Foreign Exchange Guide to Indonesia
In this guide we review :
- Indonesian rupiah info - general info about the Indonesian rupiah
- Indonesian rupiah in the markets - recent IDR moves and predictions from the FX markets
- Travelling in Indonesia - currency & money saving tips
- Buying Indonesian rupiah cash online - travel money for Indonesia
- Sending money to Indonesia - save on Indonesian rupiah bank transfers to Indonesia
- Indonesian rupiah exchange rates - latest info & charts.
Indonesian rupiah (IDR) general currency information
The Indonesian rupiah is the world’s thirty-first most traded currency (as of 2016) and contributes to 0.2% of foreign exchange market turnover.
Having been ravaged by inflation for much of its history, the rupiah is now one of the least valuable units of currency in the world, requiring more than 13,000 of them to buy a single US dollar (as of 2017).
Officially, the rupiah is subdivided into 100 sen, although sen are not in active use in Indonesia since they are essentially worthless.
As an ‘exotic’ currency, participation in the market for rupiahs is naturally less than in the markets for more established currencies, such as euros or New Zealand dollars. For this reason, the price you will pay to change your money into or from rupiahs (the “price” being equivalent to a money changer’s buy-sell spread) will be significantly higher relative to the amount being changed than it would be for one of those other, more established currencies.
As an exotic, the rupiah is also considered riskier than currencies from major developed nations, which means that its value will fall against the FX majors (especially JPY, USD, CHF, GBP and EUR) during periods of economic uncertainty or when global geopolitical risk is elevated, or during bouts of high market volatility.
Since 1998, the rupiah’s lowest valuation against the US dollar came in June 1998 at the height of the Asian currency crisis, when USD/IDR reached 16,650. Its post-1998 high occurred in July 1999 when USD/IDR fell to 6,515.
Indonesian rupiah (IDR) in the markets
In the first eight months of 2017, the rupiah was remarkably stable against the US dollar, trading within a range equivalent to just 2.25%. The dollar ended August buying Rp.13,340.
In August, Dutch bank ABN Amro upgraded their forecasts for the rupiah. The bank now sees the dollar fetching Rp.13,400 at year-end, down from a previous estimate of Rp.13,700, and Rp.13,200 at the end of 2018, from Rp.13,300.
Against other FX majors, the rupiah remained weak. In late August, against the euro (Rp.16,095), Swiss franc (Rp.14,155) and Japanese yen (Rp.123.16), the rupiah fell to 22-month, 20-month and 9-month lows respectively. And in early September, against the Canadian dollar (Rp.10,691) it fell to a 22-month low.
Economic conditions in Indonesia are now much better than they once were and this includes a move in annual inflation back below 4% (for the year ending July-31). Over the past two decades, inflation has averaged a little more than 10% in Indonesia.
“Political and economic conditions are currently stable,” said Bank Indonesia governor Agus Matowardojohe in July.
Indonesia currency and money saving tips
The Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is the local currency, commonly also abbreviated to Rp. Tell your bank about your travel plans two weeks before you leave. Card activity in a foreign country could be mistaken for fraud and you could find your account frozen. Pack your credit card, but you'll probably only be able to use it in the more high-end hotels, shops and restaurants. Most businesses prefer to deal in cash. ATMs are common in towns and cities, and you'll have no trouble finding them in Bali. When ATMs detect a foreign card, they'll offer you the choice of instructions in English or Indonesian. Remember that you'll be charged a foreign exchange fee and a withdrawal fee for every transaction - which can add up to as much as $20. You'll have no trouble finding money changers in tourist areas. Most will exchange Australian dollars, US dollars and Euros for Indonesian Rupiah. Once you go off the beaten path, your options become more limited so you'll need to make sure you have plenty of Rupiah already on you
Unless you are a foreign national from a few select countries, you will need an Indonesian visa to enter Bali. According to Directorate General of Immigration Indonesia, citizens from a number of regions can enter Indonesia visa free for short visits of up to 30 days so be sure to check when planning your trip.
Indonesia Trip Checklist
Travel money for Indonesia
Save money and time by Ordering your Indonesian rupiah online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the IDR cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Indonesian rupiah otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Sending money to Indonesia
When sending money to Indonesia it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 3 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Indonesian rupiah amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted IDR amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Indonesia.
By comparing the rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Indonesian rupiah deposited into the recipient bank account in Indonesia and less margins and fees kept by the banks!