Cash is still an important form of payment in Bali. So make sure you
carry enough with you to pay for your small shopping, transportation and
food & drinks. The 100,000 bills are only useful if you intend to
buy a high-priced item or spend a lot of money at the same place. Most
small shops and street sellers will struggle to make change, so 50,000
and 20,000 Rp notes will be the way to go.
Most resorts and hotels accept credit cards but most times smaller places like guesthouses or homestays do not.
Check before hand if a store or restaurant accepts credit cards and if indeed their card swipe machine (EDC) is working.
Hold on to a few Rp. 500 and Rp. 1,000 coins and forget about
the smaller ones. They take up space and are hardly worth their weight.
Don’t be surprised if at a supermarket your change of money includes a
few pieces of candy instead of Rp. 50 or Rp. 100 coins.
carry a bit of cash with you. It will come handy when you decide to buy a
coconut, grilled corn on the cob or a sarong on the beach. Tipping the
staff at the hotel, spa and restaurant is also usually done in cash.
Your cash is king at markets, food stalls and small shops. Do not expect to be able to use your credit cards here.
Major currencies like the US, Australian dollar and Euro can easily be
exchange in banks, hotels and money changers. Keep in mind that the
rates fluctuate every day and not all notes are accepted. Old, folded,
damaged and dirty notes are often rejected or exchanged at a lower rate
than a clean crisp bill.
Money changers offer the best rates and are often conveniently open from 9am till 10 pm. They can be found throughout the island.
Banks generally give you the next best rate but going into a bank
and waiting for your turn can be exhausting and a waste of your
precious holiday time.
Hotels offer the lowest rate of exchange. Who wants that?!
Although there are plenty of honest money changers there are also
several shady vendors who might try to trick and short change you. We
strongly recommend you to go to a licensed money changer located in its
own air-conditioned office with a clear display of the current rates.
Licensed money changers, the Valuta Asing Berizin or Authorized Money
Changers can be recognized by the green-colored logo stating: “PVA
The small sign boards on the streets saying Official Money
Changer - No Commission are not God's word. Therefore, always be
cautious and follow below steps.
Money Changer Tips
Check the exchange rate and calculate what you should receive before handing over your money
Check if there is a commission fee. Some money changers have a better rate but add a fee.
You should receive a small document which states the rate and
calculation for the amount of money you like to exchange. A
professional money changer will ask you to sign it before handing you
over the cash.
Count your money in front of the dealer before you leave. You should be
the last person who touches the money before you walk away. Do not pass
it back to the staff for a recount !
Do not accept any damaged currency or notes that do not feel right.
Avoid the money changers in small streets or in small open
shops, especially the ones that change your money behind a high bench
which makes it difficult for you to see what is going on.
ATMs are easily found in Bali’s most populated areas and most accept
nonlocal ATM cards and credit cards for cash withdrawals. Debit cards
are accepted by some ATMs on the Maestro and Cirrus networks. If you
plan to travel in very rural areas or the islands, or Ceningan Island,
it will be wise to stock up on additional cash before you hit the road.
There is for example one ATM machine on Lembongan Island, which does not
ATMs dispense either 50,000 or 100,000 notes. A sticker will clearly indicate which one.
Most ATMs in Bali allow a maximum withdrawal of 1,250,000 (50,000 bill
machines) to 3,000,000 rupiah (100,000 bill machines) per transaction
with a total maximum of 6,000,000 rupiah withdrawal a day.
Be aware that often machines will hand out the money first
before returning your card. Make sure you do not walk away without
taking your card!
Rates and transaction fees depend on your bank back home. You
may like to check the charges with your bank before withdrawing money.
Do double check if your card can be used overseas and inform
your bank of your travel destination as it has happened on a few
occasions that travellers find their card blocked by their bank as their
sudden overseas spending was seen as suspected fraudulent use.
The most popular ATMs to withdraw money from are Bank
Central Asia (BCA), Bank Mandiri, Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), and
Permata Bank. More Commonwealth ATMs are popping up the island in recent years.
BCA has the largest coverage when it comes to ATM machines.
They have 3 types of machines: Tunai which means cash. Non Tunai which
means, what a surprise, no cash. And Setor Tunai which means deposit
There have been a few cases of digital pad skimming devices
found in ATMs. It is always wise to use ATMs placed in banks, shopping
malls and places with security camera.
More and more restaurants and shops do accept credit cards nowadays -
particularly in the touristic areas it's gaining ground a lot. But do
not rely on your credit card as you would in a western country. Cash is
in many cases the only acceptable way of payment. Particularly in remote areas a credit card will be of little use to you.
Visa and MasterCard are the most accepted credit cards in Bali. Some hotels and restaurants do take Amex, Diners Club even less.
Keep in mind that very often there will be a 3 to sometimes even 5% surcharge on credit card transactions.
This is, because the credit card companies keep that percentage for
themselves, and the vendors on Bali will charge that fee back to their
Do not bring these. It will be hard to impossible to change.