With the largest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is a thriving and rapidly growing country in which to do business.
The Indonesian gross domestic product is growing at an impressive 5% each year, which is 2.8% greater than the United States’ GDP growth rate.
You, as well as many other financially savvy people, maybe looking to open a bank account in this growing economic powerhouse.
Why Should I Have a Bank Account In Indonesia?
If you travel or work frequently in Indonesia, having a bank account can offer many conveniences, and you can avoid international ATM fees and other fees.
You may have to use an ATM frequently because the places that you can use your debit or credit card are limited, so cash is often your only option.
If you do business in Indonesia, having a local business bank account can make it easier to handle your international transactions.
Organize Your Legal Documents
In order to open a bank account in Indonesia, or in any country for that matter, you need to have your papers in order.
There are several legal documents you need to have on hand to open an Indonesian bank account.
Here is a list of documents you may need (depending on the bank) in order to open your first Indonesian bank account.
- Temporary Residence Permit Card/KITAS: Some banks will require you to have some kind of permit allowing you to do business in Indonesia if you don’t live there. The easiest document to get a hold of is the Temporary Residence Permit Card. These cards are also known as KITAS. There are work permit KITAS, a KITAS sponsored by an Indonesian spouse, or retirement or dependent KITAS. This document can be obtained at an Indonesian embassy or consulate with the approval of the Indonesian Immigration Department.
- Passport: Next you will need to present your passport at the bank to prove your United States citizenship.
- Letter from Employer: If you work in Indonesia remotely and still live abroad, or are going to move to Indonesia soon, you can use a letter from your Indonesia-based employer as a legal document to open your account.
- Permanent Residence License: In a similar vein, if you work in Indonesia and have a permanent residence license, you will be able to use this as well.
- Record of an Existing Bank Account: As a foreigner trying to start a bank account in Indonesia, you must have some kind of record of an existing bank account. The proof required will change from bank to bank. Some will require you to bring the debit/credit card associated with the account, others will want bank statements or account documents.
- The ID of Your Spouse: If you’re married, you may need to provide the bank with the government-issued identification documents of your spouse, depending on the ban
- Proof of address in Indonesia
- A residency contact
- A domicile letter
- 4cm x 6cm photos of yourself
Choose Your Account Type
Once your documents are in order, the next step you need to take is choosing which type of bank account suits your needs the best. There are a few different types of bank accounts with different perks and eligibility criteria.
Here are the different options you have for choosing your bank account type.
- Limited Balance Tourist Account: This type of bank account is designed for tourists and visiting expatriates to have easy access to their funds while in Indonesia. The minimum required balance for Limited Balance Tourist Accounts is $2,000, and the maximum allowed balance is $50,000. If your account balance is equal to or greater than $10,000, you will receive special perks such as lower transaction fees.
- Unlimited Balance Expatriate Account: The next level beyond Limited Balance Tourist Accounts. These accounts require a minimum balance of $50,000. This number can grow infinitely since there is no balance cap to this type of bank account.
- Special Balance Expatriate Account: Lastly, there is the Special Balance Expat. Account. This is the highest tier of bank account that can be attained by a non-citizen of Indonesia. In order to gain a special balance account, you must have a minimum balance of $1 million USD. With this type of bank account, progressive taxation is applied, meaning the higher your balance is, the lower the tax rate. Additionally, as an added benefit, the interest tax on deposits is lower than the standard tax rate.
These accounts can be either checking accounts, savings accounts, or deposit accounts which are like a certificate of deposit.
You deposit money for a certain time period and earn a higher interest rate than you would on a savings account.
Fill Out Requisite Paperwork
After you’ve settled on what type of account you want and all of your documents have been approved, you need to sign some paperwork.
This may be part of the application process in which they review your paperwork, and there will be other legal forms to sign depending on the bank you choose.
Here are the steps to open your account:
- Bring all the required documents to the bank.
- Choose the type of account you need.
- Download the bank’s online application to make the transaction easier.
- Fill in the form to open the account.
Some of the larger banks in Indonesia allow you to apply for your account online.
You will just need to download the app, scan and upload your documents, and take a photo of yourself with your phone.
However, you still need to confirm the account opening by going to the bank.
The account will be canceled after a certain period if you do not go in to confirm it.
As of now, you cannot perform this process remotely.
You must do this in person or hire a lawyer with the power of attorney to sign this documentation for you.
Make Your Initial Deposit
Now that your application has been approved, it’s time to make your first deposit to get your account officially opened.
Depending on the type of account you’ve chosen, there will be different required amounts for your initial deposit.
Most banks have a monthly fee of about Rp. 15,000 – 20,000.
Check for additional fees if you fall below a minimum balance requirement.
There are generally no ATM fees at your bank in Indonesia.
There are also transfer fees if you transfer money in and out internationally.
Once you’ve made this deposit, your Indonesian bank account is officially open.
The Banks of Indonesia
There are roughly 111 banks in Indonesia. Each bank offers unique benefits for its customers.
Here is a brief overview of the largest banks in Indonesia:
- Bank Central Asia (BCA): BCA has continually grown since its inception in 1957 thanks to its stellar customer service. This bank offers a unique cashback system on its cards, a robust online banking system, and perks for gold-level customers.
- Bank Danamon Indonesia: As one of the largest banks in Indonesia, BDI has established an incredible micro-finance business model. If you meet the minimum account balance requirement of $700, you will be charged no monthly account fees. Additionally, each user of a joint account gets their own debit card.
- Bank Mandiri: The final bank on this list is the largest and offers a wide array of financial solutions no matter what your financial needs are. With Bank Mandiri, you can make international transfers quickly while enjoying great customer service.
- Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI): BNI is state-owned and has branches in Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, and London. It offers savings and deposit accounts, and certain types of insurance programs.
- Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI): BRI is the oldest bank in Indonesia. It offers all typical bank services and products, but also has microfinancing programs.
Several foreign banks also open their offices in Indonesia like:
- Bank of China
- Standard Chartered
Most of these banks have their headquarters in Jakarta. However, they don’t have widespread branch offices.
Alternative Banking in Indonesia
Banking doesn't have to always be with a bank.
Doing business these days is changing with the new advent of neobanks, or alternatives to traditional banking.
Smaller companies seen as risky to large banks who prefer safer large businesses to bank with are now turning to alternatives for their small or medium-sized businesses.
That means without actually signing up with a bank, companies can get a full business account with all the features a bank provides, with the benefits that only larger companies could have enjoyed like multi-currency accounting and currency exchanged payments.
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