Whenever you go overseas you will find the money is different and, you cannot pay using Australian money; Bali is no different. Not everything can be paid for with a credit card, so you need to use Bali currency, the Rupiah or Rp when abbreviated. Larger hotels will take credit cards, while smaller accommodation such as some Bali Villas and guesthouses do not.
Why cash is important
So make sure you have plenty of cash for the small things you will need such as drinks and snacks, transport and other things that don’t cost a lot. Many smaller boutique stores and cafes won’t be able to change a large note so it’s important to have smaller ones. Keep larger notes for purchasing high ticket items.
Don’t take travellers cheques
You may have heard that taking travellers cheques is the safest way to carry money that can be used in an overseas destination; not so in Bali. It will be difficult to cash such a cheque there. Cash and your credit/debit card are the best ways to go. And a credit card is handy for booking tours in advance when you need to pay a deposit.
You can easily change Australian currency to Rupiah at a bank, your hotel or at an official, licensed money changer. However, it is important to take care when dealing with money changers. Most are honest, but some are not, as in any country. Money changers offer the best rate of exchange and hotels usually offer the lowest. Banks are good but the queue is usually long and slow and you don’t want to waste your holiday hours waiting.
The best way to be sure you are getting the right change is to find out what the exchange rate is, but remember it varies from day to day. You should expect to be given a small document to sign; after that count your money out in front of the dealer. Never pass it back to the dealer for a recount.
While there are many ATMs in the city and most of them do accept non-local notes, not all of them work and in isolated areas there may be none, so be sure to take plenty of Rupiah with you. ATMs mostly only dispense one of the two highest Rp notes. There will be a sticker on the ATM to tell you. Your money will come out before your card, so remember to wait for it.
Before you leave for Bali check in with your bank to let them know you are going and will be using your credit card while there. Otherwise they may see it as a fraudulent transaction and block it.