Money Tips

Money Tips you should know

Commission rates, exchange rates, currency conversion and transaction fees can all add up to a lot of your travel budget. It pays to be organised with your money while travelling. There are some important things to know about using and accessing your money in Bali, and about the Bali currency. We have compiled all of the information, and best tips on how to both keep your money safe in Bali, and to get the best value out of your money while visiting Bali.

What Currency is used in Bali?

The Indonesian Rupiah is the currency of Indonesia. 

The currency code for Rupiahs is IDR, and the currency symbol is Rp.

Indonesian Rupiah

In Indonesia, you pay for everything primarily with 7 different denominations of banknotes.

The Indonesian rupiah is in increments of 1000, so you will often come across amounts in 10,000 denominations in Bali, which can be confusing sometimes.It is also good to know that the coins, because of their low value they are often not used for rounding amounts or returning change.

Notes of IDR:

    Rp 1,000  (approx 10 cents AUD)    

    Rp 2,000  (approx 20 cents AUD)     

    Rp 5,000   (approx 50 cents AUD)        

    Rp 10,000 (approx $1 AUD)      

    Rp 20,000 (approx $2 AUD)      

    Rp 50,000  (approx $5 AUD)     

    Rp 100,000  (approx $10 AUD) 


Bali Insider tips:

*If on a menu for example you see that a burger is listed as “80”, check the fine print at the bottom of the menu. It will usually say, prices are listed in thousands of Rupiah, which means you times the number listed by 1000. The burger would be Rp 80,000 (approx $8 AUD). 

*Taxes are not included on menus and are added in the final bill. It is common for taxes to be up to 21%, so keep this in mind when ordering and when splitting bills. 

Change your cash money in Bali or Australia?

You will always get a better exchange rate if you wait to change your money once you land in Bali (or any country you are travelling to for that matter). If you are nervous about arriving with no currency you can always exchange a little amount of money before you leave for Bali (in Australia we recommend doing this at Australia Post as they have no fees). The worst exchange rates you will find at the airports, try not to change any currency at the airports as their exchange rates are always significantly lower than genuine money exchangers outside the airport.

When in Bali it is very important to only ever change your money at safe, well-known locations. Never be tempted by street money exchangers advertising a very high exchange rate. These peddlers are like magicians – they will literally make your money disappear before your eyes!  

BMC banks. Click here for LOCATIONS

Central Kuta Money Exchange Click here for LOCATIONS

Where to change money in Bali?

Airport

When you arrive at the airport after a long flight, it is tempting to exchange money as soon as you leave the airport. It seems to be the fastest and most convenient way, but it’s also very expensive. Money exchange offices outside of the Airport offer a much better exchange rate, which means you get more RP for your money.

Banks

Some banks offer currency exchange, but this is not as common as you might think, especially with the increasing trend of using cards abroad. Major banks such as ANZ and Westpac, for example, have stopped buying and selling cash abroad. Instead, they advise their customers to choose their prepaid travel money card (such as WISE or Revolut)  or recommend the use of credit or debit cards for payments abroad.

Money Exchanger

It is common for local money changers to display the daily exchange rates on white signs on the side of the street. They usually promote their business with slogans such as “Authorized Money Changer” or “No Commission”.

Some of our favourite places to exchange money are below:

Central Kuta Money Exchange – Click here for LOCATIONS

Are ATMs in Bali safe?

Card skimming is happening more and more all over South East Asia and there have been 1000s of reports of this happening in Bali also. If you are going to use an ATM machine in Bali be sure it is one in a very public area and preferably one that has a security guard or is in a bank, resort or shopping mall. Avoid using ATMs at Minimarts or Circle K’s or random locations on the street.

We also wrote a blog about common Scams in Bali (including ATM scams) – Click here to read it.

When using your bank card in Bali, also check with your bank before you leave your country about fees associated with withdrawing money internationally. The maximum amount you can withdraw at most Bali ATMs is 3,000,000 Rp (approx $300 AUD). This is why we recommend using a WISE or a Revolut card in Bali, rather than your traditional bank ATM card.

Using Bank Cards, Travel Cards or Credit Cards

Paying by card in Bali has become common practice in most restaurants and shopping malls, in fact even some of the more savvy market stores even accept cards these days. Taxis, small local restaurants (warungs), beach bars, and a lot of market stalls still only accept cash, so you are definitely going to always still have at least a small amount of cash on you in Bali.

