ATMs in Indonesia
ATMs are available in shopping centres, rural banks, office areas and in all cities. Lots of people prefer to do as much of their banking as possible at ATMs and online to avoid the long queues in banks.
US$ cash withdrawals are available at Citibank ATMs. If you have a US$ account with another bank you can withdraw money from your account but it is dispensed in rupiah. Many people take advantage of the other services offered by ATMs such as paying bills and topping up mobile phones. This may account for the long queues often seen at ATMs.
Before opening a bank account you might want to check if they are affiliated with the major ATM network, Prima. This will allow you to take money out of most ATMs in Indonesia without additional charges.
As with all ATMs wherever you are, take special care when withdrawing large amounts of cash. Use machine in well-lit areas and put your money securely away before you walk away from the cash machine.
At times it can be difficult to get a credit card as an expat because often both local and national banks require a deposit on the credit card. This can sometimes be as much as 80-100% of the credit available on the card.
It has been reported that occasionally expat applications for credit cards are met with no response and the expat never hears about the outcome. Others are told they cannot have a credit card as they are not an Indonesian citizen.
Typically banks should require a valid passport, KITAS (residency card) card and proof of your local address. A letter from your employer in Indonesia to confirm your position may help smooth the process. If you already have a credit card with another institution or have other accounts with a bank you are more likely to be approved.
Credit card fraud is very prevalent in Indonesia. Avoid paying with your credit card for purchases in stores and bars. If you do use your credit card don’t let staff take it out of your sight. Your details can be “skimmed” from your card and then used illegally. Shred receipts which usually have the full credit card number and expiry date on it to avoid identity theft.
Money changers - exchanging money
These can be found in most shopping malls and hotels as well as throughout the city. Try to bring only new, unmarked notes as many changers won’t accept used bills. If you are changing US$ money changers won’t accept notes smaller than US$50.
Banks give comparable and occasionally better rates than money changers. There is also a lower risk of getting counterfeit Indonesian notes if you use a bank to exchange your money. The drawback with banks is it may take longer at busy times of the day and their opening hours are restrictive.
Note: Be extra careful if you are given only green notes (20,000 and below). There is a trick some money changers have been known to use with folding the bills. Some people have been known to walk away with half the money they thought they had. Always count your money in front of the money changer before you leave.