Open bank account no Kitas

Hi.
I am looking to open a bank account in Bali.  When I arrive in late January
With BCA if possible.
I am  Australian, 66 years old, retired, I Have a social visa, which I can extend for up to
six months. I will be doing some voluntary English teaching, so I thought it might be cheaper to
have a deposit bank account with an ATM card.
My question is;  What is the chance of opening up a bank account without a Kitas, as I do
Not have or intend to apply for a work permit. I do not want to commit to a retirement visa
At this time.
I really would appreciate any advice with this, many thanks Phil

A bank should ask for your KITAS, but I opened one before mine arrived.
I think it might well have had something to do with the fat bag of cash I walked into the bank with.
The manager took one look and opened an account.
However, rules seem to be stricter now than they were back then, and I've always been asked for copies of my KITAS/KITAP since then.
Won't hurt to try, but you may have to stick to drawing on your home accounts using ATMs until you get the KITAS.

Hi
Thanks for reply. I was hoping there would be some way without Kitas.
I will try for sure, but as a retiree I would not qualify for Kitas. Only other
Option is  to ask sponsor.
Ok cheers philip

Asking a sponsor is NOT an option, as you will only be inviting trouble.  But, if you insist, and now that I have Indonesian citizenship, I happily volunteer my services to you, free of charge!   :D

Kidding aside, BCA is an excellent bank.  I’ve been with them since my day one…sixteen years ago.  At that time I was allowed to open up an account with only my sosbud (social/cultural) visa as it was made clear to them that I was about to marry a local, and eventually would acquire a KITAS visa.

This philosophy…the eventuality of a KITAS, or the “in process” status of a KITAS still holds today at BCA…a very close friend of ours from Switzerland recently had no problems opening his account with BCA even while his KITAS and IMTA (work permit) applications had only been started the day before he opened his account with BCA.  At that time he was only on a VOA tourist visa. 

The law is pretty clear, and it’s all centered around Indonesia being a serious international partner against money laundering (generally associated with drug dealing).  Visit visa’s, be they short or longer term are not an acceptable status for opening a bank account here.   

With that all being said, and with you appearing to be a trustworthy looking gentleman, hopefully with some locals who can vouch for you, the chances are pretty good that if you went to BCA with one of your local contacts, explained your situation and the “likelihood” that you will be obtaining a KITAS soon (the retirement visa being a KITAS visa), you’ll most likely be allowed to open an account…BUT, don’t open it with any of your local contacts as sponsor (name on the account).  That sort of move is just as reckless as "buying" land here using a sponsor.  As wonderful and gracious as the Balinese are...they nonetheless are only human.   ;)

BTW, (and please don't take this as an insult)...at first glance of your original post, I thought for a second that maybe Joe Biden had joined this forum!   :lol:

Thank you for this info,

I will go to BCA branch in Ubud(i assume they have a branch there)and simply say, That I have
a Social visa. That I have recently applied for my Kitas, but it is still in the process.
Should I mention that I am doing volunteer English school?

Ok thanks for your help with this, I fully intend to use the account legally as I want to
transfer funds into the account from Australia and use local ATM's.

Cheers Phil

I have to agree with the comments about BCA, a very professional bank with an excellent, well deserved reputation as such.
There is a problem with them.
Their popularity means queues at their ATMs can be a bit on the long side, so make sure you always have enough cash to do your Saturday shop without going to an ATM.
I, being an old fuddy duddy with a touch of paranoia, don't use cards to buy anything.
That and I tend to be better discounts when I pull out a fat wad of cash, and wave it in front of the guy in the camera shop.
Their greed is a powerful tool when it comes to negotiation, especially when they see that cash walking out of the door, instead of sliding into their pocket.

That sounds like a good plan Phil, and yes, BCA does have an office here in Ubud right at the end of Jalan Raya across the street from the Royal cremation grounds.

While Fred's comments about long waiting lines are undoubtedly accurate for Jakarta, here in Bali, and in particular, Ubud, they have far more than enough ATMS around town.

