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How to Access your Money in Bali and get the BEST bang for your buck!

A big part of getting ready for your upcoming Bali trip is deciding how you will access your money and pay for things during your time away. Regular bank fees can be expensive when it comes to both their currency conversion fees, exchange rates, and ATM withdrawal charges.

Two hands holding up a Revolut and a Wise Bank debit card against a background of green foliage.

In Bali a lot of ATMs only allow you to take out 2,000,000 Rp (approx $200 AUD), so being charged up to $15 AUD by your home bank for each withdrawal adds up quickly! Also, paying for things using your card on your regular bank card also means paying a currency conversion fee, or taking the bank’s currency conversion rate (which is often not competitive).

How to Access your Money in Bali, In the past the options have been to use traveler’s cheques, to travel with a stack of cash, and loading up on a travel card to use while you’re away…but in recent years there have been more options, with banks such as WISE and Revolut – that have been created with the international traveler and spender in mind! 

Access your Money in Bali

These companies work to ensure greater security for your money, lower fees when sending,spending and withdrawing cash overseas, and ways to ensure you are getting the best “bang for your buck” when it comes to using your money in foreign countries. Whether you only need a solution for a quick trip to Bali, you will be travelling a lot, or you are looking to move overseas, these two options have proven to be big cash (and sanity) savers for us when it comes to living between two countries….and we recommend them to all of our buddies who are travelling. 

CASH OR CARD IN BALI? 

Cash has always been king in Bali, and while we encourage everyone to always carry some cash, more and more venues, services and shops are accepting cards. You will need some cash, especially for smaller stall holders, street food vendors, traditional taxis, and getting your beers on the beach at sunset. Whether you bring your cash from home and exchange it in Bali, or plan on using ATMs, you should always carry at least a small amount of cash with you in Bali. 

We always recommend having money on some sort of card for several reasons. Firstly, is something happens to your cash, travel insurance will usually only cover a small amount, secondly having a card to access funds means you don’t have to worry about carrying and storing a lot of cash, and lastly using a card for online apps such as Grab is a whole lot easier than dealing with cash. 

WHICH BANK OR TRAVEL CARD SHOULD I USE IN BALI?

We are here to tell you how to get the most value for your dollar….in rupiah when spending in Bali. 

After living in Bali for years while still running businesses and having assets in Australia, it’s been extra important for us to know how to get the best value for our Australian dollars when spending them in rupiah in Bali. For us, the best two solutions have been to have a WISE card and account, and more recently a Revolut card and account. Both cards have saved us a lot of money and made dealing with different currencies easy. 

Below we breakdown what we love about each of these cards, and how to set up your own accounts. Of course, these two cards are not just great for travelling to Bali, but for travelling almost anywhere in the world, or sending and receiving international currencies. 

WISE 

Formerly known as TransferWise, we’ve had a WISE account for many years. Excellent for sending currencies between countries, you can also get a physical WISE card to use throughout your travels. 

What we love about WISE….

  • Low fees for ATM withdrawals
  • Easy app to use for sending money and keeping track of purchases from your account
  • Excellent rates for currency conversions 
  • Easy worldwide use
  • Physical card to use for ATM withdrawals, instore purchases, and online purchases
  • Ability to set automatically set conversions when currency reaches certain levels

*this is especially a great option for people that travel to the same destination often!

  • You can have a personal account and a business account
  • The ability to create digital cards for one-time use

*Top Tip: if you’re buying something online and worried about getting your card scammed, create a digital card in your WISE app, make your purchase, then disable that digital card (this way you don’t put your account or physical card at risk)

What we use our WISE accounts for…

  • WISE is our preferred way to send currency between countries. 

For our business we use it to send money all over the world. 

  • ATM withdrawals for cash
  • Online and in-store purchases 

REVOLUT

Revolut only became available for Australians more recently, we’ve had our accounts for almost 18 months, now we wondered how we lived without it! Operating in a similar way to WISE, but with a lot of other great features that benefit both digital nomads and people who travel a lot.

What we love about Revolut….

  • Three different types of accounts, depending on how and how often you you’re your account

If you are only using your account for short travel stints, the FREE account option is the best one for you!

  • Option to get a physical card
  • Excellent app that sends a notification every time your account is charged
  • Option to set up free accounts for under 18s (under their parent’s accounts)
  • Ability to set up digital cards 
  • Ability to split bills with friends who also have Revolut accounts
  • Access to airport lounges all over the world for a discounted rate
  • Deals from Top Brands for Revolut account holders
  • Cashback for Metal card holders (more on this below…..)

What we use our Revolut accounts for…

  • Withdrawing money overseas
  • Paying for goods on our cards overseas 
  • Paying an allowance to our children

We set a weekly allowance to be automatically transferred to our children’s Under 18s accounts. The Under 18 Revolut accounts are free and they have their own apps and cards. Both of us receive notifications when they spend on their accounts. We also use the in-app budgeting system in the app so the kids can budget for what they are spending their money on. 

  • Accessing airport lounges

We travel a lot, so using lounges saves us money on buying airport food and drinks in the long run. Our Revolut cards give us such a great discount that the lounge passes save us money in the long run. Also, if you are on the Metal Card plan like us, if your flight is delayed for two hours or more, you get 5 free lounge passes on their Smart Delay program. 

  • Getting cashback on every dollar spent outside of Australia

On the metal plan you get 1% cashback spend outside your home country. For us, we spend 99.5% of our time outside of Australia, which means nearly every dollar we spend on our cards we get 1% cashback ….this feature alone makes it worthwhile to pay the $25 a month AUD fee for our Metal Card Plans. A great hack for nomads or those that travel often. 

Which do we like best, WISE or Revolut?

We are big believers in having backups when you travel, and as you can set both a basic WISE and Revolut account up for free, we’d recommend setting up both and using one for most of your transactions and keeping the other as a backup. 

If you are only setting up one of these accounts, and using it for personal use, then Revolut is our preference. Why? The app is more user friendly for us. Recently we even set up our retired (non tech loving) parents with Revolut…and even they couldn’t believe how user friendly the app was!

Also, for those looking to move to Bali, like we have, this is an excellent option for giving your kids/teens access to a bank card. It has been a great expat hack for us in recent years! 

For sending money internationally, both personally and for business, WISE is still our preference. Mostly because this is what we have always done and there hasn’t been a big enough fee difference or conversion rate to encourage us to try Revolut international transfers or Business version. 

Our BIG tip!

If you’re travelling outside your home country, get yourself one of these cards. It’s very hard for traditional banks to compete with their international fee structures and currency conversion rates. For us, they are must-have travel cards…. but they now also make our day-to-day life easier and cheaper too!!

We hope this article has helped you get ready for your trip to Bali (or wherever else you have planned to travel next!). While you are getting your money sorted, you may always want to check out our tips for keeping your money safe in Bali!


Bali Buddies Tips

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