When living here in Jakarta, almost all expats eventually encounter the issue of having to transfer money between Indonesia and another country. This process can at first seem complicated, confusing, and intimidating, with everyone you talk to giving conflicting information.
The most obvious and common options are either doing a standard bank transfer directly through your bank, or sending your funds via a well-known transfer service like Western Union or PayPal. However, these are actually two of the most expensive options. For example, sending $1000 from the US to Indonesia through Western Union will cost you $118, once all the fees are added up. So what other options are there? There are actually many different transfer services that can be used for sending or receiving money. You can check this website which has a good chart breakdown of advantages, disadvantages, and costs of different money transfer methods specifically for Indonesia.
The option boasting the lowest transfer fees is a website called OFX. Based in Australia, OFX specializes in bank to bank transfers for both individuals and businesses. They have no extra hidden fees and your only charge comes through small exchange rate markups. It’s also fairly easy to use, with a polished, no-nonsense, user-friendly interface.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Go to the OFX website and click, “Get Started.”
2. Follow the instructions and enter your information. The website will walk you through step-by-step. Once your account is completed, log in.
3. Enter the details of the bank you’re transferring from and transferring to in the provided areas. The information will be saved so you can easily use it again for future transfers. You can choose multiple kinds of transfer. A convenient choice is the direct debit transfer. This helps you avoid having to transfer to OFX as an intermediary and incur more fees and time.
4. Call or email OFX to verify your identity, along with a few other identity-confirmation steps. Wait for 3-5 days for your transaction is being delivered.
The cost for sending $1000 USD to Indonesia was only $5. However, OFX has a disclaimer that there may be an additional fee charged by the receiving bank or arising from elsewhere in the international transfer process (in our experience the receiving charge, i.e from BCA was low). Contact the bank of the receiving account to ask them about their fees for this.