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Banking in Indonesia could be an exercise in patience for expats, but once getting used to how things are done in the country it will become easier to navigate the financial side of life in Indonesia.
Money in Indonesia
The official currency in Indonesia is the rupiah (IDR), which is divided into 100 sen. Locals may use the word perak when referring to their currency.
Notes: 1,000 IDR; 2,000 IDR; 5,000 IDR; 10,000 IDR; 20,000 IDR; 50,000 IDR and 100,000 IDR.
Coins: from 50 IDR to 1,000 IDR, but inflation has rendered all coins and banknotes denominated in sen obsolete
Banking in Indonesia
There are plenty of banks for expats to choose from in Indonesia, both local and foreign. Expats will be able to choose whether they would like to open an account in rupiah or in US dollars. Some other foreign currencies are also provided for. Savings accounts, chequing accounts, foreign exchange, debit cards and credit cards are all available in the country.
Some expats choose to keep their existing account in their home country or to open an account in Singapore. Expats who do this will have to ask their employer to transfer their salary into their offshore account and then ask to receive some of their salary in rupiah for cash purchases in Indonesia.
Most of the staff at international banks in Indonesia will be able to speak English.
Opening a bank account
Although the general requirements may differ from bank to bank, in order to open a bank account in Indonesia, expats will usually need to provide the following:
Letter of reference from their employer
Passport and a copy
Indonesian ID card
Indonesian tax number
The Indonesian ID card is called a KITAS (Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas). All expats must have this card to open a bank account. If wanting to open an account with US dollars, a minimum deposit is usually required.
Expats should be sure to explicitly state that they want the English option when opening a bank account. Otherwise, the account will be opened in Indonesian. It is also wise to ask the bank for international banking codes if wanting to receive money from overseas.
ATMs and credit cards
ATMs can be found in most shopping centres, bank branches and tourist areas in Indonesia. Expats can withdraw cash in Indonesia using any major international credit or debit card.
It shouldn’t be a problem for an expat to get a credit card in Indonesia. The applicant needs to be over 21 years old and there will be a minimum monthly income required. The credit card limit will usually be set at three times the monthly income of the applicant.
Taxes in Indonesia
Residents of Indonesia are taxed on their worldwide income while non-residents are only taxed on their Indonesian income. Expats who stay in Indonesia for more than 183 days in a 12-month period will become tax residents of Indonesia.
When expats register as a taxpayer they will receive a tax number known as a Nomor Pendaftaran Wajib Pajak (NPWP). It is illegal not to have an NPWP and the punishment could mean imprisonment. It proves that expats are living and working legally in Indonesia.
Employers are responsible for deducting tax off their employees' salaries but it is the individual employee’s responsibility to register as a taxpayer and file their tax returns.
Income tax rates in Indonesia range from five to 40 percent, depending on an individual's income. If expats have dependent partners or children they may be entitled to tax deductions.