The Bank of Indonesia has issued formal advice for tourists in Bali while an investigation is underway. The Bank of Indonesia is working with the Bali Provincial government to stamp out illegal money changers across the island.
In recent months the Bank of Indonesia and the Bali Civil Service, along with community governments, have been working together to crack down on money changers in the Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak areas who are operating outside of the law.
Many outlets in Kuta have already been closed down due to having insufficient permits. Others were temporarily closed down until they could get their paperwork up to scratch. One Kuta outlet was formally closed by the Bali Civil Service and reopened just days after, breaking the conditions of the business closure. The Kuta Traditional Village government has proceeded with legal action over the matter in a bid to ensure that Kuta remains and safe and desirable destination for millions of tourists every year.
A representative for the Bank of Indonesia, Trisno Nugroho, told local reporters that tourists should not be tempted by the high rates offered by illegitimate money changers. He explained that tourists must check that the changing outlet has sufficient permits and licenses before they proceed with a transaction.
These licenses should be easily visible in money changing outlet that is operating legally, Nugroho said ‘Tourists must transact in a money changer…We [create] licenses so we can avoid the risk of fraud and crime, avoid the potential for getting counterfeit or damaged money, and our rights as consumers are protected by law’.
Nugroho explained that licensed money changers can be identified by the presence of a sign titled ‘Authorized Money Changer’ and the formal name of the business, accompanied by logos and certificates issued by the Bank of Indonesia. On the logos and branding, there should be a QR Code that when opened shows the information of the business and proof of licenses.
The Bank of Indonesia and the Bali Provincial Government have launched an app and website in partnership with the Bali Foreign Exchange Trader Affiliate, to create an online platform for tourists to access information about where to find license money changers and more.
The website is in its Beta phase but it is hoped that the site can help tourists exchange money safely and promote the good business practice. According to the website, the page’s purpose is to ‘provide guidance to locate authorized money changer nearby in Bali…facilitates online order from an authorized money changer in Bali’. The website is www.authorizedmoneychanger.id
Nugroho told the local press that the launch of the site is a huge step forward. He said ‘This can be one of the means to inhibit or reduce the presence of unlicensed money changers that can harm foreign tourists and the public as well as potentially damage the image of Bali’s tourism’.
The return of foreign tourists since borders reopened in February 2022 and therefore a comparative increase in money being exchanged has highlighted the long-standing issues in the money exchange infrastructure in Bali.
Ahead of the G20 Summit in November, Bali authorities are working around the clock to ensure that policies are being adhered to and businesses are operating within the law. During the pandemic, many businesses let their licenses and paperwork slip, as the island is fully reopened again it is time to ensure that everything is running above board, especially with the critical eye of the world’s media and government delegations soon to be descending on the Island of the Gods.
There are now 250 licensed money-changing outlets in Bali, compared to just 136 that were able to remain operational in 2021. According to Nugroho IDR 405.6 billion was exchanged in money changers throughout Bali in May 2022, with figures for June and July set to be released and expected to be even greater.
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