Travel Money Guide: Indonesia

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.

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 I.D. 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)MidrangeLuxury (High-end)
to-sleepSimple rooms less than £15Double rooms with air-con and wi-fi
around £25-50
Ayana Bali resort
mealfortwoCheap street meals
from £1
Average full meal £1.5-3Western food £7
cameraBromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park £5.23Mt. 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)
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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 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.

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.

Compare travel money services

Name Product Can you get cash? Do you get a free card? Can you load money on an app?
WeSwap has everything you need when it comes to travel money. It offers a debit card and app, or if you prefer cash you can get that too. Signing up takes a few minutes and the card arrives in 3-5 days.
Starling Bank
Starling offers a debit card and app (you can't get travel cash). Starling charges zero fees for spending abroad and the app enables you to lock the card if you lose it while you're on holiday. Also doubles up as a UK current account.
Caxton's currency card allows you to hold multiple currencies in one place. You can use it worldwide and won't be charged any ATM fees. All of that can be controlled from the Caxton app.
Ziglu Debit Card
Instantly move money from your Ziglu sterling cash account into your euro account, at a great exchange rate and with zero commission.
No 1. Currency
No. 1 Currency allows you to get travel cash delivered straight to your door, or you can pick it up in store. You can also sell leftover cash back to No.1 Currency.
Currensea allows you to link your travel money card to your everyday bank account. Get your card now and control all your spendings with the Currensea app.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Foreign ATM withdrawals Foreign transactions fee Card cost Delivery speed
Starling Bank
No fees
Between 3-5 working days
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
Withdrawals of £200/$200/€200 or more – free
smaller withdrawals – a charge of £1.50 per withdrawal

No transaction fees (if you spend in one of the 18 wallet currencies)
Between 3-5 working days in the UK, or within 10 days if you live outside the UK
Cashplus Account
£3 with current accounts. No ATM fees with traveller card.
No fees
Between 3-5 working days
Current account and Mastercard - all managed from your phone. Also comes with a creditbuilder option.
Free (up to 10 withdrawals monthly)
No fees
Within 10 workings days

Compare up to 4 providers

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

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.

You might also like:

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.

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.

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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!

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 11, 2018Staff

      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!


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