Changing cash vs. using ATMs in Bali
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jun 29, 2013 11:06 AM Last Post By: sarahmck
Jun 25, 2013 11:57 PM
Changing cash vs. using ATMs in BaliIt's not totally clear to me what the situation is with money in Bali. I've read that you have to bring dollars or euros to change. Why is that? Why can't you use cash machines? Are they simply thin on the ground or is there more to it? I'm not sure how much we'll need to bring. Aside from our accommodation, which is either already paid for or will be payable with CC or I know exactly how much cash I'll need, how much cash can I expect to need? We'll be there for 5 weeks, two adults and three little kids. I know needs vary, but some sort of guideline would be super helpful. Thanks!
Jun 26, 2013 1:43 AM
1You can use either, but if you use ATM's you will likely pay a fee of a few dollars to use it out of country. Bali has many ATM's, don't worry.
Many people like to use money changers so they can look for the best exchange rates, or bypass having to use the ATM machines.
There is no way you will know exactly how much cash you will need. That's like me asking you how much I will spend at the grocery store tomorrow... Entirely depends on what your style of travel is, what kind of food you eat, how much shopping or souvenirs you will buy, do you need nannies, etc etc.
Just to let you know, if you come in on a tourist visa on arrival, you get 30 days. So you will have to either renew your visa at immigration or pay the rp 200,000 per day penalty for overstaying.
Jun 26, 2013 4:26 AM
2You can use cash machines. I prefer using an ATM over money changers so that I'm not running the gauntlet of being so careful not to be ripped off.
Just take note that the ATMs don't always dispense more than about $200 USD at a time. The limits are posted at the machines.
The fees can add up, but I still prefer them over con money changers.
Jun 26, 2013 5:19 AM
3Thanks. So when you say that ATMs only dispense about $200 at a time, I assume you mean that amount in Rupiah, right? So the only downside to using ATMs is the same one that you have anywhere else that you travel to, namely the few dollars of transaction fees for the currency conversion? It's strange, because travel books don't advise bringing cash and changing it in "first world" countries. So what's the difference? Anyway, I guess we'll just bring a few hundred euros, just in case, and rely on ATMs for the rest, unless anyone else wants to chime in with other considerations!
Thanks for the warning about the visa length; we've already arranged 60-day visas.
Jun 26, 2013 9:00 AM
4Some cash machines dispense as little as Rp 1,250,000 max (roughly $125); others up to 3 million. You will need to ask your bank what it will charge you for using them.
Dinner in a nice restaurant (outside of the credit-card world) could run $10 a person. A car with driver (driver pays the gas) is approx $30 - $40 a day, depending on your bargaining power, distances and tipping inclination.
Jun 26, 2013 8:29 PM
Jun 28, 2013 7:19 PM
6I always use the ATM when travelling to Bali and Flores. This month exchange rate is 1.500.000rp for 115 euro. This is close to a rate of 13.000. The one or 2 euro's bank charge per transaction you pay during a 3 week holiday totals/adds up to a meal in a restaurant in Amsterdam. Why bother with the hassle or wasting time for the good rate in the warm sun?
I found out that Danamon ATM does not work for my European bank card. Last year I had no problem with Danamon ATM. BNI's ATM was OK. The maximum I got out of an ATM is 3 juta per day. But if I used my credit card I could withdraw 3x1,5 juta. I did not try 4x as I did not need that much money in my pocket.
Another warning from experience is that most European card are blocked fot use outside of Europe or the US. It is a new security measure implemented this year. So you have to unblock your debet card before you leave for your destination. Luckily I travelled with my bank token and could unblock the card via my bank website. But it takes one day to be effective again. I met a german tourist in Flores who had the same problem but did not have a bank token. Also he did not know the pincode of his credit card. So he had a 'little' problem. The hotel uses a credit card machine requiring a pin code. Luckily he had some cash and it was his last week in Indonesia, I forgot to mention to him that he could have asked the staff to pay with the credit card using the passport. The staff should also have known this and forgot too.
Jun 29, 2013 11:06 AM
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