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I am an Indian citizen travelling to Indonesia in a couple of days. This is the first time ever I am travelling out of the country. I am confused about how currency exchanges work across borders.

Will I be able to convert Indian rupees to Indonesian rupiah at the airport on my arrival? Or should I convert Indian rupees to USD first and then to Indonesian rupiah?

Can I use my visa platinum debit card for payments?

Thanks in advance.

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    Can you withdraw money abroad with your Visa card? This would be the best solution: the exchange rate would be better. There are some ATMs in the arrival hall, near the luggage belts, in Jakarta airport, that accept foreign cards. – user67108 Oct 2 '17 at 10:22
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You likely can use your Visa debit card in foreign countries, but you should call your bank (or use their website) to notify them that you will be using it in other countries. Otherwise they may automatically block it.

You can also use an Indian ATM card in Indonesia, if it supports a compatible network (look at the card for icons on the back like "Plus" or "Maestro"). But only some ATMs support some networks, so this may be a hassle.

Or you could bring Indian currency directly to Indonesia and change it at a money changer in any city (during business hours only). This will probably get you a better rate than changing to USD at home then from USD to Indonesian currency in Indonesia.

If the amount is less than 1 lakh, it is probably not worth thinking too hard about what is the most efficient way, and just use the most convenient.

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Leave your Indian rupees at home; if you must - you can exchange them for Indonesian currency at your departure airport.

The easiest, most convenient and secured way:

  1. Pay directly with your card, if the merchant accepts it. Note that some merchants might try to charge you an extra fee for using a credit card (this is not allowed - many businesses assume customers don't know). Insist on paying the actual price. If they charge you extra, keep the receipt and complain directly to your bank. If the merchant asks do you want to be billed in Indonesian rupees or any other currency, select indonesian rupees.

  2. Withdraw cash from an ATM using your card. If the ATM offers to convert the amount to your local currency, say No (this is the same trick as the point of sale it is also sometimes called DCC) your bank will give you a better rate. Keep in mind each time you withdraw you will be paying fees; so withdraw the maximum amount you would need on each transaction.

  • True, but I think it's good to always arrive with some cash (that's usable/changeable at the destination), at least enough for the first day's expenses, in case there's trouble with the card. – ugoren Oct 3 '17 at 9:06
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Do NOT bring USD to Indonesia. For whatever reason, money changers accept this currency only if your bill are in perfect condition. By perfect, I mean like you've just printed them hours ago.

Buy Euro, Malaysian Ringgit or Singapore dollar if you have good price in India.

I am not sure if Indian Rupee are easy to change. Most likely, it is.

Your Visa card will also work. But Indonesia ATM are annoying as you can only retrieve 1 million IDR (80 USD) at a time. And you have to pay bank fees each time.

  • Indonesian ATMs that dispense Rp 100k notes let you withdraw 2.5 million at a time. Also, you're exaggerating a bit re: USD: while Indonesian moneychangers don't like torn or marked bills, I haven't had any trouble exchanging "normal", reasonably clean notes. Indian rupees, on the other hand, are technically not convertible overseas and exchange rates tend to be really bad. ATMs are really the best way to go. – jpatokal Oct 3 '17 at 4:33
  • With 1 million IDR you can eat and drink for a month...I wouldn't call it annoying... – motoDrizzt Oct 3 '17 at 5:55

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