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Internet Banking

I am from the UK and at present I am living in Yogyakarta.

I have tried to transfer cash through my internet account from my UK bank to BCA in Indonesia but found that that Western world banks would not deal with banks in Indonesia. Indonesia is not even listed on the country list for transfer. GCEN, the international money exchanger, have also stated that they do not deal with banks in Indonesia. I was very surprised at this and was wondering if anyone else encountered the same problem or if anyone had any information on this situation and if the Indonesian banks have any intentions of trying to get on to the list of banks acceptable to the main Western Banks. Transferring though internet account is by far the easiest and cheapest way to transfer money.

GDN

I have HSBC accounts including in the UK and Indonesia. It takes a split second to transfer from any other HSBC account to my HSBC account in Indonesia and if you have a Premier account there are no transfer fees.

If you are from the UK you should consider opening an HSBC account, it makes things very easy.

Even before I moved to Indonesia I often transferred from overseas banks to BCA and Mandiri with no problems at all.

By the way, do you have your own BCA account? I think it is worth opening an HSBC account in Indonesia first and then through them opening one in the UK. Assuming you have a KITAS.....

I have no problem making transfers from uk to both bca and mandiri ?

I've transferred from HSBC UK to BCA and BNI, but that was some while ago.
HSBC to HSBC was very easy when I last did it about a year or so ago..

"...but found that that Western world banks would not deal with banks in Indonesia."

Good grief!  What bank in the UK told you that? 

Rest assured, it's utter baloney! 

In the course of our business we regularly send and receive wires from various UK banks to our BCA account. 

Just ask the bone headed idiot who told you that to enter the BCA swift code into their computer and see what pops up:  CENAIDJA

The last time I tried to send money home from Permata they told me no because it was too difficult so I did it via BCA and no worries. The last few times I have had money from England have been farcical.

My mum once was told no by Lloyd's and then once armed with printed information from their website plus the name of the regional director who went to school with me and drank mums Gin she went back and pretty much had them shut the doors to reduce the shouting from outside. The money arrived soon after.
Another time my friend had to see a bank manager in Nat West after the cashier was concerned she was money laundering.
And finally the same bank Nat West but a different branch struggled to find Indonesia on their computer and then even had to find it on a world map and contact head office to confirm Indonesia was real (those in the know, understand Indonesia is just a big Dallas type dream) and finally money arrived.

The English banking services are the best and yes that's sarcasm.

Thankfully I don't have this happen often. Sending through credit cards by my rich friends has been easier...

I authorized an internet transfer last night from lloyds, it arrived in my mandiri account 2 hours ago , fine for me , I agree transfers the other way take a little time in my experience , a few days

It just goes to show that if you plan to live or work overseas, you'd better think ahead and open an account with a truly international bank like HSBC that have branches all over the world.

And having a Privilege or Premier account is not just about having free drinks and cookies and a personal account manager, it's about making international transfers without charges, preferential exchange rates and Fixed Deposit interest rates, free phone calls to their bank branches anywhere in the world etc. Furthermore, HSBC Indonesia require only Rp500 million in savings to maintain a Premier account. In the UK I believe it is almost double and in Malaysia it is around Rp700 million. And the penalty for being below that figure is only Rp250,000 per month in Indonesia and a lot more in other countries. You only need to maintain the minimum required amount in one country, not all of them.

Great advice if one is going to be living in Jakarta where one can find offices and ATM’s for HSBC…otherwise it’s tough for HSBC to compete with BCA’s 1,100 branches across Indonesia and their approximately 17,000 ATM machines.

BCA’s fee for a wire is 50k IDR or only about US $4.00. 

Out of curiosity, what interest rate does one earn on HSBC premium savings accounts?

They have HSBC's banks in other cities too, not just in Jakarta.

The interest rates at HSBC Premier? No idea at all. For a savings account almost nothing I would imagine, same as most banks. For Fixed Deposits though I use Mandiri. In fact I use Mandiri for most things, but I use HSBC mostly for international transfers and to have account managers in other countries to assist with currency exchanges and Rentas/T/T's for large amounts and to help uplift FD's overseas etc which I can do via Whatsapp.

A good thing about HSBC Premier (in Malaysia) is that they use to give mortgage loans of up to 60% without you having to provide a single income support document. Don't think they are so easy for that kind of thing over here.

