Money, Currency, Payment Methods & ATM in Bali: The Guide

Alexis
Modified on February 1, 2024

Managing money, currencies, and payment methods in Bali can sometimes be a bit confusing, especially if you're from the West. Here's what you need to know to handle your money during your stay in Bali.

What currency is used in Bali?

In Bali, as in the rest of Indonesia, the currency used is the Indonesian Rupiah. It is denominated as "Rp" or "IDR," which means exactly the same thing.

Unlike euros, USD / Australian dollars, or pounds sterling, the Indonesian Rupiah has many zeros behind it. So, you are likely to become a millionaire, even having millions in cash in your wallet!

Indonesian Rupiah Coins and Banknotes Available in Indonesia

Due to their low monetary value, coins are rarely used in Indonesia. The largest coin is the 1,000 Rupiah, equivalent to 0.065 euros / USD. The smallest is the 100 Rupiah, equivalent to 0.0065 euros / USD.

So, unsurprisingly, you can't buy much with coins! Almost all cash transactions, therefore, go through banknotes.

Here are the Indonesian Rupiah banknotes from largest to smallest:

  • 100,000 Rupiah (6 - 7 euros / USD)
  • 50,000 Rupiah (3 - 3.5 euros / USD)
  • 20,000 Rupiah (1.3 euros / USD)
  • 10,000 Rupiah (0.65 euros / USD)
  • 5,000 Rupiah (0.35 euros / USD)
  • 2,000 Rupiah (0.12 euros / USD)
  • 1,000 Rupiah (0.065 euros / USD)
bank notes indonesian rupiah bali

Tips to Remember the Exchange Rate with Indonesian Rupiah

Generally, the exchange rate between the euro and the Indonesian Rupiah is around 15,000 Rupiah for 1 euro, and pretty much the same for USD.

So if you are from Europe or US, the simplest way to remember is to count in multiples of 15:

  • 15,000 IDR = 1 euro / USD
  • 30,000 IDR = 2 euros / USD
  • 150,000 IDR = 10 euros / USD
  • 300,000 IDR = 20 euros / USD
  • 450,000 IDR = 30 euros / USD
  • 1,500,000 IDR = 100 euros / USD

If you are Australian or Singaporean, you are in luck, the calculation is a lot more straightforward as the rate is usually around 1 AUD / SGD = 10,000 IDR.

Which gives you a very intuitive way to remember:

  • 10,000 IDR = 1 AUD / SGD
  • 50,000 IDR = 5 AUD / SGD
  • 100,000 IDR = 10 AUD / SGD
  • 500,000 IDR = 50 AUD / SGD
  • 1,000,000 IDR = 100 AUD / SGD

Be cautious not to get lost in the zeros to avoid giving the wrong bill or being scammed!

Most Used Payment Methods in Bali

Several payment methods are possible in Bali, but not all are equally popular. Here are the main ones you can easily use.

Cash: A Widely Used Payment Method in Bali

Cash is still widely used in Bali, for almost everything. Keep in mind that a significant part of the Balinese and Indonesian economy is informal, so cash is often preferred.

Even for sums of several hundred euros, cash payments are still relatively common, although the trend is diminishing in favor of bank transfers.

Debit / Credit Cards: Available in Many Stores but Not Everywhere

Paying by credit or debit card is generally straightforward in Bali, especially if you stick to tourist areas and establishments.

However, card usage is less common than in the West. Street vendors, small merchants, and family guesthouses may not always have card terminals.

When they do, payments can be made through Visa and Mastercard networks, which cover the vast majority of credit cards. Contactless payment, on the other hand, is rarely available.

Bank transfer is a much more widely used payment method in Indonesia than in France.

Since not everyone has a card terminal, and cash amounts can quickly become significant, bank transfer is the preferred method for medium and large payments.

Electronic Wallets (GoPay, OVO, Dana, etc.): Very Useful Online

There are quite a few electronic wallets in Indonesia. GoPay, linked to the ride-hailing and food delivery app Gojek (a local Uber on steroids), is probably the most widely used at present.

GoPay, OVO, and other e-wallets make it easy to pay on Indonesian websites like Tokopedia (the local Amazon). GoPay is also the native wallet for Gojek, which can significantly simplify your life during your trip.