Good luck with your volunteer work!

Thanks for your advice, really appreciate it.
It's been a long journey, I feel I have finally found a
Place I can hang my hat up.
All the best for the new year!
Phil

When you get settled in Ubud, be sure to drop by the Fly Cafe on Jalan Raya Lungsiakan, especially late afternoons, as this is a popular hang out for many senior Australians.  Networking is a great way to get useful information and also helpful in avoiding pitfalls.

Cheers!

Ok thanks, will do!

philcon :

Hi.
I am looking to open a bank account in Bali.  When I arrive in late January
With BCA if possible.
I am  Australian, 66 years old, retired, I Have a social visa, which I can extend for up to
six months. I will be doing some voluntary English teaching, so I thought it might be cheaper to
have a deposit bank account with an ATM card.
My question is;  What is the chance of opening up a bank account without a Kitas, as I do
Not have or intend to apply for a work permit. I do not want to commit to a retirement visa
At this time.
I really would appreciate any advice with this, many thanks Phil

Please watch out, if you do want to teach on a social visa respectively visit visa and expect to earn some bugs don't get caught. It's not legal, you would need a work permit.

To open a bank account today a KITAS is what you need even though there are different ways or perhaps some other ideas are given, make sure that nothing is backfire

Tom, no worries for Phil, as his teaching will be strictly on a volunteer basis.  Westerners offering their time, knowledge and experience in a non paid capacity in schools, medical facilities and licensed yayasans has never created any problems, so he has no reason for concern. 

As for his banking arrangements and the advice I offered him, once set up he’ll have no problems either, but if he decides to make Bali his home, then yes, he should for certain go for the 5 year retirement KITAS.

Congratulations Ubudian on your citizenship.
I hope to apply soon. I have resided here continuously for 12 years and I am married to a wonderful Indonesian dragonlady. (No complaints from me).
I wonder if I might ask you a few private questions to assist me in proquring citizenship?
phylacogen

I doubt I can be of much help to you regarding your quest for full citizenship as it seems that in each case that I know about, the process and procedure was unique. 

Good luck, and I hope you sing the national anthem far better than I did!   :lol:

I'm learning that right now.
And my Indonesian is getting much better - I hope it's good enough.

Hi Phil,  if all else fails and in fact in any case,  your best option is to open a Citibank Australia account and get a Visa Debit card. This allows you to enjoy the best exchange rate that any bank or Ford trader will offer you. Use most ATMs and eftpos machines free of transaction fees and atm charges. This is hands down the best way to move and use your money from Australia without having to go through the nightmarish bureaucracy in Indonesia.

Hope it helps.

Can you please let me know if you just did a standard AU Citibank account and then did withdrawals, or did you setup one of their multi-currency accounts?


Thanks

I don’t know if this Citibank arrangement is viable here in Bali.  Keep in mind that the poster who made that suggestion posted from Jakarta and things in Bali generally aren’t the same as in “the big durian.”

The devil being in the details, some initial questions I would have with the Citibank approach would be:

-The exchange rate used by Citibank Australia.

-Convenience and locations of the atm machines on Bali.

-Daily and/or transaction maximums on withdrawals.

While it is true there are less Citibank branches and ATMs in Bali,  they are still there if you look for them and the laws governing banking are exactly the same as the rest of Indonesia, (at least non-sharia banks). I have used Citibank in many countries throughout Asia for the past 5 years and they are by far the best exchange rates you will get from any other bank in Australia, except perhaps HSBC,  but you would be quibbling over a few cents. Point in case,  I have on the odd occasion withdrawn cash from an atm, (which prompts you with the applicable exchange rate for you before you decide to proceed) and immediately cross checked the exchange rate on XE and found that Citibank rate was better! Citibank posts it's Forex rates on its website and is updated very frequently, at least every hour.
You do not have to pay atm fees. You can use your card to pay at almost every outlet set-up with a credit card machine free of charge.
The default maximum withdrawal I believe is $3000 a day. This can be increased to $10,000 a day with written approval.
This information can all be checked on their website. And a quick google map search will show all the ATMs and branches.
With this in mind why would you even want to go through the headache if dealing with an Indonesian bank?
In fact I'm almost regretting sharing the good deal they offer because the more people buying Rupiah with AUD will only drive the price up for me!

