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Travel money guide: Indonesia

Traveling to Indonesia? Learn about the best way to take your money with you.

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When getting ready to head to Indonesia, you might’ve not thought about how you’ll be spending money. Where you go in Indonesia will determine the which option of travel money is best. You shouldn’t have a problem using a credit card in tourist hot spots, like Bali, but plastic is virtually useless in remote areas like Maluku and Papua.

Among your options, travel credit cards and debit cards will allow you to access and spend your funds conveniently in Indonesia.

What should I budget for my trip to Indonesia?

Budget (Cheap)MidrangeLuxury (High-end)
to-sleepSimple room
$15
Room with air-condition and Wi-Fi
$30–$70
Ayana Bali resort
$815–$1225
mealfortwoCheap street meals
$1
Average full meal
$2–$3
Western food
$10
cameraBromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park
$7
Mt. Batur hike
$30–$60
2-day all-inclusive orangutan trek in Bukit Lawang
$80

*Prices are approximate and are subject to change.

Travel card, credit card or debit cards?

Whether you’re on a business trip or taking a holiday, it’s good to at least have a couple of ways to access money. Choose a versatile mix like a debit card for regular spending and a credit card for emergencies. Whatever you decide on, you want to have enough Indonesian currency in your pockets when traveling through Indonesia — even if it’s enough for the first couple of days.

Must read:

You’re going to need to pay for a visa when you arrive in Indonesia. In places such as Denpasar airport, you have to pay cash, so make sure you have sufficient funds.

A quick summary of travel money options for Indonesia

Travel money optionProsConsiderations
Debit cards for travel
  • Access to ATMs
  • Make over the counter purchases
  • Budget is easily managed
  • Currency conversion and international ATM fees
  • No emergency cash
  • No backup cards
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Pre-load and secure your exchange rate
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Local ATM fee
  • Reloading time
Credit cards for travel
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Access to funds up to your credit limit
  • Rewards points on spending, 0% purchases, frequent flyer perks
  • Emergency card replacement
  • High withdrawal and cash advance fees
  • International ATM fees and currency conversion fees
Traveler’s checks
  • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
  • Photo ID needed to cash checks
  • Can be costly with initial purchase charges
  • Limited acceptance
Cash
  • Flexibility with payments
  • Convenience
  • Difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

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How the different travel money products work in Indonesia

Using debit cards

A debit card is a great travel companion if you can get your hands on one with no international ATM fees. You’ll have easy access to cash and only have to pay the ATM operator fee. When making purchase overseas, most debit cards will charge a 2% to 3% foreign transaction fee.

Using prepaid travel cards

There are no travel money cards that allow you to load and spend in Indonesian rupiah. These cards should only really be considered if Indonesia is the first leg of your international holiday. However, due to the lack of support for Indonesian rupiah, the fee structure and exchange rate margin when you load the card with funds makes this an expensive option.

Using credit cards

A credit card can be useful when traveling overseas if you plan on making a large purchase that you’ll want to pay off over a couple of months, or for a hotel check-in where a deposit normally is required. Credit cards also give you access to emergency cash and can provide you with benefits like complimentary travel insurance when you charge the cost of your travel ticket to your account.

However, credit cards can be expensive, especially when it comes withdrawing cash at an ATM. Interest is charged straight away and you’ll pay a cash advance fee.

Using traveler’s checks

Traveler’s checks have a some nice security touches to them, but unfortunately they’re dated. Traveler’s checks need ID to be cashed and they can be replaced in a few days if lost or stolen. But, there are fees for purchasing and cashing a check.

Using cash

Having cash in Indonesia will prove to be useful as there won’t always be stores and shops that are going to accept credit card payments. In addition to that, many street stands or local vendors will likely be operating a cash-only business. Don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut because you didn’t want to stop at an ATM machine.

