Currency, Credit Cards and Changing Money in IndonesiaBack to all travel tips
If you're planning a holiday in Indonesia, this is what you need to know about currency, cash and credit cards.
The Rupiah is the monetary unit of Indonesia. Coin denominations range from 25 to 1,000 rupiah. Banknotes in circulation range in denominations from 100 to 100,000 rupiah.
Taking cash and cards to Indonesia
ATM's are widespread throughout Indonesia. Cirrus / Maestro seems to be the most prevalent card accepted. You may want to notify your bank before leaving home, as some will automatically cancel your card after withdrawals from exotic destinations as a fraud prevention method. Exchange rates are favourable if you get money out this way, but there seems to be a transaction limit of 500,000 1 million Rp (depending on the bank / card / ATM - you may not be able to get this much out). Some of the more remote areas of the archipelago have few or no ATM's so it is advisable to carry sufficient amounts of Rupiah when travelling to smaller towns or outer provinces.
You will find money changers all over Indonesia - US dollars are the most useful foreign currency to bring as they are the most widely accepted currency (especially in non-touristy areas). It is essential to ask for advice from your guide when changing money at local exchange booths, and be sure to count the money given to you carefully before leaving. There are plenty of ATM's and money changers at the airport on arrival, so purchasing Rupiah before leaving home is not really necessary. If do wish to change money before you arrive be aware that the rates will not be as good as those you will get in Indonesia so it is probably worth changing as little as possible.
Best pre-paid cards for Indonesia
Prepaid credit cards are now the safest way to travel with money, and are much more cost effective and convenient than Travellers Cheques (which are slowly becoming obsolete). We recommend the Caxton FX Global Traveller card which offers a fixed exchange rate at 2.75% below the prevailing interbank rate when spending overseas and withdrawing local currency from ATMs. Unlike credit cards the application process is straightforward, but you need to allow 7 days for delivery of the card.
Using Credit Cards in Indonesia
Most major credit cards are accepted with Visa and MasterCard being the most widely so. AmEx is also accepted in a few places in the major tourist areas, but will not be quite as useful. Credit cards are only really accepted in expensive hotels, shops or restaurants or for large purchases. Cash advances can be obtained at most ATM's but these tend to incur a relatively large fee. Check with your card issuer before travelling.
If you travel regularly it will pay to apply for one of the specialist credit cards for travellers that offer excellent rates of exchange and charge zero "load" fees when purchasing items, or withdrawing local currency from ATMs whilst abroad. For up to date information on the best specialist credit cards for travellers we suggest visiting one of the price comparison websites.