February 2024
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Submitted by Sandy Hanna (ACS)

I am trying to find out if anyone remembers how the exchange of piasters before returning to the States went.

Our military family was in Saigon 1960 to 1962. My brother Tom said that we were getting 70 piasters to the dollar, but on the black market you could get 90 at that time.

When leaving I wondered if military personnel were able to exchange the piasters to military script or get American green backs.

Does anyone remember?

Admin Note: Sandy, you might find this post about Piasters to U.S. Dollars interesting (click the link and scroll down to read the section about USD to Ps exchanging).

Black Marketing U.S. Dollars To The Communists


  • thomas rushton

    I went to Saigon in 1966, as a civilian contractor. The exchange rate officially was about 83 piastres for a dollar; my boss was able to find, each month, some outlandishly great black market rates, which he passed along to us, his employees. I remember some rates were as high as 400 piastres for a dollar! We were thrilled to be there at that time.

  • Warren Butler

    When I was at Tan Son Nhut in 1964-1965 the rate was 100 piasters to the dollar. The red-light district just outside the main gate, Lan Cha Ca, was offering services at that amount or 1 USD or three apples, which we got from the chow hall on base. That area was called 100 Pee Alley. I went back again in 1967 and stayed until 1969, and it seemed that their rates had not changed.

    The rates changed when the MPC(military pay currency) hit all of VN. One could get much more in exchange when using USD’s. Cholon was the best place in the Saigon area to exchange green backs but it was said that the Green Back was going to the communist. The Green Back was really strong in all of the World during that time. It is sad to say that it is not so today. Choi Oi!

  • Sandy Hanna

    Does anyone remember military script being used in any way while in Saigon? That is the money that they used only on on military posts. Thanks Warren and Thomas for your input. Much appreciated. Sandy

  • Kenneth R. Yeager

    I don’t recall Script during my time 1960-62, but it was used during my military posting in Vietnam….when it was introduced, I have no idea.

  • frank

    While in the military, the only thing I saw used was MPC. Now I never was in towns, but did use it in a ville to buy a beer. The PX (BX) only used it. I never saw dollars or Piasters. It was limited, but when we left Vietnam, we could exchange MPC for dollars, but it was limited. The amount I do not remember. It was illegal to take any script out, but I must admit, I have a few dollars to this day in my position. About every six to nine months the military would change the script without notice.I think this was an attempt to stop the “black marketeer.

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