Changing money in Bali is an issue that most visitors face. Money changers in Bali are easy to find – especially in the airport and around Bali’s major resort areas.
Most currency exchange businesses display street-side whiteboards listing amazing exchange rates under the usual mantras of ‘Authorised Money Changer, and ‘No Commission’. However, it’s good to know the most recommended Bali money changers around, as well as the unscrupulous kiosks it’s probably better avoiding.
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The largest value Indonesian rupiah bill is the Rp 100,000 note. It's red and features the portraits of the founding fathers, Soekarno and Hatta on one side, and the Indonesian parliament building on the other. The Rp 50,000 bill is blue, featuring Balinese hero Gusti Ngurah Rai on one side and Bali’s Ulun Danu Beratan Temple on the other. These 2 are the main banknotes you should receive when exchanging your money.
Smaller denominations are Rp 20,000, Rp 10,000, and Rp 5,000, while the smallest are Rp 2,000 and Rp 1,000. The Rp 500, Rp 200 and Rp 100 are silver coins. Banknote security features include faint watermarking, gold patches and holographic security threads. Always have or ask for a copy of the money changer’s receipt and keep it whenever you change your money in case you receive and use Indonesian rupiah notes that turn out to be counterfeit.
It’s always good to have mobile internet access on your travels in Bali, so you can check out the latest rates. Most money changers are self-titled ‘Authorised’, but you can never be so sure. Some are very small kiosks and outright dodgy, but tempt the gullible with boards listing rates too good to be true.
Where to change your money
The moment you land, you’ll find several money changers at the international arrivals of Ngurah Rai Airport offering fairly competitive rates. They are open around the clock, but you may find better rates outside the airport. It’s good to change enough for your taxi fare and the trip to your hotel. Rp 500,000 (US$40) should be more than enough.
You can then either change your money at your hotel (usually at not very competitive rates), or head out to any of these authorised and recommended money changers in Bali, some of which have branches spread throughout Bali’s popular resort areas.
PT Central Kuta
This long-established money changer has the most branches in the Kuta-Legian-Seminyak strip and is also present in Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa, Ubud, Sanur and Bali’s capital of Denpasar. The head office is on Kuta’s Sunset Road, but its busiest office is on the Jalan Raya Kuta main road.
PT Central Kuta has maintained a good reputation over the years as the go-to place for the most updated and competitive rates, no commissions, as well as good service and security.
- Opening Hours: Head office daily from 7.30am to 1am
- Location: Jalan Sunset Road No.168, Seminyak, Badung, Bali 80361
- Tel: +62 (0)361 4741 940
PT. Dirgahayu Valuta Prima
Dirgahayu Valuta Prima, otherwise known as Bali Best Rate, has been around since 1984 and has opened branches in Kuta, Sanur; Ubud and one near Tanah Lot Temple. They’ll usually ask for your valid passport or ID for each transaction at their branches.
- Opening Hours: Daily but times change according to the branch
- Location: Jalan Subita No. 21X, Denpasar, Bali 80236, Indonesia
- Tel: +62 (0)361 237 015
PT Bali Maspintjinra
Also known as BMC, this authorised money changer has been in business since 1993 and has branches in Kerobokan, Legian, Sanur and Ubud.
The main office is on Jalan Raya Seminyak, but its busiest branch is in Banjar Taman on Jalan Raya Kerobokan, which you’ll easily identify by its large roadside mural of a US dollar banknote.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 8am to 9pm
- Location: Jalan Legian No.141, Legian, Kuta, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
- Tel: +62 (0)361 730989
Changing your money
It is very common for money changers in Bali to check the quality of your bills, particularly when you’re changing US$ notes. They always accept newly issued, clean and stiff notes, while creased, torn and wrinkled notes will often be rejected. The exchange rates also usually specifically applies to US$100 notes, while smaller denominations have a different set of rates. Coins are not accepted.
Figure out the general rate versus the advertised rates. Use your calculator app to make some quick comparisons, as some scams involve rigged office calculators, though in very isolated and rare cases. Always recount your money, no matter how much time you need.