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Friday, 20 May 2016

Money Matters including:Rupiah, Access to your money while in Indonesia and TRS

Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) and access to your money in Indonesia

It is most import to be organised well before you set sail off to Indonesia. As with most things in life everyone approaches tasks differently and everyone has a different opinion. We both like to keep things simple. The added advantage of Bruce having worked in Asia for over 20 years in lots of different countries has given him the confidence to know what to do. The following is what we did.
  1. We have internet access to our funds
  2. We carry a Master Card/Credit card
  3. We carry a Visa card/debit card
Having internet access is crucial we feel so we can move funds around from account to account and still deal with our bills even though we are not in Australia.

The Master Card is credit only.

The Visa debit card gives you access to your nominated account (per arranged with the bank) it is not credit. It access available funds only.

A few important things to remember. 
  • The Master Card must have the word CIRRUS on it. Cirrus enables the card to be used world wide. A more informative explain can be found here.
  • The Visa Card must be on the Visa PLUS ATM network so it can be used outside of Australia
  • You MUST advise your bank that you are travelling overseas otherwise they will halt all access to your funds as they will think any/all transactions are fraudulent.
  • You will be charged fees every single time you access your own money and its worth asking the bank about these charges so you understand how much. The bank may be able to inform you of a more cost effective way to cut down on charges.Be clear on how much you can withdraw at a time in Indonesia as nearly every ATM will have a cap on how much you can withdraw and how often (eg. could be equivalent to AU$150, twice a day with a fee of AU$7 each time).
  • Photocopy your cards (front and back) and put the photocopy away for safe keeping. If you loose your cards this piece of paper is incredibly handy.
  • Before you leave your country of residence, write the International phone number for reporting lost cards next to each card - not the 1800 number that is usually associated with credit/debit cards.  
  • As good practice write down the international number for all your cards - photo copy them all and write the phone contact and email contact.


Seasoned travelers have given us a few handy hints while travelling overseas:  
  • Only carry the cards you really need.  
  • Ask your bank to un-link your credit / debit cards.  That way if one is stolen the other card will work. Once you cancel a joint credit card, both are canceled if they are linked together.
  • Take ample Rupiah (cash) when sailing to Indonesia, there may not be many working ATM's where you are expecting them, they may run out of cash due to the amount of boats on the rally all withdrawing cash and most purchases are completed with cash eg. market shopping.
  • Remember though ATM's are available in Indonesia, it just may mean you need to hire a taxi to take you to one
  • Take some US$'s
  • Take some AU$'s
  • Leave an old wallet with a few bogus/old (to us) cards and a few Rupiah in it. that way if your broken into they will grab the decoy wallet first then run.


International Bank Fees

There is a lot of information regarding fees that your financial institution will charge you while you are overseas. Fees mainly comprise of:
  1. ATM fees
  2. Foreign transaction fees
  3. Credit card fees (while a broad)
  4. Exchange fees
Sometimes there are even fees on top of fees, all for the privilege of accessing your own hard earned holiday savings. It can be very overwhelming indeed trying to get your head around the best way to avoid fees.

With regards to avoiding high exchange fees keep these tips in mind:
  • Don't use ATM's in hotels, hostels, 7/11's etc they have higher rates of exchange
  • Don't use airport ATM's they have very high exchange rates
  • Don't use money exchange offices - they also charge you a commission on top of their out outrageous exchange rates
  • Do try to only use ATM's that are attached to a bank.
I believe that the best option is to source an Australian bank or Financial institution that has Global access. Westpac and Citibank were the only two banks at the time of writing this section of our blog (May 2016) that were global and had global ATM's.

Be careful not to confuse your credit card (eg. Master Card) with your visa debt card. If you are over 50 years of age you maybe able to gain some benefits with regards to fee wavering. If you are over 50 and retired, you will find getting a credit card difficult due to have little to limited income. The best option is to inform yourself and the best way to do that is go into your local branch and talk to someone.

Note the Rupiah is identified as IDR.

A handy tip we were given was when working with the cash remove the last 4 zeros as a rough guide as to how much you are working with. 






Goods and Services Tax - GST & Tourist Refund Scheme - TRS.

Understanding GST is complex and best left to our accountants the poor things! But what is worth understanding is how the GST rebate works when you leave Australia. This is referred to as the TRS - Tourist Refund Scheme.

Read up on TRS here so you can inform yourself and to find the link to for the application form.

Here are few tips to note:
  1. you can claim 10% back on good purchased 60 days prior to your departure date
  2. you have to of made the purchase and be taking it out of the country
  3. the claim is for AU$300+. Hint here, if you are planing on buying several items from say a chandlery, have the chandlery do up an account for you so you can pay for all your purchases at the end ensuring your account is $300+
  4. you must be able to show the original tax invoice with the companies name, address and IBN number
  5. you can not claim on food
  6. you cannot claim on beer, spirits or tobacco
  7. read up on what you may have to pay back when you re enter Australia










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