Money Changing - Outside Of Indonesia
- Singapore - If you want cash in your wallet on arrival, the money changers at Changi Airport in Singapore will give you good, competitive rates.
- Australia - Their counterparts in Australia take much higher profit margins, and you are better off waiting until you arrive in Indonesia.
FEES & TAXES
- Visa On Arrival - A VOA will cost you USD $25. If you have US dollars that's fine, but you can also pay in A$ or Euros, or by credit card. There is no way to change currency at the airport before you pay for your visa. If you use non USD for payment of VOA, Immigration won't give you a great exchange rate, and will give you your change in Rupiah.
- Departure Tax - There is a Rp 200,000 departure tax payable only in Rupiah at the airport when you leave. So always ensure that you have Rp 200,000 per person put aside as soon as you can, rather than leave it until you get to the airport.
Money Changing - Inside Of Indonesia
That said, always take care when changing money. It is easy to be tricked when you aren't used to working in hundreds of thousands and millions!
- US Dollar Notes - be aware that if you are changing USD bank notes, banks and money changers are VERY PARTICULAR about the quality of the bills. $100 bills will get you the best rate (usually posted), and smaller bills will trade at a discount (not posted). Bills must be in PERFECT condition, with no rips, tears, marks or creases, and must be printed no earlier than 2007. If the bank won't take a bill because it's not perfect, a money changer might but will certainly try to extract a discount.
Small bills ($10 or smaller) and coins are generally not changeable, in ANY currency. So please don't use smaller notes e.g. US$10 or AUD$10 as tips.
- At The Airport: You have two easy options for getting local currency at the airport, ATM machines or money changers. There are two money changers as you exit the new international airport in the arrivals area.
Commercial banks are always safest. Second best are registered money changers in sole-purpose shops or booths.
- TRICKS - Tricks to beware of:
- >> Always ask first if they charge commission against the posted rate.
- >> Always ask if they discount bills smaller than $100, and by how much.
- >> Never let any changers count out your money and then take it back to check after it's counted.
- >> Don’t hand over your money – unless it’s the big registered exchange – until they count out theirs in front of you.
- >> If the rate offered is way above the going rate, they will either charge commission or employ one a number of tricks, especially short-counting your bills -- and they're as good as any magician.
NEVER let the money leave your sight while it is counted or checked, or you could find the total shorter when it comes back. Once you leave the premises, it is usually not be possible to remedy the situation. However, if you decide to go back even the next day to get your money back, you may find that they have kept track of their "tips" and will give it back upon threat of the police.
- TIPS - A few recommended tips:
- Places that does money changing as a secondary business (i.e. a souvenir seller also changing money and offers a higher than normal rate), then the chances of you being conned is higher.
- Always ask for big notes such as Rp100,000 or 50,000 notes. One method of confusing you is to give you bundles of 20,000 notes which makes you put 5 times more effort in counting and easily confuses you unless you are very sharp.
- If there are two people at the counter when you change money, you are almost guaranteed you will be conned. This is because anotehr tactic used to con is where one person talks to you with friendly talk which is to distract you in the counting while the other does the deal. Politely say "I will talk to you when I have done the transaction" as you must always give your 100% attention (Especially with your eyes on the deal being done). IF there is only one person dealing with you, it might be more legit. It is suggested to use the steps below:
- * Ask the question if they charge commission:
- If the answer is NO, proceed to agree the rate to the rate advertised on the board outside. If yes, then you make the call on whether you want to make a deal or not
- Agree the amount you wish to change, count your notes in front of him and don't hand your cash just yet. Put the counted foreign notes folded right in front of you under a weight (possibly your mobile phone) closer to you but visible by both in fairness.
- The guy will show you on the calculator the final amount you will get. Double check this with your mind if it is simple enough or with a calculator on your phone to confirm. Some do play with dodgy calculators).
- He will give you a bundle of calculated notes to be counted by you. Count the notes carefully and bundle them in the order you calculated but don't mix them up just yet. Keep the notes closer to you once you have counted correctly. If the guy proceeds to take the entire bundle back to re-count, stop him just then and say "don't do that, I am happy with the counting" and If he insists, don't waste your time, just walk away with your foreign notes. Because he is going to take some money off until you give in.
- If the guy pulls out a load of smaller 10,000 or 20,000 notes, just walk away as it is just going to be a guaranteed con.
- In SEMINYAK the best one is BMC and right next door to SIP wine bar accross the road and to the right of Bintang supermarket.
- In SANUR, Bali Legian Money Changer JL. Danau Tamblingan 67C. Next to Circle K, acroos the road and to the left of Hardy's Supermarket.
- In UBUD Central on Jalan Raya in Ubud opens 10.30am-11ish in the courtyard off Jalan Raya (south side) near Jalan Bisma.
Also, any commercial bank will change currency for you however the rates will be less.
The rates at money changers generally do not change on a weekend, as the banks are closed.
RECOMMENDED MONEY CHANGERS
Beware of Cheats: Remember to add the items up yourself (bring your own calculator if needed). There are many ways to scam an unwitting traveler in a foreign country - be observant and careful and you should be fine.
Watch the zeros and the colour of the notes as they are similar -- the Rp 100,000 ($10) bill is pink while the Rp 10,000 ($1) bill is purple, and they are easy to confuse.
If you put a non-Indonesian card in an ATM, it will automatically ask you if you want instructions in Indonesian or English.
- Fees & Charges - If you take money out of your account by ATM, beware of the charges. A foreign exchange fee can be up to $8 and a withdrawal fee can be the same – so you may pay $20 for a $50 withdrawal. So check with your bank before you go. Australian banks tend to charge higher fees than US banks. Some US banks charge a straight foreign exchange percentage (usually 3%) no matter the size of the withdrawal, and others add a per-withdrawal fee of $3-5. An alternative is to use an Australian credit card like 28 Degrees Mastercard (formerly Wizard) that doesn't make these charges. All US credit cards will have fees attached in some form.
- Notes Dispensed - ATMs dispense Rupiah only, and it comes in either Rp 50,000 and 100,000 notes: it will say on the outside of the machine. For Rp 100,000 machines, the maximum amount per transaction is usually 2 (or rarely, 3) million -- it's limited by how many bills can physically be pushed through the dispenser.
- Take Your Money & Your Card - Please be aware that the money typically comes out BEFORE the card. Many an unwary traveller has left their card behind. The next person then walks up - the machine asks "do you want another transaction?" and they press "yes" thereby make a dent in your account.
- Card Skimming - Some ATM's in Bali have been rigged with cameras and skimmers since 2009 and it is still an issue in 2014, so it's good practice to cover your hand when you enter your PIN. After the last round of thefts, most banks installed shields over key pads to make filming PINs more difficult. If you are concerned about security, it's always safer to use an ATM that is physically located at a bank branch rather than a free-standing ATM machine in a booth.
Phone your bank 2 weeks before you travel and tell them where you will be and the dates, they will then keep an eye on your card to ensure it is not compromised, especially after you have returned home. Do not let this card out of your sight and watch them when doing the transaction.
Keep money and passports in either your room safe or the hotels safety deposit box. Don't walk around with large amounts of money.