Are you going to be living in Vietnam? You’re going to want to open a TIMO account then.
TIMO is an online bank where foreigners who have a valid VISA for 1 year are able to open an account. If you’re American, you’re in luck as you can get a 1 year tourist visa with ease. All other nationalities you’ll need the business visa, permanent resident card or temporary resident card.
This is unfortunately a new change. When I arrived in January you were able to open a bank account if your visa was valid for 3 months or longer. But things change and you now need a 1 year visa.
On a side note, getting a bank account in a foreign country where you’ll be living is a great idea as it makes managing your money much easier. I use Transferwise to send myself money and then I can use local ATM’s without paying any fees.
Why Open a TIMO account?
Security – I no longer carry around my American bank card. If I was to ever lose that, it would be a massive headache.
Convenience – When it’s time to pay my rent, I don’t need to find an ATM and withdraw 3 or 4 times from in a row. Instead I can simply transfer funds from my TIMO account to my landlords Vietnam bank account.
Simple – TIMO is an app that keeps you updated about your account and purchases and when you use it to purchase things, it automatically sends you email updates about that your account has been debited or credited.
Fee Free at Local ATM’s – This is a big benefit, you can withdraw from local ATM’s without paying a fee.
Transferwise friendly – I use Transferwise and transfer funds from my American account to my TIMO account. I never need to use my American card at an ATM.
2 Steps To Open a TIMO Account
Opening a TIMO account was a simple 2 step process that took about hour of time to get setup. Make sure to bring along your passport.
Step 1 – Make an appointment
I advise making an appointment (which you do by going here) instead of just being a walk in. With an appointment, you get priority service at a specific time of your choosing. You simply schedule a time that fits you. All you have to do is pick a TIMO hangout near you and show up when you’re supposed to.
This way, you’re efficient with your time. As a walk in, you could end up waiting 1 or 2 hours to complete this process. When you make an appointment, not only do you not have to wait, you’ve already submitted a portion of the information the bank needs to open your account
Step 2 – Fill out the required forms and download the TIMO app
From start to finish, it will take 30 minutes to create a TIMO bank account. You’ll fill out the required forms, submit your passport so the bank can make copies and they will assist you in setting up the TIMO app on your phone so you can manage your bank account.
You also get free coffee so really the only thing you need to do is sit there, drink coffee, sign some papers and you should be good to go in 30 minutes.
TIMO Frequently Asked Questions
When I other expats people about my TIMO account back home they have a few common questions:
Is there a minimum balance? NO. This is not America (I’m joking). With TIMO you can have a balance of 0 and not incur any fees.
Are there fees when using an ATM? You can use any local ATM fee free. If you use an ATM from an international bank like HSBC then you will be charged a fee. But with TIMO, you now have a local Vietnamese bank account and your in Vietnam.
There is no reason to ever use a foreign bank’s ATM ever again while you have TIMO.
What About Transferwise, was it easy to setup? Transferwise was simple to setup with my TIMO account. With the TIMO app, you can submit all the require information to Transferwise to get your Vietnamese bank account setup.
Conclusion – Open a Vietnamese Bank Account as a Foreigner
So there you have it, a quick guide for opening an excellent, easy to use local bank account in Vietnam as a foreigner. TIMO has so many advantages that it just does not makes sense to use your local ATM card.
You can pay for your rent, everyday items and it gives you a level of security as you’re now using a Vietnamese bank as a foreigner.
Ready to get started? Sign up here and schedule your appointment.