Even those international companies that may budget in foreign currency, now must invoice all domestic transactions in rupiah by government regulation.
For the westerners living in Indonesia meaning being a a millionaire! As per this article written, the conversion of US$73.80 is is 1 million rupiah. Therefore, make you sure you own a calculator in Indonesia, at list on your phone, you will need it!
You are going to probably deal with cash more in Indonesia than in your country. It is not that common to use personal checks for everyday transactions in Indonesia. It is also wise to note that merchants who accept international credit cards sometimes charge customers the 3% service fee, therefore, cash or debit card is considered a cheaper alternative in these cases.
The visual look of Indonesia Money
It is normal you will need to sometime to adjust yourself and get to know about new country you are in. Which you probably experience the same thing in Indones, at the first glance Indonesia money seems unfamiliar, if you’re one of those people who is just used to green and white bills, for example, the virtual rainbow of colors of the various Indonesian banknotes may come as a big surprise.
The currency in Indonesia is the rupiah, which comes from the Sanskrit word for wrought silver, rupya. Indonesian banknotes come in denominations of Rp 1000, Rp 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000, and Rp 100,000.
Coins in circulation include the Rp 1,000, Rp 500, 200, 100 and 50 coins.
It can be challenging for newly arrived expatriate to convert the price of items in rupiah to their home currency so that they can determine the “true cost” (to them) of items they want to buy.
After your arrival in Indonesia, it will take a few months of using the currency in order to feel comfortable with the value of various items and what they cost. In the early weeks this will undoubtedly cause a lot of confusion until you are “fluent” in the local currency language.
Learn the Language.
An obvious first target when learning the national language, Bahasa Indonesia, is to learn all the numbers and words that describe money and purchasing transactions.
A good pocket phrase book, like AWA’s Words and Phrases can help you learn the specific vocabulary you need for this and other subjects.
An aid such as this can help you to more quickly determine the value of an item you want to buy, or that someone is offering you.
Get an online version of a “Cheat Sheet” with current rates at Oanda, the Currency Site.
Using an online apps are very practical and an easy way to get current exchange rates.
Exchanging Indonesia Money to Foreign Currency
You can exchange foreign currency in major cities throughout the archipelago at banks and money changers. They may only deal in only 7-8 major currencies. For other currencies, you will have to order ahead. You may also have difficulties in getting small denomination bills. Not all money changers will have a large supply of the smaller denominations of currency. Most commonly carried are the US$ 50 and $100 banknotes.
If you need a large amount of foreign currency, and you don’t have a foreign currency account at your bank, it is best to order the money the day before. Local banks keep a limited amount of foreign currency in their smaller branches.
Exchange rates of Indonesian Rupiah to foreign currencies fluctuate on a daily basis. Major banks will post their daily rates at about 10:30 each morning, after they’ve received notification from the head office of the opening exchange rates. Each branch banks has to contact their main branch to get the rate of exchange for each transaction.
There may be small deviations from the posted rate in the bank, depending on how big your transaction is. Trading of foreign currency in banks usually ends at 2:30 p.m. Money changers may have more flexibility in when they’ll allow you to exchange foreign currency, but they will use the closing trading price of the that day. On the weekends you will pay a slightly higher premium, as they will hedge the opening price for the Monday slightly.
Compare exchange rates at banks and money changers that are near your place of business or home. Call around to various banks until you get a sense of which ones offer better rates, in general, than others. Be forewarned, they will all give you different rates, even on the same day. And often even different rates throughout the day, due to currency fluctuations. The worst rates are generally found in hotels.
Money changers are found in areas where foreigner tourists congregate: in malls, hotels, near concentrations of budget accommodations, and in major business districts.
A money changer may be more likely to help you locate a hard-to-find currency than a bank. You may also be able to “bargain” for a better rate at a money changer, if you have a significant amount of foreign currency that you want to buy or sell.
As with any large cash transaction, be sure to ask a security guard to escort you to your car after exchanging a significant amount of funds.
When US Dollars and other Foreign Currencies are an Investment Tool, not Simply Cash
The average traveler to Indonesia will undoubtedly be shocked when they take their perfectly good US dollars (or other major foreign currency) to a money changer or bank in Indonesia to find that the staff refuses to exchange the money into Indonesian rupiah, because of a small (or even minuscule) fold, ink mark, rip, wrinkle or imperfection of any kind. Some money changers may exchange these used bills but will “discount” the transaction (Rp 1,000 or more off for each imperfection) if the bills are imperfect in any way.
You may also find that you will be offered different rates for a US$ 50 bill vs. a US$ 100 bill in a money changer … less likely in a bank. The smaller denomination bills get a lower rate than the $100 bills. Note also that pre-1999 banknotes are NOT accepted by most banks.
If you want to use US dollars for transactions in Indonesia or want to have some on hand for emergencies, be sure that you have mint-condition, crisp, clean bills with no imperfections. And when we say mint condition, we mean mint condition US dollars are easily exchanged ONLY IF they are without any mark, fold or imperfection of any kind. You will soon find that it might be challenging to exchange used bills that have been in circulation. Hundred dollars bills are the preferred bill.
This may actually sound crazy but it is TRUE. And these are not isolated instances, but generally accepted practice. You’ll be hard pressed to be able to use the non-mint-condition bills you bring with you to Indonesia … forewarned is forearmed.
You may need to request uncirculated currency from your bank in your home country ahead of time, in order to have access to unused bills.
The difference in the spread can make a big difference in the amount you receive if you are exchanging large amounts of current. Shop around for good rates so you don’t lose in the exchange.
So now that you have a better understanding about Indonesia money, hope you are enjoying to be a millionaire in Indonesia, even though it takes some time to get familiar with Indonesia money.