But you know, BCA is a great bank. And, if you can use online banking to make a transfer from a UK bank such as Lloyds Bank to BCA for Rp50,000 and get the money in a day or so then that's should be enough for most people.

OK, but if you have to "tie up" 500 mil IDR in one of HSBC's premier accounts at low interest, what really is the advantage of HSBC unless one is doing lots and lots of wire transfers? 

I may well be wrong, but I don't think HSBC has an office here in Bali aside from one affiliated bank in Denpasar. 

In your neck of the woods, do the local villages have what we call here in Bali, Community Banks?  Our CB currently gives 12% annual interest on one year certificates of deposits which these days is unheard of.  They can credit that high an interest rate as they charge a premium for interest on loans. 

In any event I find banking here in Indonesia to be much better, and with much lower administration charges than back in the US.

The Rp500 million can include your foreign currencies and fixed deposits too. Mandiri offers around 7.75% on 3 month FD's last time I checked, but it might have changed. But no idea what HSBC offers as I know they never offer the best rates. Even in Malaysia I usually push fresh funds into FD's in other banks like Ambank rather than HSBC but for the moment even their rate is down a lot.

I haven't heard about community banks but I guess like many I prefer to keep my money in a large bank. I'll never forget back in the late 90's when I think it was more than 16 banks that shut down and millions lost their money. But 12% is high, so how much interest do they charge for loans?

Agree with you that banking here in Indonesia is much better than in other places. Even opening a multi-currency account back home can be very difficult. And these days, playing the currency markets is not a bad thing.

i have HSBC Premier in 3 countries. I agree that the service is really poor. The interest rates are minimal. I made it dormant now.
You can get a ton lots in other banks in Indonesia now. And better service too.

With the restrictions in place with 25.000 usd limit per month transfer, did HSBC get affected too, for global personal transfers? If it does, then the account not as useful nowadays.
For BCA you got restricted at that limit for internet transfers. You are forced to go to counter to resolve the process. 25k usd is a pittance per month. The 100k usd was not enough and now even more so.
A big hassle nowadays for paperless seamless online transfers.

@Hansson,

These small local banks are called BPR or Bank Perkreditan Rakyat (rural banks).   

Our bank charges 15 to 17% on loans depending on amount of the loan, its purpose and length of the loan.

I was here in the late 90’s and remember the financial crisis well, but our BPR did fine and nobody has yet to lose a rupiah there.  It is backed by village owned land…which in our village is better than the old gold reserves as they once applied in the US. 

Of course for expats not married to an Indonesian these BPR’s or Community Banks are of little use since foreigners aren’t allowed to use them, even with a KITAS.  Or at least that’s the rule with our bank. 

I can appreciate your point about large banks and the feeling of security that comes with them, but for us, 12% is impossible to beat, and we consider the risk to be zero considering the land assets which back it up.  But, even with that we are reluctant to put all our eggs in one basket…so like with any solid investment strategy, we diversify. 

Cheers!

Most responses seem to be confusing "internet transfer" with "telex transfer" or "wire". Telex transfer can be done but you must be in the UK and it is costly, at least £25 per transaction. I want to use my internet facility whereby I propose a payee and then send the transfer. This will only need one key press to send and the transfer should be immediate. Since it is sent via my internet bank account then it is free. I believe the list of acceptable organizations with whom the western banks will connect through the internet is common to all the western banks. Indonesian banks are not included on this list. I also found that Western Union were not able to transfer to BCA. I would appreciate your comments on the internet system transfer that can be carried out by the account holder and does not require input from the bank, except perhaps acceptance of the payee.

Ubudian :

@Hansson,

These small local banks are called BPR or Bank Perkreditan Rakyat (rural banks).   

Our bank charges 15 to 17% on loans depending on amount of the loan, its purpose and length of the loan.

I was here in the late 90’s and remember the financial crisis well, but our BPR did fine and nobody has yet to lose a rupiah there.  It is backed by village owned land…which in our village is better than the old gold reserves as they once applied in the US. 

Of course for expats not married to an Indonesian these BPR’s or Community Banks are of little use since foreigners aren’t allowed to use them, even with a KITAS.  Or at least that’s the rule with our bank. 

I can appreciate your point about large banks and the feeling of security that comes with them, but for us, 12% is impossible to beat, and we consider the risk to be zero considering the land assets which back it up.  But, even with that we are reluctant to put all our eggs in one basket…so like with any solid investment strategy, we diversify. 