GoPay, OVO, and Dana are also becoming increasingly accepted in offline businesses, although they are still not universal.

Where to Withdraw Money in Bali?

Withdrawing money in Bali is quite simple, but some precautions are necessary.

ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) are widely available in tourist areas, but not all are equal.

Card skimming is unfortunately quite common, especially in tourist areas, particularly when the ATM is isolated.

For these reasons, it is strongly recommended to withdraw only from ATMs located in bank offices, not those in remote locations.

The likelihood of your card being hacked is relatively low, but it's always very inconvenient when it happens, especially when you're on the other side of the world.

Should You Get Indonesian Rupiah from Your Bank Before Going to Bali?

No, you don't need to get Indonesian Rupiah from your bank before going to Bali.

As long as you have a debit or credit card that can withdraw cash internationally, you can easily withdraw cash from ATMs, even at the airport.

Money Exchange Offices in Bali: Good or Bad Idea?

Similarly, withdrawing a large amount of euros in cash to exchange in Bali is clearly an idea to forget.

Firstly, it is usually unnecessary as long as you have a card that works internationally.

Secondly, many money exchange offices in Bali scam tourists, either through well-practiced tricks or by replacing some bills with those with one less zero.

In short, if you want to waste your time and money, you can try, but it's certainly not something I recommend.

My 5 Tips for Managing Money in Bali

If you're heading to Bali soon, I highly recommend applying the following tips to avoid any money or credit card issues in Bali.

1. Check that your regular debit/credit card is enabled for international use before you leave

If you have a card with certain restrictions, especially on withdrawal or payment locations, make sure these restrictions are lifted before your departure.

It's a good idea to make a courtesy visit to your bank before you leave. Not only can they help ensure you can use your card in Indonesia, but they will also be aware that you are in Indonesia, which can help if your bank's security systems are triggered after some suspicious transactions.

2. Open a Wise account (100% free) before going to Bali to easily transfer to local accounts once there

Opening a Wise account should be done by everyone going to Bali. Opening an account is free, and you only pay Wise (very low) fees if you make transfers. If you use this invitation link, you even get your first transfer up to 500 euros for free.

Transferring money to Indonesian accounts from your regular bank is usually a real hassle, but Wise can make the process much easier for not even a tenth of the cost.

When you have a Wise account linked to your regular bank, you can do almost everything as if you had a local Indonesian account:

  • Transfer money to Indonesian accounts (to pay a guide, scooter rental, guesthouse, villa, etc.)
  • Top up your GoPay account and use Gojek easily (food delivery and transportation, in particular)
  • Shop online (Tokopedia, etc.) via GoPay or OVO

Truly, there is no equivalent without having to open a local bank account, which requires having a residence visa and is certainly not available to everyone.

3. Having a second debit/credit card doesn't hurt

Having a second card when you go to Bali is never a bad idea, even if you don't have much money on it.

You never know; getting a debit card stolen, blocked, or lost is something that happens. It's better to have a backup solution just in case.

4. Avoid having too much (or too little!) cash on you

There's no point in paying for everything in cash, especially large sums. You can easily make bank transfers via Wise to local bank accounts, as explained earlier.

Having too much cash on you exposes you to theft, just like anywhere else. Leaving the equivalent of several months' worth of a local salary in your hotel room is never a bright idea. Even though Bali has low crime, it's best not to tempt fate too much.

On the flip side, having some cash on you is also highly recommended. ATMs are often out of cash, so you don't want to be left with no payment method if that's the only option that is accepted at a specific merchant.

5/ Withdraw Cash BEFORE Going to Small Islands or Rural Areas

ATMs are not always well distributed on the island, and it is quite likely that you may have to go to a place where ATMs are very few.

Be cautious about small islands around Bali (Gilis, Lembongan, Penida, etc.) as well as rural areas. If the only ATM in the village or on the island is not working or is empty, you are out of luck if you need to pay for something.

So, it's better to withdraw cash before heading to remote areas and have a solution like Wise for making transfers if needed.

Conclusion

Managing Balinese currency and money can be confusing.

However, the payment methods are quite similar to ours, although used in different proportions.

The advantage of the Indonesian Rupiah is that you will quickly become a millionaire. The downside is that you may quickly feel like you're spending astronomical amounts.

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