Being travellers ourselves we understand the importance of getting the best out of your money, below are a hand full of money tips…
The currency in Bali is Indonesian rupiah (IDR or Rp). Due to the exchange rate, you will feel like a millionaire, in fact at times you may be carrying millions of rupiah around. Don’t flaunt it and attract attention to yourself, also it can be very rude towards the locals.
Take the time to study the value and colour of the notes so when you are paying cash you are confident you are handing over the correct amount. As you are dealing in thousand notes it is very easy to confuse IDR10,000 with IDR100,000 when you are flustered.
If you are visiting Bali for a holiday it is more than likely you will have changed your money before setting off and you will not need to worry about withdrawing (unless you’ve discovered Ubud markets) or changing money! However, if you are travelling it is less likely you have a bulk of cash so you need to withdraw.
Paying on a card and using ATMS safely
As we didn’t have a bulk of cash already withdrawn we personally found withdrawing cash from the ATM’s and using the cash rather than paying on card worked best for us. Only in the large shopping malls and westernised restaurants do they use card machines, practically everywhere else is cash only.
Some ATMs will only allow maximum withdrawals of Rp1,250,000 at one time but will allow up to three withdrawals in a day. Others will allow Rp3,000,000 at one time with a maximum of Rp6,000,000 withdrawal in a day. We found BNI bank ATM’s allowed us to withdraw Rp3,000,000 at one time.
Many people report they get their cards copied at ATM’s in Bali so I would recommend using the ATMs that are located inside the bank branches to be safe rather than the ATMS on the streets. Take the usual precautions when using any ATM.
You will be charged a transaction fee when you withdraw however by withdrawing the maximum amount out each time you are minimising the fees.
If you do decide to use your card daily rather than cash, you will be charged a transaction fee’s every time, be careful because these quickly add up!
BE AWARE that it is not uncommon for your bank to block your card whilst trying to use it in Bali. I would strongly advise you call your bank before entering Bali so they can remove all filters HOWEVER even then, this not guaranteed to work.
We had huge issues with our UK bank whilst on our trip – our card was blocked six times all for the same one reason. Balinese ATM machines use an old card reading system, they don’t read your PIN (like in the UK), they read the magnetic strip – this rings alarm bells in the UK as this technology is very outdated however, unfortunately, there was nothing they could do to prevent this from happening time and time again! Keep this in mind.
Another common issue due to the outdated programming of Balinese banking is that they may process your transaction at the ATM even if the ATM does not have any money in. Your account will be debited but you will not be given the money. If this happens to you take note of the ATM serial number and address and inform your bank immediately.
Changing your cash at money changers
Money changers are located everywhere in the touristy areas however personally, we have never used one. If you do need to change some money, we would recommend only using authorised changers only.
We have heard many horror stories about money changers therefore if you are going to use one, keep the below in mind:
- Work out exactly how much money you expect in return to get before entering.
- Ignore all distraction techniques.
- Once you have been given your notes, do not let the operator ‘count it again’. Many operators are like magicians, they can make money disappear!
- Avoid changing money on Indonesian holidays and when the banks are closed – the exchange rate is less.