Best Ways to Take Money to Bali in 2024
Bali is an idyllic tourist destination, with beautiful beaches and a fun party scene - as well as unique culture, places to relax, and great food. As part of Indonesia, the official currency in Bali is Indonesian rupiah - and while Bali on a budget is perfectly possible, you’ll still need easy ways to get your hands on some rupiah to pay for things while you’re there.
This guide walks through 4 of the most popular ways to take money from Canada to Bali, including their benefits and drawbacks, to help you pick the right one for you.
Best ways to take money to Bali
The best way to take money to Bali will depend on your specific needs and personal preferences. This guide walks through the pros and cons of the following choices, to help you decide which option will work for you:
Prepaid travel cards to use in Bali
Ideal for: easy ways to hold an IDR balance, to withdraw and spend Indonesian rupiah on arrival, with low fees and good exchange rates
You can pick up a prepaid travel card online, and have it delivered right to your door. Once you have a card in your hand you’ll need to add money in CAD for spending or withdrawal later. Depending on the card you pick you might be able to convert your balance to IDR in advance so you can lock in the exchange rate - or you might prefer to leave your money in dollars and let the card convert for you when you transact.
Prepaid travel cards come with a digital multi-currency account you can use to hold a selection of currencies, as well as Indonesian rupiah. This means you can use the card again conveniently after your trip to Bali - plus, if you pick a card which has a low or no ATM withdrawal fee, you’ll be able to get your hands on cash in Bali from an ATM, as and when you need it. Some prepaid travel cards also have extra features like ways to send and receive international payments.
Wise - our pick for prepaid travel card for Bali
|Wise card pros
|Wise card cons
✅ Currency exchange uses the mid-market rate
✅ No foreign transaction fees apply
✅ Free to hold and spend 40+ currencies
✅ Receive payments to your Wise account in a selection of global currencies
✅ No minimum balance or ongoing fees
❌ It can take up to 14 days for your physical card to arrive by mail
❌ Free ATM withdrawals are limited to 2 per month, to the value of 350 CAD. Fees of 1.75% + 1.5 CAD after that
❌ 10 CAD fee to receive payments to Wise in CAD, via SWIFT
Pros and cons of taking money to Bali with a prepaid travel card
Hold and spend IDR and make cash withdrawals at local ATMs to get your rupiah travel money
Not connected to your normal bank account which is good for security
Currency exchange may have better rates than a bank will offer
If you choose a card with no ongoing charges you can use it again easily for your next trip overseas
Exchange rates may include a markup on the mid-market rate
ATM fees may apply, depending on the card you pick
Some cards won’t support IDR for holding and exchange, and may charge a fee if you spend in an unsupported currency
Travel debit cards to use in Bali
Ideal for: saving and budgeting for your trip, and spending once you’re away with an account and card that is not linked to your main CAD account
While travel debit cards available in Canada do often offer the option to hold a multi-currency balance, IDR isn’t commonly supported for holding. You’ll still be able to use a card to spend and make cash withdrawals in Bali, but some fees could apply depending on the card you pick.
Despite the potential costs there are a couple of great reasons a travel debit card might suit you. It’s an easy way to keep your travel budget apart from your primary CAD account, and it’s good for security too. Spend and make withdrawals as usual, and if you’re unlucky and your travel card was stolen or lost, you can cancel it without needing to replace your normal CAD bank card.
We’ll go into more detail about our top pick for a travel debit card - the Canada Post Cash Passport - next. You can also learn more about the best travel debit cards in Canada here.
Canada Post Cash Passport - our pick for travel debit card for Bali
With this card:
Get your card conveniently online or in a Canada Post location
Load any of up to 7 major foreign currencies, IDR is not supported for holding a balance
No fee to spend a currency you hold in your account
Lock in exchange rates in advance of travel
Free secondary card in case your first is lost or stolen
|Canada Post Cash Passport card pros
|Canada Post Cash Passport card cons
✅Hold 7 major currencies in your account
✅No extra fee to spend a currency you hold
✅Issued on the Mastercard network for global acceptance
✅Contactless payments or Chip and PIN options
✅24/7 global assistance if you lose your card
❌15 CAD fee to get your first card
❌3.25% fee if you spend in IDR or another currency you don’t hold in your account
❌Top up and cash out fees may also apply
Pros and cons of taking money to Bali with a travel debit card
Having a travel debit card is a handy back up in case your preferred payment method isn’t available
It’s a simple way to keep your travel money separately to your main bank account while saving
Some cards can be picked up instantly in person with no need to wait for delivery
No restrictive eligibility rules, interest or penalty fees
IDR may not be supported for holding a balance, which means you may pay fees when you spend in Bali
You may pay a fee when converting from one currency to another, which can be rolled up in the exchange rate you get
Some cards have card order or closure costs associated
Taking cash in Bali
Ideal for: many day to day and low value purchases - cash still very commonly used in Bali
Cash is still a popular payment method in Bali. In resorts, chain stores and large hotels or restaurants you may be able to make a card payment, but it’s not something to rely on. Because many places prefer cash, you’ll definitely need some rupiah in cash for times your card can’t be used.
