The state of knowledge about finance and credit in Vietnam remains fragmentary despite the interest that economists have shown in the topic over the past fifteen years. This paper explores why informal finance continues to enjoy great popularity among rural households despite its high price and risks in Southern Vietnam. This research note examines in detail three modes of credit, and shows that borrowers’ perception of informal credit does not always correspond to that of government financial and international institutions. The social dimension of informal finance is crucial to understanding its prevalence, adaptability and continuity in Vietnam. From the point of view of the borrowers, informal credit is not perceived as an evil but rather an economic necessity.