Before you travel to Bali, you might wonder about the Indonesian currency, how you should prepare the money, and whether you should change the money beforehand or withdraw the money from the ATM. This article will reveal everything you need to know about currency in Bali.
Tips for exchanging currency in Bali
Upon your arrival at the Ngurah Rai International airport in Denpasar - Bali, you can see some ATMs and money changers where you can change money to Bali's local currency just in case you need to buy anything where a credit card payment isn't accepted. But since the exchange rates in the airport money changers are not the best, you might want to avoid exchanging too much currency at Bali airport.
Other major money-changers can be easily found in the city or any touristy destinations around Bali. Avoid the random unofficial kiosks, shops, or individuals offering higher exchange rates since their hands might be faster than you could see or imagine, and perhaps it's too late that you receive less money than it's supposed to be.
Find trusted and authorized money changers; usually, they have decent places with air-con, good waiting room, cashier windows, and security guards. If you stop by their websites, you might also find that they have many branches and good reviews. Always count the money and put it into the envelope before leaving the cashier's desk.
Here is the currency converter tool to help you get today's exchange rate from any foreign currency i.e., Indian rupee, Japanese yen, Australian dollars, US dollars, euros, etc.
What currency is used in Bali?
The Indonesian Rupiah is the currency used in Bali. Rupiah, IDR (currency code), is often abbreviated as Rp. This abbreviation is usually put before the amount, e.g., Rp.10.000,- (ten thousand Rupiah).
The figure includes so many zeros that the thousands are sometimes indicated or stated as "K," which means a thousand in money, like "Rp. 10K." Most local individuals would omit the "thousand" (in Indonesian, it is "ribu") when pricing something, such as when they state 20, it means 20,000 Rupiah.
Denominations of Indonesian Rupiah
Indonesian Rupiah currently has some banknotes circulating in different denominations, which are:
- 1,000 in yellow-grey color
- 2,000 in grey color
- 5,000 in light brown color
- 10,000 in purple color
- 20,000 in green color
- 50,000 in blue color
- 100,000 in red color
The smaller denominations of 1,000 might be less circulating since the same denomination also exists in coins. Some other coins in Rupiah are:
Coins' values are not significant and not widely used because the amounts are usually rounded to avoid the need for small exchanges.
Can I use my credit card in Bali?
Yes, you can use your credit card in Bali. Credit cards are widely accepted in restaurants, hotels, and shops. You may find that some smaller businesses only accept cash, but this is not always the case. As a traveler, it is always a good idea to have cash on hand in case you need it.
However, you have to check for additional fees or service charges for using particular cards – usually around 2.5% of the transaction amounts. You may also check with your bank regarding fees on international transactions.
Regardless, it is best to prepare cash in Rupiah currency in Bali since most smaller restaurants, warung, phone SIM card kiosks, conventional minimarkets, taxi drivers, and laundry kiosks can only accept cash payments. Furthermore, according to the newest official regulations, any transactions done in Indonesia must be paid in Rupiah (not in foreign currency) unless paying for a visa on arrival at the airport.
Are there ATMs in Bali?
Withdrawing money in Bali from ATMs might be the best and most practical option since they are widely available throughout the island. ATMs in Bali mostly have English language settings and accept Cirrus, Maestro, Visa, Master, and other cards in western networks. Some small fees might apply in addition to your bank changes, such as the transaction fee, the international exchange fee, etc. – luckily, the amounts are still reasonable.
The ATMs usually dispense 50,000 and 100,000 Rupiah. Getting the smaller denomination would make it easier for you to do the transaction since the taxi drivers might not have the chance if you hand them the 100,000 rupiah banknotes.
However, be aware of the card skimming scams that are common in South East Asia. The criminals install a device secretly over the card slot on an ATM, which seems to be a part of the machine, to gather account data from the inserted or swiped cards; then, they plant this data into the blank bank cards and use them to access the funds in the victims' accounts.
In Bali, it is more common in public ATMs. Therefore try to withdraw money from the ATMs inside the bank, which usually have a security guard for 24h. Besides, always check whether the card slot is tightly installed and cover your hands as you type in your PIN into the ATMs – no matter where you are.
Remember to set the transaction notification to be sent to you through SMS or email, so you can detect any unknown transactions and report to your bank immediately to freeze your account temporarily during the investigation.
Do you need to tip in Bali?
In Indonesia, tipping is not customary or required. But it's always nice to offer additional incentives as appreciation if you discover the service is valuable or exceeds your expectations. When unsure how much to tip, rounding up to the nearest Rupiah is common.