Best ways to spend travel money in Indonesia and Bali: Debit and prepaid cards

Learn more about the best card to use, if you should use a UK debit card and other ways to take spending money to Indonesia.

Indonesia has been an attractive destination for UK travellers for several decades. Be it as part of a gap year, an escape to the beaches of Bali or a surf trip, Indonesia has something for most travellers.

If you’re travelling to Indonesia, you may not have given thought as to how you’re going to take your spending money with you. The places you travel in Indonesia will determine the best type of travel money to use. You shouldn’t have any issues using a credit card in the tourist hot spots like Bali, but plastic is virtually useless in remote areas like Maluku and Papua.

While only a tiny handful of travel cards in the UK allow you to preload Indonesian rupiah, travel credit cards and debit cards will allow you to access and spend your funds conveniently in Indonesia.

Low-cost travel money options for Indonesia

Best for cashback

Go to site
Enjoy rewards
  • Rewards when you spend
  • Interest when you don't
  • No fees abroad from Chase

Promoted for switching incentive

Go to site
Fee free spending & £175 switch bonus
  • Open an account in minutes
  • Tailored spend insights
  • 24/7 award-winning service

Promoted for cashback

Go to site
Up to 1% cashback
  • Avoid fees abroad without switching banks
  • Secure iOS & Android App
  • No monthly fees

Taking a debit card to Indonesia

Most debit cards on the market charge a 2–3% fee when you make a purchase outside of the UK, but it may be worth checking with your bank to see if this is the case.

Using prepaid travel cards

If you’re looking at taking a travel money card to Indonesia, do your research. There are very few decent travel money cards on the UK market that allow you to load and spend in Indonesian rupiah. The only real contender is the Wise Travel Money Card. Otherwise, there are a couple of travel cards which may be suitable to take to Indonesia, including the Travelex Prepaid Card. However, a drawback is the 5.75% currency conversion fee.

These cards should only really be considered if Indonesia is the first leg of your international holiday. The Travelex Prepaid Card offers up to 10 different international currencies and can be used all over the world. However, due to the lack of support for Indonesian rupiah, the exchange rate margin when you load the card with funds and the fee structure, there are cheaper products to use in Indonesia than a travel card.

Travel credit cards with no foreign transaction fee

A credit card can be useful when travelling overseas – especially when it comes to big-ticket items you may want to pay off over a couple of months, or hotel check-in where a deposit is required. Credit cards also give you access to emergency cash if you need it, and some credit cards have handy 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 to withdrawing cash at an ATM. Interest is charged straight away and you’ll pay a cash advance fee. You may be able to avoid this keeping a positive balance on your card — each credit card issuer has different rules for keeping a positive balance. Read the FAQs section of our travel money page for more information.

Using traveller’s cheques

Traveller’s cheques may not be as popular today as they used to be but they still offer some important advantages over other forms of travel money. When travelling to Indonesia, traveller’s cheques have the added security of needing ID to be cashed. Plus, if they get lost or stolen, they can be replaced in a few days. There will also be a fee for purchasing and cashing traveller’s cheques, so check these out too.

Travel card, credit card or debit cards?

Whether you’re on a quick business trip or taking a holiday, it’s good to have an at least a couple of ways to access your money. There are currently no travel cards which allow you to load Indonesian rupiah. Compare travel credit cards and debit cards to take to Indonesia instead.

Most digital banking apps, which are a great option owing to very low transaction and withdrawal fees, come with either a Visa or Mastercard bank card. They work as normal bank accounts do, so the “topping up” process simply consists of transferring money into the account.

Choose a mix that suits your needs: for example a debit card for regular spending with a credit card for emergencies, or Indonesian currency supplemented by a debit card. Whatever mix you decide on, you want to have enough Indonesian currency in your pockets when travelling 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 optionProsConsiderations
Debit cards for travel
  • Avoid currency conversion fees on foreign transactions
  • Emergency cash facilities
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • Currency conversion and international ATM fees
  • Can’t be used over the counter
  • No emergency cash
  • No backup cards
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Pre-load and secure your exchange rate in multiple foreign currencies
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • Local ATM fee
  • Reloading time
  • No fee – assuming cardholder is spending on a currency loaded onto the card
Credit cards for travel
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Access to funds up to your credit limit
  • Accepted worldwide
  • No currency conversion/transaction fees
  • Benefits including rewards points on spending, 0% purchases, frequent flyer perks
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Can charge high withdrawal and cash advance fees
  • Higher spending limit (depends on your approved credit limit)
Traveller’s cheques
  • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
  • Photo ID needed to cash cheques
  • Can be costly with initial purchase charges
  • Not all merchants accept traveller’s cheques
  • Greater payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More 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.

How much Rupiah do I need to bring to the Indonesia?

Budget (cheap)Mid-rangeLuxury (high-end)
to-sleepSimple rooms less than £15Double rooms with air-con and Wi-Fi
around £25–£45
Ayana Bali resort
mealfortwoCheap street meals
from £1
Average full meal £1.50–£3Western food £6
cameraBromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park £16Mt. Batur hike £24–£402-Day All-Inclusive Orangutan Trek in Bukit Lawang £60

*Prices are approximate and are subject to change.

Exchange rate history (GBP to IDR)

YearAverage annual exchange British pound (GBP) to Indonesian rupiah (IDR)

*2024 price is an average up to 18 April 2024.Back to top

A guide to Indonesian banknotes and coins

Indonesian banknotes are quite different to those we have in the UK so you may want to familiarise yourself with the notes before heading there:

Card acceptance

You will be able to use your existing ATM card in most places where merchants display the same logo as the one on your card. Mastercard and Visa have wide acceptance in Bali.

Bottom line

Choose a mix of travel money products that suits your needs. For example, if you’re going to Bali, you can readily use a debit card for regular spending with a credit card for emergencies. As a general rule, it’s probably a good idea to carry enough Indonesian cash on you to cover emergencies, supplemented by a debit card.

While prepaid travel money cards can be useful, there are very few of them that carry Indonesian rupiah.

Make sure you’re able to withdraw cash using a decent prepaid travel money card or no-fee debit or credit card you should be able to handle all eventualities.

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

More guides on Finder

2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    GillDecember 5, 2018

    I am visiting Bali soon, card scamming is massive over there. They clone and swipe it to get money without a pin – they will make 3 transactions a day – with time to process this it may be 1 day before you notice, that’s if you check your balance daily online. Not all ATM show your balance in Bali either. Is there any travel card that can be used in Bali ?? So it can’t be cloned. My son just had his cloned and they took £400 in 2 days. We think it was cloned from an indoor ATM in a supermarket, earlier this year it was from one outside a Bank! Having guards there make no difference at all!

      JoshuaDecember 11, 2018Finder

      Hi Gill,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      I’m sorry to hear about the experience of your son. It is really not a good thing to know that there are a lot of bad people trying to steal your money in Bali.

      As of now, there’s no travel card that is immune 100% to skimming. For this reason, it would be up to you to ensure that you don’t get fallen victim to these bad people. If you believe that you are a victim of a skimming device, let your bank know about it so they can immediately take action and even give back your money.

      There are a few things you can do to avoid skimming devices. First, you need to inspect the card reader and pin pad. Check if there are signs that it may have been tampered. If you suspect there’s something wrong, it would be better to use other ATMs. Choose ATMs that are closely guarded too. Finally, keep an eye on your account and be alert to any suspicious transactions.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


Go to site