This guide seeks to shed light on the various formal channels Indonesians in the diaspora can use to send money home, the information they need, and the crucial factors to bear in mind when sending money home. Also, if you are interested in working or living in Indonesia, our guide to moving and living abroad as an expat in Indonesia will give you all the information you need.
Indonesia is an emerging economy in Southeast Asia. It is classified as a newly industrialized nation, and it is a member of the G20. The GDP of Indonesia is $1.25 trillion, which ranks 16th in the world. The large population size of 270 million contributes to the nation’s large economy.
The national currency of Indonesia is Rupiah, and at the time of writing, one IDR is equal to 0.000070 USD. In 2012, Indonesia gained the status as the 2nd fastest developing economy of G20 countries, behind China. However, in 2020, Indonesia suffered a setback in economic growth because of the pandemic.
Indonesia exported over $231.54 billion in 2021, and the exported goods are varied, contributing to the strength of their export economy. China, ASEAN, the US, the European Union, and Japan are the main export partners.
Sending money to Indonesia is simple and easy. Follow these steps to get started and find the best money transfer services.
There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in Indonesia, but these will largely depend on the provider or the money transfer services you decide to use. Below you will find everything you need to know about the best ways to send money to Indonesia.
Instead of sending money through account mediators, there are formal ways you can transfer funds to your family back home. Even more attractive is that these channels cost less, are secure, and take less time to get your money across.
As part of Project Greenback 2.0. initiated by the World Bank, several sector players such as Indonesia’s Central Bank, BNP2TKI, the Indonesian Financial Service Authority (OJK), and local governments have come together to promote formal remittance channels. Below are the ways you can send money to Indonesia.
Indonesia has 115 commercial banks fully licensed under the Banking Act to participate in the payment system. Rural banks are about 1,620 but are restricted as to the type of transactions they can execute. As long as the recipient has an account with a bank that can handle international transfers, you can directly deposit to their account.
Apart from international banks such as the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank, PT Bank Commonwealth, and the big national banks, transfers to other banks in Indonesia may take longer. This is caused by several factors, among them the intermediary banks involved in delivering the funds.
Wire transfers can take anywhere between 3 to 5 days to get to the recipient accounts. In most cases, fees are paid by the sender, but in some cases, the recipient may be charged landing fees by the receiving bank.
The rate of financial inclusion in Indonesia is estimated at 65%. However, disaggregated data shows that many people living in rural areas in provinces such as West Nusa Tenggara hardly access formal banking services.
As a member of the G20, Indonesia is a key supporter of the initiative to cut down on remittance costs to 5%. As the remittance market becomes attractive, many money transfer service providers are setting up shops in Indonesia.
In October 2016, Wise launched in Indonesia, allowing its customers worldwide to send money directly to Indonesian rupiah (IDR)-denominated bank accounts.
In December 2016, WorldRemit and Xpress Money entered into a partnership to offer instant cash pickup transfers in the country. Together, they have over 11,000 cash pickup locations in Indonesia, thanks to their partnership with Bank Rakyat.
Towards the end of May 2018, Transfast partnered with POS Indonesia, the country’s postal service, to offer money remittance services to Indonesia for the millions of its diaspora customers.
Other money transfer services such as Xoom, OFX, and WorldFirst also provide online money transfer services to Indonesia. These providers are usually fast, affordable, and secure. All you need to transfer money to Indonesia is to sign up for a transfer account, input the recipient’s details, pay for your transfer using a debit, credit, or direct bank debit, and send.
You can make your transfer on the website or through the provider’s mobile application and track it on its way to the recipient.
Western Union and MoneyGram are among the oldest money transfer operators that allow you to deposit money at an agent in the sending country and transfer it to your family. You can choose to send your money online or let agents handle the process for you.
You can also begin the process online and complete it in-store. Both providers have mobile apps to make the transfer process quicker and simpler. As of June 30, 2018, Western Union had over 14,000 pick-up locations in Indonesia.
For the 200,000+ Indonesians working and living in Singapore, Singtel and Telkomsel’s real-time mobile money remittance service in March 2017 opened lots of possibilities. The SingCash service allows its customers to send money from Singapore to their families in Indonesia through a disbursement network coverage of 4,500 PT Pos Indonesia’s cashpoints.
You can give your family and friends the gift of talk time by topping up their mobile phones with airtime. Xoom has partnered with ten carriers in Indonesia to allow you to send airtime directly to your family and friends. The carriers supported include Axis, Ceria, Esia Bakrie Telecom, Indosat Ooredoo, Smartfren, Telkomsel Kartuas, simPATI, and Three mobile.
After you register for an account and get verified, you are free to send money to Indonesia. However, at the time of transfer, you’ll be required to provide more information to facilitate the movement of funds. Though the information may vary from one provider to another, the following is a typical list of what is needed.
Depending on the bodies that regulate the money transfer service provider you are using, you may be asked for more information.
Based on the analysis of transfers to Indonesia along the major remittance corridors, there are three ways you can receive money in the country. You may choose direct bank deposit, cash pick up from agents, or direct mobile money deposit.
Money transfer providers have created relationships with major banks across Indonesia to simplify the process of receiving money in the country. The following are some of the participating banks though they differ with the provider:
It takes 1-3 days for you to receive the money into your bank account.
