting your bank first to find out what charges they'll levy on you for international ATM access (there is most likely a flat fee surcharge, plus, depending on the bank, a percentage on top of that!) and then ask about conversion charges.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,943
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Posted by seagypsy on 11/8/2009 at 06:50

For Lao ATMs, it's only Lao kip back out of the machines. Also, if you haven't read the warning in the Lao forum about BCEL's bank ATMs malfunctioning, it's important to read it.

#3 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136

Posted by BruceMoon on 11/8/2009 at 08:49


Vietnam banks are forbidden to release US$ to travellers. You MUST have a Vietnam bank account and some long term residency status in Vietnam to open an account before you can withdraw US$. Otherwise its VN Dong.

I've only ever been issued with local currency in Laos (KIP), but got US$ in Siem Reap (Cambodia) from an ANZ ATM.

- - -

As for getting US$ into Australia without bank fees, email me at and I'll explain how it can be done legitimately and without much hassle.


#4 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by angfonz on 12/8/2009 at 09:25

Email sent, Mr. Moon~!

#5 angfonz has been a member since 7/7/2009. Posts: 36

Posted by MADMAC on 12/8/2009 at 11:48

I always just carry cash when I travel. I have never had a problem, but then I don't do anything stupid like putting it in a backpack or under my pillow or something.

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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