When you arrive in Bali to spend your well-deserved holiday here, you probably need to change some money into rupiahs. That wont be a problem, because there are a lot of money changing spots in Bali, especially in Kuta. Kuta, the most touristic place in Bali has the money changing spots almost on every corner of the streets. At Pantai Kuta (Kuta Beach) there are even three or four money changing stores in a row! When you decided to take a surf lesson at Odysseys Surf School, there is enough choice where to change your foreign money into Rupiah. Just be careful, because not all of them are that good. It happens sometimes that they try to scam the tourists. To avoid this and get the right amount of rupiah for your own currency, we made a list with tricks that happen a lot to scam the tourists.
- Sleight of hand
This trick is one of the most common tricks when you change your money. The banker counts your money in front of you, but with a trick like a magician he drops some notes on his laps without noticing. You’ll think that you get the right amount but in real he gave you less. This tricks works the best with a partner. The partner will start chatting to you so you are distracted. Make sure you focus on the deal. This scam is easy to avoid. Make sure that the moneychanger doesn’t touch your money again after you recount it. They will make an excuse, gave you your foreign money back and ask you to change somewhere else. You only lost some time, no money.
- The pile of cash trick
When you want to change hundreds of dollars or more, you will end up with millions of rupiahs. This means you will get a lot banknotes. The trick is here, that the moneychanger will give you all kind of notes with different values. The biggest in Bali is 100.000 and the smallest 1.000. If you are new here and are not used to the money yet, you will see a 10.000 note easily for a 100.000 note. So when you want to change $200 for some dollar notes, its possible they give you all the different notes. To avoid this, ask the moneychanger to only give 100.000 notes or 50.000 notes. When he refuses this, just take your money and go somewhere else. The change is big that he will scam you.
- The dodgy calculator
There are two tricks that involve a dodgy calculator. The first one is that the moneychanger set the rounding off function wrong so the calculator shows you the correct amount of rupiah that you will receive, minus a zero. The second one is that there is a false calculator. This is less used but its still there. The calculator just shows a fictional amount of rupiah. To avoid these types of scams, just calculate the amount of rupiah you should receive on your own calculator (every modern phone has one). If they don’t agree with that, just walk away with your foreign money.
- The distraction trick
When you are in Bali, you’ll notice that almost everyone takes the time to have a chat with you. The people are overall super friendly and willing to help you. But when you are changing your money, don’t let you get distracted by a person while the moneychanger is counting your money. These are the moments when it will go wrong. You got plenty of time to chat with them after they gave you your money, just focus on the money when they do their job. Of course, they can be friendly but there is a chance you will end up with less rupiah then you should. Just use your common sense when you are doing something important like changing money.
All these tricks and scams are easy to avoid by using your common sense. If you don’t trust the money change store, go to one that’s licensed. Don’t take money in all different kind off values. This makes it hard to count and scamming is easy. If you see rates that are too good to be true, don’t go there. Go to an ATM and take your money there, there are plenty on the island so that will be very easy. Change the money at your Hotel. The rates will be lower than in the money-changing store but you know you wont be scammed.
These tricks won’t happen only in Bali, but all over the world where tourists come! Don’t let any of these tricks ruin your vacation here. Bali is still a beautiful island with beautiful people. Just use your common sense and everything will be all right!