Many Vietnamese unaware of ban on gold payments

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Real estate purchases using gold as payment is still a common practice in Vietnam as many people do not know that it is illegal, industry insiders say.

The director of a real estate brokerage in Ho Chi Minh City told Thanh Nien that his company continues to receive home sale listings in gold.

However, Bui Tien Thang, deputy general director of Sacomreal, said the habit of using gold to pay for properties is a declining trend. Thang said gold listings are often found with houses in old residential areas.

Do Thi Loan, general secretary of the HCMC Real Estate Association, said there are fewer transactions settled in gold, but it's not because of the government's ban on the use of gold as a means of payment.

Many people are not aware that they will be fined for paying in gold, Loan said.

The decline is just because it's harder to sell houses with gold listings, she added.

Gold has for long been used in Vietnam as a means of payment, especially in real estate transactions. The trend began to show signs of easing early this year when the government announced plans to tighten control over the use of the metal in the country.

The State Bank of Vietnam last month issued a decree, saying the practice of listing prices in either gold or foreign currencies will be punished with fines of between VND300 million and VND500 million.

People paying for goods and services in gold will be fined up to VND100 million and the amount of gold involved will be confiscated.

Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the central bank's HCMC branch, said the public should learn about the new regulations.

People are stilll allowed to have gold and foreign currency holdings, he noted.

The central bank and police have said they will strengthen surveillance on the practice of listing prices in gold.

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