If you’re organised you can order IDR travel money in advance from a service like Canada Post to get it delivered to your home. Or for a more last minute option you can just carry cash in CAD and exchange it with a money changer on arrival. Bear in mind the exchange rates you get in hotels are likely to be pretty poor, so you’ll need to shop around to get a good deal.
As an alternative - and to save time on arrival - it’s very easy to make ATM withdrawals once you’re there, instead. If you use a prepaid travel card from a provider like Wise you might also find you get some fee free withdrawals and a great exchange rate.
Do I need cash in Bali?
Yes. Cash is very commonly the preferred payment method for transactions in Bali so you’ll need to have some IDR with you at all times, ideally including some smaller notes for low value purchases.
The easiest option is usually to get your travel cash as and when you need it by making ATM withdrawals on arrival. Choose a prepaid card or travel debit card and you may also find you benefit from low or no fees and a strong exchange rate.
How to buy Indonesian rupiah on arrival in Bali?
If you’re going to be sticking to busier tourist areas you can also exchange some Canadian dollars to IDR with money changers on arrival in Bali. However, not all exchange services will accept CAD, and because rates can vary widely you’ll need to shop around to get a good deal.
How to buy Indonesian rupiah in Canada?
You can buy Indonesian rupiah in cash in Canada before you travel if you want to make sure you have some in your pocket when you arrive. Canada Post has partnered with CIBC to offer foreign cash for collection or home delivery, or there are individual currency exchange stores in all major urban centres. Fees and exchange rate markups may apply.
Best place to get Indonesian rupiah from
There’s no single best place to get your travel cash. Providers pick their own rates and fees, which can vary widely. Shopping around is essential - remember to look at both any upfront cost and the exchange rate being offered, as there’s often an extra charge tucked away in the rate a provider uses for retail customers.
Pros and cons of taking cash to Bali
Cash is pretty much essential in Bali for many purchases outside of larger hotels, stores and restaurants
Carrying cash is a good back up for the times your card can’t be used
Make ATM withdrawals when you need to and you won’t have to carry large amounts of cash at any one time
Carrying a lot of cash isn't particularly safe
You’ll usually waste time during your break if you’re having to compare costs to get a good deal
Exchange rates vary widely and usually include a markup - an extra fee
Travel credit cards to use in Bali
Ideal for: secure spending in IDR with bonus rewards and features, and ways to spread out the cost of your trip over a few months
Travel credit cards are secure and convenient to use in Bali, wherever card payments are accepted. They also offer specific features aimed at international travellers, like low or no foreign transaction fees, complimentary travel insurance or extra rewards when you spend overseas. One other big benefit of having a credit card with you when you travel is that you may be asked for one as a payment guarantee when hiring a car or checking into a hotel.
It’s important to remember that pretty much all credit cards have some fixed or variable costs to consider, which can include annual fees, interest, and penalties if you’re late settling your bill. Cash advance charges are also pretty high, so avoiding using your card in an ATM is a smart plan. You’ll need to weigh up all the potential benefits and costs to see whether using a credit card abroad is right for your specific needs.
Learn about our top pick - the HSBC World Elite Mastercard - next.