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 25,000 points after spending another $6,000 in the first 6 months
9x points at Hyatt hotels as a World of Hyatt member, 2x on gyms, commuting, dining and airlines and 1x on all other purchases
$95
Earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 25,000 points after spending another $6,000 in the first 6 months.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
This popular travel card's signup bonus is worth up to $750. Get even more value out of your travel, dining, and Lyft rewards by transferring them to miles.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Black Card™
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
United℠ Explorer Card
40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
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Case study: Stephanie's experience

Stephanie profile photo
Stephanie

Stephanie’s Bali Beach Holiday

What cards did you take with you?

Why did you take these cards with you?

She used the Capital One 360 debit card to get money from ATMs, without paying a currency conversion fees. The other great thing about her Capital One is that it doesn’t charge for withdrawals at international ATMs.

Stephanie had her Simmons Visa® as a backup and only used it a couple of times on her trip — she paid the remaining balance of her hotel bill and bought her friends dinner one night. She paid it off before the interest free period was up and didn’t incur any interest charges.

Did you withdraw from ATMs?

Stephanie says she withdrew from Indonesian ATMs around the Kuta area. Most ATMs charged a small fee for withdrawing, so she tried to withdraw the maximum each time.

Were there any places where you had trouble using any of your cards?

Stephanie said she mainly used cash in Bali. The only times she used her card were at a fancy dinner and major hotel chains.

What’s your recommendation for the best form of travel money to take to Indonesia?

Stephanie says that a debit card that waives the international ATM fee and currency conversion fee would be ideal, especially if there are no monthly charge to keep the account open.

What are your travel money tips for Bali?

She says do your shopping in the morning. The people who sell things at the markets in Bali will give you a better price in the morning compared to in the afternoon.

Our pick for a prepaid travel card
Travelex Money Card

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A guide to Indonesian banknotes and coins

Indonesian currency is in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 denominations — each a different color. Familiarize yourself with the notes before heading there:
indonesia-banknotes

Card acceptance

You’ll see stores and shops with Mastercard and Visa logos throughout Bali and you should be able to use your ATM card there with no problem.

  • Tip: Citibank customers can make free ATM withdrawals using Citibank ATMs in Indonesia.

Cash pickup services in Indonesia

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 0 2 days USD 9.99 14415.9 IDR 14,271,885 No fee for transfers of $5,000 or more to 177 countries, backed by an International Payments Price Promise. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour USD 3.99 14343.821 IDR 14,286,589 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
USD 0 1 - 2 days USD 1.99 14127.582 IDR 14,099,468 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
USD 1 Same day USD 8.00 14091.542 IDR 13,978,810 Easily transfer cash to more than 350,000 locations around the world. Show details
USD 1 3 - 5 days USD 20.00 14055.503 IDR 13,774,392 The biggest name in money transfers can get your funds to friends, family, or businesses in almost every corner of the globe. Show details

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Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
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Get travel insurance quotes for your holiday in Indonesia

Indonesia has proved to be a dangerous destination, from the dreaded Bali belly to contaminated alcohol, there are many risks lurking just below the surface. This is why travel insurance is so important. Travel insurance can cover:

  • Cancellations
  • Trip interruption
  • Lost deposits
  • Additional accommodation
  • Personal liability
  • Emergency dental and medical

Don’t let a hospital stay ruin your holiday. Compare travel insurance for Bali and find the right policy for you.

Find and compare travel insurance policies for Bali

Name Product Trip Cancellation Emergency Medical Expenses Baggage Coverage Trip delay
Allianz Travel OneTrip Emergency Medical Plan
$50,000
$2,000
$1,000
Budget-friendly policy designed for international and domestic travelers who want medical protection. Trip cancellation and trip interruption not included.
Allianz Travel AllTrips Basic Plan
$20,000
$1,000
$600
Annual policy that offers affordable protection, but doesn't include trip cancellation or trip interruption.
Travelex Travel Basic
100%
$15,000
$500
$500
Essential travel coverage — with the option to customize — that can protect the cost of your trip.
Travelex Flight Insure
$10,000
$1,000
$100
Protect the cost of your flight and choose the coverage amount that meets your needs — trip delay protection included.
RoamRight Essential Travel Insurance Plan
100%
$15,000
$750
$500
Basic policy with coverage that includes trip cancellation insurance, tourist health insurance and baggage insurance.
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