Cheers!

12% is impressive. I have to admit....!

gdn47 :

Most responses seem to be confusing "internet transfer" with "telex transfer" or "wire". Telex transfer can be done but you must be in the UK and it is costly, at least £25 per transaction. I want to use my internet facility whereby I propose a payee and then send the transfer. This will only need one key press to send and the transfer should be immediate. Since it is sent via my internet bank account then it is free. I believe the list of acceptable organizations with whom the western banks will connect through the internet is common to all the western banks. Indonesian banks are not included on this list. I also found that Western Union were not able to transfer to BCA. I would appreciate your comments on the internet system transfer that can be carried out by the account holder and does not require input from the bank, except perhaps acceptance of the payee.

I bank with lloyds , I have internet banking, the cost per transfer is 9 pounds 50 p , up to a max of 15000 pounds per day , of course I can transfer to here no problem . ??

gdn47 :

Most responses seem to be confusing "internet transfer" with "telex transfer" or "wire". Telex transfer can be done but you must be in the UK and it is costly, at least £25 per transaction. I want to use my internet facility whereby I propose a payee and then send the transfer. This will only need one key press to send and the transfer should be immediate. Since it is sent via my internet bank account then it is free. I believe the list of acceptable organizations with whom the western banks will connect through the internet is common to all the western banks. Indonesian banks are not included on this list. I also found that Western Union were not able to transfer to BCA. I would appreciate your comments on the internet system transfer that can be carried out by the account holder and does not require input from the bank, except perhaps acceptance of the payee.

I think you are confusing technical details with ability of banks.

You need a SWIFT code to do international transfers from Indonesia to other global banks in the world. Once you have this Swift number, you can do internet banking and input the number and it is all done automatically, according to the correspond Swift number and bank account number.

Of course I havent done from other countries to Indonesia before. But I expect it will be the same requirements.

Yup. Transferring from overseas to Indonesia is the same, use a swift code.

I never use Western Union, I don't know about now, but they use to take a big chunk of the transferred money for themselves.

I use Transferwise. Easy to do, good rates. My bank in the US won't transfer directly here and I was using PayPal before to do transfers but Transferwise is much cheaper and easy to set up.

Hi,

I'm not sure why you're having this issue. I bank with Permata and Mandiri and money has been trasferred on several occasions from the UK and other places with no issues.

Suggest you talk to your Indo bank for further explanation
John

Hello,

Which is the better bank to do business with BCA or BNI?  I am thinking about opening an account/debit card with BNI.  Any suggestions?

I'd say BCA. The BCA has been a popular bank for ages and is used by a lot of Chinese Indonesians many of whom run businesses. It's also one of the largest banks in Indonesia, and probably the most important bank in Bali and is very familiar with international transactions. Many people bank with either Mandiri or BCA as these are both first tier banks. However, those banks which are second or third tier medium and small sized banks will offer slightly higher interest rates than BCA or Mandiri as they are not so heavily controlled by the government.

However, please note that in order to open a bank account in Indonesia you will need to first have a KITAS or similar long term visa.

When it comes to everyday banking, BCA is probably better as more places accept ATM/internet banking transfers from that bank, their Flazz card machines are very common in mini markets, and ATMs are everywhere (Except in rural areas).

BNI have a lot less ATMs in most areas, but the queues are a lot shorter, both at the machines and in the branches.

BNI will give you a debit card with a 16 digit number you can use for telephone transactions, but BCA inform me it has to be a credit card with them.

Thanks for the response Hansson//Fred. 

I was going to see if I could at least get a debit since I will be visiting a few times.  Not sure when I will have enough to for a long term visa considering I work daily.  I notice most of the locals in Bandung and Yogijarkarta talk about BNI bank.  I used BCA when I was in Bali and liked it.  Well I will check when I arrive there.  I was to at least get a debit card.

A potential problem.

To open a bank account legally, you must have either a KITAS or KITAP immigration document.
A tourist visa shouldn't be accepted by the bank, but have been in the past.
I'm assured the rules have been tightened up over the last few years, so you could have a problem.