The account you want is a Transaction Plus everyday account with a Visa Debit card. The multi - currency accounts offered by Citibank do not allow you to hold Rupiah. Something to do with Indonesian Forex laws probably. The list of available currencies is on the website under the information on that type of account. If you are keen on holding Rupiah,  just buy a safe and fill it, that's what I do. Banks in Indonesia offer pretty rubbish interest rates anyway that barely offset inflation.

Sorry, but I’m a bit “gun shy” when it comes to Citibank after the big fraud they pulled off here some 5 years ago…embezzling some 5 million (dollars) from customer accounts.

Aside from credit card accounts, Citibank is still not very popular at all here in Bali.  And, this thread is about banking on Bali.   ;) 

But anyway, the “currency of the realm” here is the IDR…which is reason #1 why one “bothers” to hold IDR.

Yeah and as a retiree I'm pretty sure there ain't gonna be a big need to hold vast sums of rupiah.  In the electronic age we live in I doubt a retiree wants to walk around with a fat wallet. My information was specifically offered as an alternative if the KITAS option falls through which will most likely yield a better exchange than banking with BCA, so still relevant to the discussion.

Phil, hope you find your peace in Ubud.

“Yeah and as a retiree I'm pretty sure there ain't gonna be a big need to hold vast sums of rupiah.”

Hmmm, it would appear to me that you don’t know many retirees in Bali.   All those rounds of golf, spa treatments, martinis and dinners add up really fast!   :D

Retired doesn’t mean dead.  On the contrary, retired is a most noble state of life.   :top:

“In the electronic age we live in I doubt a retiree wants to walk around with a fat wallet.”

Let me know when “the electronic age we live in” comes to the local pasar or warung.   :lol:   

Like I said earlier…the big durian and Bali…two completely different worlds.   :top:

C'mon they ain't that different.. Ubud isn't exactly the Kampung,  last time I was there the traffic was worse than my area in Jakarta! And I eat street food nearly every day.

And which is it? Golf and Clubs or Warungs?Indonesia isn't in the stone age anymore,  anywhere you need to spend has a credit card machine,  and as noted before with the option I suggest, will probably give the best exchange rate.

And if your lifestyle is based in warungs you could visit the ATM once a month and keep your modest pile of hundreds at home.

Not at any point did I suggest retirées are nearly dead. In fact,  how do you know I'm not in Jakarta for the lifestyle choice? I don't work here.

Ubud consists of far more than Jalan Raya, the Royal Palace and Monkey Forest my friend.  Ubud consists of Ubud Village and 9 surrounding villages, and you bet, those villages are indeed kampungs.  I know, as I’ve lived in one of them (Bunutan) for the past 16 years.

Ubud and Jakarta have nothing in common, even when the traffic is heavy in central Ubud Village.

“Indonesia isn't in the stone age anymore, anywhere you need to spend has a credit card machine.”

http://s425.photobucket.com/user/amifid … a.jpg.html

My special caption for this one...“hey fellas, where’s the atm machine?”   :o

I think you need to get out of Jakarta once in a while if you truly believe that “anywhere you need to spend has a credit card machine.”

Anyway, enjoy Jakarta…your lifestyle choice, and good for you.   :top:

Cheers!

My best friend has lived in Bali / Ubud for 25 years,  so yeah been there many times.

"Anywhere you need to spend"

By the context of our discussion, the implication was:  anywhere you need to spend "big" i.e. The abundance of clubs and golf courses in your neck of the woods.

I was only trying to offer a fellow expat some useful advice with precise facts as opposed to vague details,  which you yourself also asked for,  so thanks for trying to invalidate my offer at every turn.

