The Rupiah has not been very stable over the past three months and through September it varied between 8.000 and 9.300 to the US Dollar. Because of this you are unlikely to get the rates quoted in newspapers and on CNN unless you use your credit card. Some of the best places to cash money in Medan are the BBI, (The Bank Buana Indonesia) Bank Lippo, Bank Bali and the BII. One of these will generally have the best rate in town, but money changers are often very competitive. As rates change daily you may find it difficult to change money at banks before 10.00 am, or until the new rate comes in. At some, money can only be - changed between 10.00 am and 12.00 noon. All the banks are walking distance from The Grand Mosque (Mesjid Raya) or a +/- Rp 4000 Becak ride.
If you are changing cash rather than travellers cheques you may find that even slightly soiled notes are not acceptable. Cash, if clean, gets a better rate than travellers cheques. Rates will generally be better in Medan than else where.
Tourists can open bank accounts with around Rp 50.000. This will give you an ATM card which you can use at many out lets in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia with a limit of two million rupiahs per day, but you may have to wait about a week to ten days for your card. At the BNI, you can have three types of account.
Savings Account. In Rupiah. Passbook, ATM card. Account earns interest.
Deposit Account. In Rupiah. Deposit for one month minimum, with a roll over. Good interest rate.
Dollar Plus Account. Cash remains in Dollars and earns interest, but you cannot with draw dollars. You can withdraw Rupiah at today's rate or you can transfer money out of the country still in dollars. Account earns interest.
Rp 100 seratus rupiah (coin and note)
Rp 500 limaratus rupiah (coin and note)
Rp 1.000 seribu rupiah (coin and note)
Rp 5.000 lima ribu rupiah
Rp 10.000 sepuluh ribu rupiah
Rp 20.000 dua puluh ribu rupiah
Rp 50.000 lima puluh ribu rupiah
Rp 100.000 seratus ribu rupiah
Certain Bank Notes are being taken out of circulation. The 50.000 note with ex President Soeharto's picture on it, the 20.000 note with the birds of paradise, and the 10.000 note with Borobudur. You may find some people will not accept them. They can be changed at the banks or money changers.