Best travel money option when traveling to Indonesia | finder.com

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.

Our pick for use in Indonesia

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

  • Earn 1.25x miles on all purchases; 10x miles on purchases made through hotels.com/venture until January 2020
  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 within your first 3 months when you open your account
  • Get 0% intro APR on purchases for your first 12 months, a variable APR of 14.24% – 24.24% applies thereafter
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
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Compare travel cards for Indonesia

When traveling in Indonesia or anywhere overseas, you’ll want to be sure your cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees. Thankfully the best travel credit cards waive these fees while also offering rewards and perks for your travel spending.

Name Product Foreign transaction fee Welcome offer Rewards Filter values
None
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
None
20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1.25x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
None
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
Earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
None
50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles on all purchases and 10x miles at hotels.com/venture
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
None
50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 2x on travel and 1x on all other purchases
50,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening.

Compare up to 4 providers

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Travelex Money Card

Why we like: Travelex Money Card

Load GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, JPY or MXN onto this prepaid travel money card and use it at millions of locations worldwide.

  • Not linked to your bank account for safety.
  • Convert currency with a 5.50% Foreign Exchange Fee
  • Contactless payments
  • Reload, withdraw, or replace your card for free.

    What should I budget for my trip to Indonesia?

    Budget (Cheap) Midrange Luxury (High-end)
    to-sleep Simple room
    $15
    Room with air-condition and Wi-Fi
    $30–$70
    Ayana Bali resort
    $815–$1225
    mealfortwo Cheap street meals
    $1
    Average full meal
    $2–$3
    Western food
    $10
    camera Bromo-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.

    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 option Pros Considerations
    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.

    Send money to Indonesia

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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.

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    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.

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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.
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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
    100%
    $15,000
    $500
    $500
    Essential travel coverage — with the option to customize — that can protect the cost of your trip.
    $10,000
    $1,000
    $100
    Protect the cost of your flight and choose the coverage amount that meets your needs — trip delay protection included.
    $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.
    $20,000
    $1,000
    $600
    Annual policy that offers affordable protection, but doesn't include trip cancellation or trip interruption.
    100%
    $15,000
    $750
    $500
    Basic policy with coverage that includes trip cancellation insurance, tourist health insurance and baggage insurance.

    Compare up to 4 providers

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    You might also like:

    Indonesia is a hotspot when it comes to vacation destinations, so do your research and save on those unnecessary fees to your bank.

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