I think the rules on having a KITAS or similar long term visa are pretty strict these days. Certainly with both HSBC and Mandiri I wasn't able to open an account with either until I had my KITAS. But who knows, maybe some of the small and medium sized banks might allow you to open an account if you tell them you in process of applying for your retirement visa or whatever and if you want to deposit some cash with them. They shouldn't do it, but there's no harm in asking them.

Yes, the rules are very strict these days…not like in “the old days” and for good reason, viz, money laundering, terrorism, and drug financing.  And of course there is that other reason too, aka, taxes. 

I agree 100% with the “thumbs up” comments regarding BCA.  We’ve been with them for many years and have always been happy with their service and charges.

A few years ago bca had a problem with phishing in bali , I lost around  10 juta  before I noticed it and blocked the account  , after months of complaining  I pushed them for a camera review at the atm in question as the withdrawls were at 3.01 am for 3 consecutive days ,because they suggested I was  "sleepwalking" .

of course the camera was not working ! I never got 1 rup in compensation .

I have used mandiri ever since with sms notification of withdrawls over 1 juta .

there are no guarantees  here against fraud at the banks, unlike the uk , except on deposit , so I always keep only minimum funds here . hati hati !

I think that virtually all banks in Indonesia are susceptible to ATM fraud, and that exposure is exponentially increased for those banks like BCA who have many thousands of ATMs across Indonesia.  Is there any other bank in Indonesia with more ATM’s than BCA?  I didn’t check, but I would bet not.

That said, I understand your position totally.  If I was "stung" to the tune of 10 million IDR through a BCA account, I wouldn't be happy with them either. 

There is a real need here in Indonesia for something like what in the US is called the FDIC, or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.  In a nut shell, this is insurance which protects folks from fraudulent access to their bank accounts (up to a specified level).  This insurance also protects depositors in the event of bank failure.  This insurance is automatic with each and every account in the US. 

As expats, there is a lot we can do ourselves to protect our accounts here.  It’s the foreign tourists that I worry about more…as they are more likely to expose an account “back home” holding significant sums to the kind of “high tech” fraud that we see here from time to time.

I have run into difficulties recently with Permata because I needed a new ATM because my old one was expiring and my passport was at Immigration. The staff were very confused and unsure of what to do because I had nothing legal on me to show I was allowed to be in Indonesia except, 2 credit cards, 1 SIM and of course my existing ATM card and the money in my account.
It went a lot smoother when I asked if because of the need for my passport, I just transfer all my cash to BRI online and my salary every month.

I have a student who told me that he needs a bank account in the UK for business and that if he can produce a work visa from the British government, then HSBC here will open an account for him (T&C permitting as well as a large deposit) but that was interesting to see things from Indonesia looking out.

I have dealings with three banks for various reasons.

Mandiri is where I pay my daughter's school fees.
I find them extremely professional and have never had the slightest problem, but my experience with that bank is limited.

BNI is where I started banking in Indonesia.
I found them generally very good but had a few problems with tellers that needed to borrow a clue what they were doing. I should stress the majority of transactions went smoothly, but enough were a problem to make me consider moving banks. That's a little out of date now so they might well have improved. BNI were the bank with the ATM skimmer and camera, but the manager refused to believe me when I reported it.
The following Monday saw this, and the skimmer went away.

BCA is my currant bank.
I find them very professional and there has never been any problem at all with them. They have ATMs pretty much everywhere but queues have been known to be a problem at busy times as the bank is so popular.
A lot of big business use their services so money transfers are generally easy.
The one downside is they say they have no debit card that can be used for telephone or internet banking (No 16 digit number), insisting on a credit card for that, something I never use and don't care about having.

“…but queues have been known to be a problem at busy times as the bank is so popular.”

Same here in Bali Fred, be it BCA’s Ubud or Denpasar office. 

Truth be told…I never go myself…as Eri has far more patience than I!   ;)

BCA have an excellent internet banking service that is capable of most transactions traditionally done in a branch, and the ATMs are pretty hot as well, meaning you don't have to bother with a branch that much.
My last visit was for a new card, but visits are limited to maybe once or twice a year.
As ATMs are very common, I usually go to them at quiet times so I don't have to bother with queues. My local 24 hour Alfamart has one, and that's just two minutes walk away from home.

Aside from PayPal, which I am required to have for eBay, I don't do any internet banking.

I know that means I'm totally "old school" but you know the yarn..."you can't teach new tricks to an old dog."   ;)

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