VietNamNet Bridge – Online services for exchanging old notes for new ones mushroom in the days prior to the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays, although the activity is illegal and charges fees ranging from eight to 120 per cent in some cases.


People buy "lucky money" envelopes on Ha Noi’s Hang Ma Street. Due to high demand for new, small banknotes to be given as lucky money, illegal money exchange services mushrooms ahead of Tet. — Photo



The service meets the high demand for small notes and new notes to be given as "lucky money" to children during the holiday, as well as to be offered in pagodas during Tet, because the State Bank of Viet Nam had not provided sufficient small notes to commercial banks for their clients, reported the Tuoi tre (Youth) newspaper.

With a click, people in HCM City, for example, can easily access a Facebook account named “Doi tien moi, doi tien le HCM”. The service offers to exchange new notes of VND500 (2 US cents); VND1,000 (4 cents); VND2,000 (8 cents); VND5,000 (22 cents); VND10,000 (44 cents); VND20,000 (88 cents), VND50,000 ($2.3) and VND100,000 ($4.3).

A service fee of 120 per cent is charged for VND500 notes; 50 per cent for note of VND1,000; 20 per cent for notes of VND2,000 and VND5,000, 10 per cent for notes of VND10,000 and VND20,000 and 8 per cent for notes of VND50,000 and VND100,000.

In Ha Noi, people also easily find many such service “providers” by typing “doi tien le moi” or “ doi tien moi le”. The VND1,000 notes go for a service fee of 30 per cent; 10 per cents for VND5,000 notes and 15 per cent for notes of VND10,000 and VND20,000.

People are also interested in buying foreign notes, including $2 notes considered lucky, and banknotes of other countries, such as those of Bhutan, Myanmar and Brazil that feature animals considered holy in Vietnamese tradition - a dragon, a kylin, a turtle and a phoenix. The dragon symbolizes power and strength, the kylin is believed to be a creature that protects people from bad luck, the turtle is a symbol of health and longevity, and the phoenix represents beauty and wisdom.

A service provider in HCM City’s Nguyen Kiem Street said people had to pay VND55,000 ($2.5) to buy a $2-note.

In Ha Noi, the owner of a Facebook account that exchanges foreign notes said people had to pay about VND54,000 to buy a $2 note.

Several online websites charge customers about VND400,000 ($18) to buy a $2 note of lucky money for 2017, the Year of the Rooster, and VND160,000 ($7) for a collection of notes printed with the four holy animals.

A note of VND20,000 - the version issued in 1991 by the State Bank of Viet Nam - is offered at VND45,000.

Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the State Bank of Viet Nam’s HCM City branch, said the money exchange services are illegal. Minh said the branch had set up teams to inspect and deal with such services. The branch also sent a message ordering staff not to abet the money exchange providers, he said.

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Source: VNS