Using a credit card in Bali 2024

Whether you're headed to the beach or the market, here's everything you need to know about using a credit card in Bali.

Abundant in natural beauty and native culture, exploring Bali is a popular choice for holidaymakers and adventurers alike. If you’re planning to visit, you might be wondering whether you can use your credit card while exploring the bustling marketplaces and picturesque beaches.

Luckily, in Bali, you can. Most large vendors allow you to pay with a debit or credit card, but you may struggle with some smaller stores. So it’s a good idea to have some cash on you just in case.

Currency and exchange rates

The Indonesian Rupiah (Rp or IDR) is the official currency of Bali. Transactions are most often made in IDR when you use your credit card. However, some merchants catering to international visitors may offer the option to pay in pounds sterling or other major currencies. It’s important to understand the exchanges rates and any fees associated with using your credit card for foreign currency transactions.

What about fees?

Before travelling you must understand the potential fees that you may be charged when using a card in Bali. Make sure you choose a credit card with no or minimal overseas transaction fees to avoid extra charges.

When using your card abroad, many credit card providers will charge an additional fee between 1% to 3% of your transaction. Again some credit cards have no foreign transaction fees so, depending on your card’s terms, you might want to consider switching cards – granted you meet the eligibility criteria.

Learn more about cards designed for overseas spending

Currency conversion fees

Currency conversion fees are another charge that can be associated with spending abroad. When exchanging money, providers can charge extra when you convert one currency into another. This is an addition to the foreign transaction fee you might already be paying.

Meanwhile, if a retailer offers to bill your credit card in sterling, dynamic currency conversion will also come into effect. Dynamic currency conversion includes an immediate conversion of the local currency into your home currency. Though convenient, this will give you a worse exchange rate than paying in local currency – so be sure to avoid this when given the choice.

Cash advance fees

A cash advance fee is charged if you use your credit card to withdraw cash via an ATM. The APR for cash advances tends to be higher than your purchase rate and interest will begin to accumulate immediately without the common ’55 days interest-free’ period. So be sure to check out some cards best suited for overseas spending, which might waive this fee.

The table below serves as an example of how much extra you may pay to use your credit card in Bali.

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Additionally you can get an idea of costs by using these online currency conversion tools from Mastercard and Visa.

Cash machines in Bali

In Bali, cash is often preferred – especially when going to small marketplaces where you may end up haggling. Taxis in Bali also often only take cash.

ATMs are common around Bali and readily accept Visa and Mastercard credit cards. The best tend to be part of major bank branches. The most popular banks in Bali include BNI, BCA, BRI and Bank Mandiri.

ATM withdrawal limits are set by the bank, but will generally be between Rp 2,000,000 and Rp 2,500,000 (£130 maximum).

Is it safe to use my card in Bali?

As long as you remain careful when using your credit card in Bali, you can have a relatively trouble-free time.

Be sure to:

  • Avoid street money exchangers. These will often give you higher exchange rates. Instead, aim to go to a credible money exchange institution.
  • Be aware of card skimming. Card skimmers can steal your credit card number if they’re installed in an ATM. You can spot these if the card slot doesn’t feel as smooth as it should be or if there’s a problem with the keypad.
  • Use ATMs in public areas. In many busy areas, security guards will provide an extra layer of safety.
  • Protect your PIN. While using your card, shield your screen from view.
  • Carry a backup card or cash. Having backup cash or a different card to hand could keep you out of a sticky situation.

How to prepare before travelling to Bali

  1. Research potential fees. Look at what your bank or credit card provider might charge you abroad. Again consider getting a card that has no foreign transaction fees.
  2. Let your bank know. If your bank or card provider detects unusual activity, it may deactivate your credit card. This could include unexpected overseas transactions, so be sure to let your bank know about your travel plans.
  3. Bring some cash just in case. Marketplaces in Bali often only take cash, so it’s best to always have some money with you.
  4. Go with Visa or Mastercard. These are the most commonly accepted credit cards in Bali. A backup card may also be of some use as an extra layer of security. For some extra perks look for cards with airport lounge access or those that are designed for frequent flyers.
  5. Avoid exchanging money with money changers on the street. Don’t be drawn into thinking you can get a better deal down side streets or back alleys. Try to pick a popular money changer with a direct frontage to a main street to minimise your risk.

Bottom line

In Indonesia, card payments can be made in most shops and restaurants. However, it’s always best to carry some cash on you in Bali’s busy markets or smaller towns. Before you go, it’s also important to understand any overseas transaction fees your card issuer might charge you and remain vigilant when using ATMs.

How to use a credit card in …

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