HSBC World Elite Mastercard - our pick for travel credit card
With this card:
Spend internationally with no foreign transaction fee
Variable interest rate based on purchase type and personal circumstances
Add extra cardholders to your account for free
Lots of extras and travel benefits offered
24/7 support of you’re a victim of theft or fraud
|HSBC World Elite Mastercard pros
|HSBC World Elite Mastercard cons
✅ No foreign transaction fee
✅ Up to 4 supplementary users on each account with no extra annual charge
✅ 24 hour worldwide assistance to get cash to you if your card is stolen
✅ Some complimentary insurance offered
✅ Options to earn rewards, including enhanced benefits for travel spending
❌ Interest and penalty fees may apply depending on how you use your card
❌ Annual fee of 149 CAD
❌ ATM withdrawals come with fees and a higher rate of interest compared to purchases
Pros and cons of travel credit cards to Bali
Get travel rewards, discounts and perks when you spend overseas
You can spread the costs of your trip out over a few months
Some cards have low or no foreign transaction fees
Use as a payment guarantee in hotels and when renting a car
Interest and fees usually apply if you don’t pay back your bill immediately
Cash advance and interest costs apply when using an ATM
Eligibility rules apply
Travel requirements from Canada to Bali
If you’re going to Bali as a tourist, you’ll need a visa, which you can either get in advance online or on arrival at some popular entry points. You can’t get a visa on arrival at all entry points to Indonesia - so do double check if this is an option based on your specific itinerary.
As well as a visa, your passport must be valid for 6 months after the point you enter Bali, with a blank page for your entry stamp. You’ll also need proof of onward travel or a return flight to Canada or you may be turned back at immigration.
Check the Canadian government’s travel advisory page to learn more and to get detailed information for your specific destination.
Does Bali accept Canadian dollars?
No. You won’t be able to spend CAD anywhere in Bali. If you’re carrying Canadian dollars with you you'll need to exchange them for Indonesian rupiah when you arrive.
Best currency to take to Bali
You’ll only be able to spend in Indonesian rupiah in Bali. While you can carry cash in CAD and convert it on arrival, or get some rupiah in cash before you leave, for many travellers using a specialised travel card for cash withdrawals as and when you need them is the easiest solution.
Top travel money tips to Bali
Here are a few final tips to help your money go further while you’re away:
Have several different payment methods in case one isn't accepted wherever you are
Get a travel money card before you leave to make it easier and cheaper to spend and withdraw in Bali
Use the handy Exiap guides to learn more about currency exchange, travel cards, and more
How much money do I need per day in Bali?
Bali offers great travel options for all budgets. While you can splash out on top end luxury, it’s also popular with backpackers and people trying to cut the costs of day to day life. Generally, you’ll find food and attractions are pretty cheap, and there are plenty of different accommodation options to suit all budgets.
In Bali on average you’ll find a 3 course lunch for 2 will set you back in the region of 30 CAD, but bear in mind that around popular tourist destinations you may pay more. A cheap meal can be picked up for as little as 3 dollars.
Do some detailed research to see how much things are likely to cost based on your plans and where you’re headed, so you can plan your budget. Get more detailed cost information by country and city, from Numbeo.com.
How much does it cost to fly from Canada to Bali?
At the time of writing (November 2023), the cheapest flights from Canada to Bali start from around 1,300 CAD per person return. Don’t forget that your journey will include one or more stops and layovers which increase journey time to 24 hours or more in total.
You’ll need Indonesian rupiah to pay for things during your trip. Having several different ways to pay is usually a good bet, just in case one option isn’t accepted by a merchant or hotel.
A good solution for many people could be to get a travel card - such as a prepaid travel card from Wise or a Canada Post Cash Passport - and to carry that as well as your regular debit or credit card as a back up. You can then use your travel card to make ATM withdrawals on arrival to get rupiah in cash. Plus if you pick the Wise card you can hold a balance in IDR so you can lock in your exchange rate and set your budget in advance.
Use this guide to decide which option to take money to Bali will work best for you, based on your own preferences and needs.
Should I exchange money before I travel to Bali?
While you can switch Canadian dollars for IDR before you travel, it’s actually very easy to just make a cash withdrawal at an ATM on arrival in Bali. This can also be cheap, and may get you a better exchange rate compared to exchanging in advance, particularly if you have a travel card from a provider like Wise.
Can I withdraw Indonesian rupiah from a local ATM?
You can’t withdraw Indonesian rupiah at a normal ATM in Canada. However, you can get a travel card to make an ATM withdrawal on arrival in Bali, which will often mean you pay less compared to using your bank card.
Are prepaid travel cards a good way to take money to Bali?
Travel prepaid cards from services like Wise are a safe way to spend when abroad. With Wise you’ll also get mid-market exchange rates and low, transparent fees which can bring down the costs of your trip.
Can I use cash in Bali?
Yes. In many cases, cash will be the only option for making payments in Bali. In general, making sure you always have some cash in Indonesian rupiah, and a travel card for spending or getting cash from an ATM, is a good choice so you have a back up plan if you ever need it.