The official currency of Indonesia is the Indonesia Rupiah IDR or Rp. It has a variety of notes and coins but no cents or pence. The lowest coin is 50 rupiah and the largest note 100000. Coins come in 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 denominations and notes 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, 50000 and 100000. The zeroes can take quite a bit of getting used to so be careful when handing over a 10000 and 100000 note. The colours are very similar.
ATM / cash machines can be found everywhere and will accept foreign cards. The amount dispensed by the ATM can be quite small for foreign cards, so it is best to try a few and see which bank offers the most to avoid paying addition transaction fees.
EF Indonesia will help you open a bank account with BCA. Your salary and any other payments from EF will be transferred to this account. BCA will provide you with a bank book and a debit card. Credit cards are available to foreigners, however, the bank will freeze the credit limit amount in your current account. So if you apply for a 5 million rupiah limit on your credit card, the bank will freeze 5 million rupiah in your current account. You can get internet banking from BCA and that allows you to pay bills online and book flights which is handy if you do not have a credit card. Transferring money back to your home bank account can be done electronically at any BCA branch. As of 2014 it costs Rp 50000 for a 4 working day service or Rp 80000 for next working day service.
Saving money is possible in Indonesia, how much you save will depend on the lifestyle you choose to live. If you are very frugal and do not purchase western goods then you could save most of your salary. However, this would be quite extreme. For teachers leading a moderate lifestyle, it should be possible to save 25-40% of your salary most months, if you live in EF housing. Please view our EF cost of living in Indonesia guide for more information.
More articles about living in Indonesia
- Sidoarjo city guide
- Cost of living in Indonesia
- Money, banks and saving
- Is travelling expensive?
- Are weekend breaks possible?
- What can I do outside of work?
- What about the food? Being vegetarian?
- Western women in Indonesia
- What’s the culture like?
- EF housing