Travel Crads in Bali

Pay like a local with amazing exchange rates, zero or super low fees and no fee ATM withdrawals overseas – does that sound amazing to you? This is why we recommend getting either a WISE or a Revolut Card (or be like us and have both!) before travelling to Bali. 

A travel card, or bank card offering currency buying and selling offers many advantages that you don’t have with a normal credit or debit card. 

Both WISE and Revolut cards are easy to set up prior to your trip. You can order a physical card to be delivered to your home address, and you can easily transfer your home currency into IDR with a click of your finger on your app. These two cards have the most favourable exchange rates, and lowest fees when it comes to using your card internationally. We love the security of these cards, and the fact that you can see every transaction on your app, and control all of your security settings on your app too. We literally would not travel anywhere without these cards these days, they make managing your money abroad a breeze. 

Set up your WISE account here

How much to pay for things in Bali

The prices in Bali depend very much on the location and the season.  It also depends on your personal preferences when it comes to food, accommodation and activities.

Transport & Short Term Scooter Hire in Bali

The quickest & cheapest way to  get from a to b in Bali, the best way to get around is by scooter, but you need to ensure you are properly licensed and insured to do this in the case of an accident. 

There are different types of scooters, but most of them have 125cc and are able to transport 2 people. However, if you prefer a faster bike, you can rent anything from a 170cc scooter to a superbike.  We recommend you take a look at Bikeago, they have a great service and a large selection of bikes.

For holiday makers we recommend only renting scooters from trusted and authorised rental companies. Our personal favourite company is Bikago. They have fair pricing and exceptional service. 

Click here to check out their range of bikes & to get a quote

Bali Insider tip:

*If you are staying  in Bali long term, it makes sense to rent a scooter for a longer time period as the prices are significantly lower per day.

If travelling in a car or van is more your style, the most cost efficient way to get around in Bali is via the Grab app (in fact you can order rides in both cars and on the back of a scooter on the app).

We recommend linking your WISE or Revolut card to the app, so that payment is automatically debited from your card, this is far easier than having to pay in cash and dealing with trying to get change from the drivers. Cash payment is an option on the app though if you prefer. For day trips exploring the island, the most cost efficient way is to book a car via Klook. You can either choose to make your own itinerary for the day, or book one of their pre planned itineraries.

Laundry

You can find a laundry service on almost every corner in Bali. The usual price is per kilogram and costs around 10,000 Rp ($1 AUD) to wash, dry and iron your laundry. They usually keep your laundry overnight, but you can find some express laundromats. 

When shopping in the supermarkets, you can often buy a shopping bag for a little money. They are not only large, but also sustainably produced, which makes them the perfect bag for storing your dirty laundry.

Bali Insider tip:

*If you have delicate items we suggest you wash your laundry yourself in one of the many self-service laundromats. You can find them easily across the island and they are very cheap.

Internet for your Smartphone

In these days of travel we always recommend having access to the internet on your phone. It’s handy for directions and using apps such as Grab to arrange your transport. There are several options when it comes to having access to the roaming data.

You can buy a tourist sim card for your phone at a very reasonable rate (a sim card with 20 Gb Internet costs around 200,000 rupiah – $20 AUD). We love the convenience of an e-sim though, that way you don’t need to worry about removing your physical SIM card, and you can still receive texts and calls on your main SIM card. We recommend using AIRALO as a travel eSIM with very reasonable rates!

Common money traps to avoid in Bali

  1. You have not checked the fees and conditions of your credit card – Good planning before your trip can save you a lot of money, stress and surprises on your credit/debit cards.
  1. Too much cash – and yes there is such a thing. In Bali you don’t need a lot of cash, you can get far without carrying a lot of cash around with you.
  1. Not having any cash – it makes sense to always have a small amount of cash in your wallet.
  1. You have used the ATM too often – If you go to an ATM to withdraw money, you should withdraw as large an amount as possible, this will avoid you paying too many fees for each transaction. 
  1. Paying in foreign Currency – If you have the option when paying by card, you should always choose to pay in IDR. Foreign currency exchange rates can result in dynamic currency fluctuations, leading to higher conversion fees and lower exchange rates.

We hope these money tips help you make using your money in Bali a breeze and give you the best “Bang for your Buck!”. 

Bali Buddies Tips

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