Assuming your best friend who has been living in Ubud for the past 25 years is an expat, then the chances are very good that I know him or her, as that list is very short. 

Ask your friend if they bank with Citibank.   ;)

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(Moderated: offensive)

The issue here is really rather simple.  Considering that the majority of expats in Bali, be they in business, working for someone else, independently wealthy, retired, or living the Eat, Pray, Love dream have IDR accounts in either BCA or BII should say something. 

I’m sorry, but you’ve made some comments in your posts which are simply not true…one of them being, “banks in Indonesia offer pretty rubbish interest rates anyway…”

Really?  Well, guess which bank in Indonesia offers the lowest interest rates on fixed rate one year deposits?  It’s Citibank at 4.5%.  HSBC is at 7.5%.   What do banks in Australia pay on one year certificate saving account interest?  Between 3.7 and 4.1%.

You also wrote, “If you are keen on holding Rupiah,  just buy a safe and fill it, that's what I do.”

Does that really make sense to you?  Aside from security concerns, do you think it’s wise to stuff a safe full of IDR where it earns nothing as opposed to having an IDR bank account here in Indonesia where it can earn 7.5% interest a year? 

And seriously, once out of the main population areas of any of the Provinces of Indonesia, atm machines become scarce.  And that’s no different here in Bali either.  So yes, whenever we plan to travel to more remote areas of Bali, or the other islands, we, (just like everyone else) take “fat wallets full of cash.”  And the locals do the exact same thing.

So yes, I disagree with most of your advice for Phil, as quite simply, I don’t find it to be fiscally sound advice.  Nothing personal here, just a disagreement with your advice.

OK?  And no hard feelings I hope. 

Cheers!

Just to clear up one point. Indonesian banks have ATMs in most small towns.
Foreign bank's machines are far less common outside cities, and far less numerous in the cities.

http://www.bca.co.id/en/network/network_landing.jsp

I have to agree with Ubudian, he is spot on about interest rates, and you can probably get better than 7.5% if you shop around. FD Interest rates overseas only reach around 4%, sometimes 5% when investing fresh funds. Also good to have a dual currency or multi-currency account and where you can shift your money around since rates fluctuate quite a bit against the USD, Euros and USD. Sterling hit IDR20,600 a few weeks back, then down to IDR18,500 last week, now at IDR19,200. It's worth playing the money market.

Why is there talk about ATM's? They are literally everywhere.

For sure, one’s perspective on the availability of atms is totally based on where they spend their time.  For certain, they are not "literally everywhere."

There are plenty of areas of eastern Java and Bali where one would have to travel 20 or more minutes to locate one, and this only gets worse in other parts of Indonesia where only the major cities and largest towns will have them.

Indonesian banks have ATMs all over the place. BNI has them in tiny towns, but BCA tend to be in slightly larger ones.
Twenty minutes sounds like a reasonable likely maximum travel, but only in the sticks. Even a town like Wonosobo has at least one for all the Indonesian banks, more for most.

Thar reply about BCA is all untrue. BCA tellers are the most obnoxious Indonesians that you will ever meet.Banks have been directed by OJK to open accounts for foreign customers with a passport for identification only but no bank in Indonesian follows the regulation. The bank personnel do not want to help the president increase foreign currency reserves.

That reply about BCA is all untrue. BCA tellers are the most obnoxious Indonesians that you will ever meet.Banks have been directed by OJK to open accounts for foreign customers with a passport for identification only but no bank in Indonesian follows the regulation. The bank personnel do not want to help the president increase foreign currency reserves.

lexercon :

Thar reply about BCA is all untrue. BCA tellers are the most obnoxious Indonesians that you will ever meet..

I find their people to be very helpful, never so much as a harsh word or slightly off look from any of them.
That applies to every BCA staff member I've had the pleasure to encounter.
The bank appears to train them very well in both the technical side of their job and how to be good to customers.
I don't find using a bank to be a pleasure in any way, but their staff's lovely attitude softens an otherwise boring and mundane task.

Mandiri and BNI have great, friendly tellers. Compare and see.

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