Travelling to Indonesia? Learn about the best way to take your money with you.
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. Whilst no 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.
Compare travel cards for Indonesia
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.
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 option||Pros||Considerations|
|Debit cards for travel||
|Prepaid travel money cards||
|Credit cards for travel||
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)||Midrange||Luxury (High-end)|
|Simple rooms less than £15||Double rooms with air-con and wi-fi
|Ayana Bali resort
|Cheap street meals
|Average full meal £1.5-3||Western food £7|
|Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park £5.23||Mt. Batur hike £24-40||2 Day All-Inclusive Orangutan Trek in Bukit Lawang £60|
*Prices are approximate and are subject to change.
Exchange rate history (GBP to IDR)
|Year||Average annual exchange British Pound (GBP) to Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)|
How the different travel money products work in Indonesia
Using prepaid travel cards
If you’re looking at taking a travel money card to Indonesia, think again. There are no travel money cards on the market that allow you to load and spend in Indonesian rupiah. Having said that, there are a couple of travel cards which may be suitable to take to Indonesia, including the Travelex Prepaid Card. One drawback, however, is that you will face a 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 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.
Taking a debit card in 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 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.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:
Find cash and ATMs in Indonesia
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.Back to top
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Indonesia has become a favourite for UK holidaymakers. Bali is an especially popular spot for Aussies, so language will certainly not be an issue. Do your research and save on paying unnecessary fees to your bank.