Most money transfer providers have a strong agency network to support your transfer, whether you are sending money to Bali or North Sumatra.
Xoom has partnered with PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia to serve its customers through 10,072 cash pickup locations. For instance, when sending to Alampura City in Bali, there are 22 Xoom locations the recipient can collect money from.
Wise customers can pick their cash from PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia or PT Bank Negara Indonesia.
In December 2016, WorldRemit and Xpress Money entered into a partnership to widen their disbursement network coverage to more than 11,000 cash pickup locations. In addition, they jointly leverage PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia branches as pickup locations.
Ria has agreements with Bank BRI and BNI to use their networks as cash pickup points.
Cash pickups are instant and more appropriate for receiving small amounts. This is mainly because of safety reasons.
You can receive money directly into your mobile wallet from specific providers. This is instant and gives you flexibility and safety.
On November 6, 2019, Wise enabled direct mobile wallet deposits through GoPay, OVO, and DANA.
On July 22, 2014, WorldRemit launched a partnership with Indosat Dompetku to allow its customers receive money directly into their mobile accounts. You can use the balance to make payments for goods and services or withdraw at ATMs or service agents.
In February 2013, Western Union partnered with PT XL Axiata, an Indonesian telecommunications services operator, to provide mobile money transfer service.
Some money transfer services provide home delivery in Indonesia. This involves the delivery of cash to an address, and multiple currencies can be delivered. There is a fee for the service and the delivery time depends on local availability. Home delivery is a good choice for recipients that want to get cash and do not have a bank account in Indonesia.
The multiple benefits of money transfer services mean they are the perfect choice for receiving money in Indonesia. They allow you to save money by charging lower fees for each transfer and offering competitive FX rates. Unlike banks, most specialist transfer providers do not have branches. This equates to lower overheads, and the savings are passed onto the customer. Also, many money transfer services exist, so the competition is fierce.
The fast transfer speeds are another advantage for customers – especially if they need funds in an emergency. In addition, balance transfers are processed instantly in most cases. Finally, multiple pay-out options exist, including cash withdrawal and bank transfer. This provides flexibility in terms of getting your hands on money in Indonesia.
If the funds are sent through direct bank deposits or mobile wallets, you don’t need to do anything unless you want to withdraw. However, you’ll have to provide the following documents and information for cash pickups.
Based on transaction narrations given to the various money transfer service providers, overseas Indonesians have many reasons for sending money home.
Remittances support close to 30% of expenditures in remittance-receiving households. Food items take the lion’s share (53%) of family expenditure budgets. Household durables, transport, and rent are the other expenditure items.
About 6% of remittances to Indonesian households are allocated to education. Funds for tuition fees and school-related costs usually are sent regularly at the beginning of the term.
Thanks to initiatives by the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), many Indonesians in the diaspora are increasingly sending money home to invest in real estate, businesses, and financial assets in the Indonesia Stock Exchange.
During emergencies such as the 2018 earthquake that caused flooding, deaths, and destruction of the property, particularly in the city of Palu on Sulawesi Island, remittances increased in frequency and size. Also, remittances are usually sent in response to emergencies at the family level, such as illnesses and accidents.
Many Indonesians in the diaspora send money for house construction or renovations. This is primarily the case for immigrants coming from poor households, as they prioritize the basic needs before making investments in businesses.
Funerals, engagements, and weddings can be such an expensive affair in Indonesia. As a result, families reach out to their diaspora friends and relatives for support. In most cases, social contributions are sent together with family support funds.
With the features discussed in the preceding sections of this guide, it makes sense why money transfer service providers are preferred mainly by diaspora Indonesians sending money home.
Think of the following factors before you pay for your transfer and press the ‘Send’ button to your family and friends.
When sending money to Indonesia, you have many formal and legal options to use. Don’t fall prey to the risky, informal channels that end up charging you more with no assurance that your money will be delivered.
We understand that choosing a money transfer company can be time-consuming. This section presents the top 3 choices you can use today to send money to Indonesia.
Wise offers some of the most competitive fees in the money transfer industry. They are also transparent about the costs at every stage of the money transfer process. This keeps you informed and allows you to compare different transfer methods. Wise also provides excellent FX rates by matching the mid-market rate for many currency pairs.
The security features match cutting-edge technology for your peace of mind. For example, security measures such as 2-factor authentication are used to ensure hackers do not get access to your account. Furthermore, Wise has a clean user interface with a low learning curve for beginners.
Sending money to Indonesia with WorldRemit is a straightforward process. You can preview the currency exchange rate on the homepage to compare with alternative transfer specialists. WorldRemit is authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority, which indicates the company is reliable.
The competitive transfer fees and FX rates of WorldRemit mean it is one of the top services for sending money to Indonesia. You are unlikely to find a bank transfer service that offers a better deal.
Azimo provides a pleasant experience for sending money to Indonesia. They offer multiple payout options, including bank transfer and cash pick up. It means getting cash in Indonesia is reliably easy with Azimo. Also, there is no minimum sending amount, which is perfect for customers who need small transfers.
Azimo has a strong customer support department that offers multi-lingual support. The customer service team responds quickly via live chat, and you can use the mobile app to receive help.
Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to Indonesia. So if you’re looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.
Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com