Safest ways using ATM machines in Bali. 5 things you should know to protect yourself and keep enjoying your vacation

There are times when someone falls victim to an ATM incident in Bali. Whether it’s skimming or the machines swallowed it up. It makes enjoying your vacation a challenge without any money.

I am here to tell you some tips about picking and using an ATM machine in Bali. I tell my guests the same as always. These tips are based on real-life mistakes that happen to tourists on a daily basis in Bali. Maybe this is also a good read for you: Should you bring cash or ATM/Credit card to Bali.

Lately ATM machines are sometimes swallowing the card. You would then eventually leave the ATM machine to get things arranged. Within minutes your bank account can be drained from all it’s money. Be safe, make sure you can make a call to your bank to immediately block your card.


It is unfortunate that tourists get skimmed in Bali. This means when they use a certain rigged ATM machine, their card gets copied as well as the pincode. After this, they use the copied card to withdraw money from the ATM, draining your account. (Source: What is ATM Skimming?)

Before using a machine, look for any visual damage or incorrectness to the machine. Does it look like something could be on top? If the keypad, for example, can be lifted it’s a red flag.

Other red flags are that the insertion where you put the card put it. Especially this part should not be flaky or lose. Check it out before using it.

Card Swallowed up by the machine

This happens a lot to tourists. When you use an ATM machine be sure of the following: The card inserted has a similar logo to that on the machine: Cirrus, Maestro, or any other. This would indicate it is compatible.

In Indonesia, the ATM Machines give out money first, then your card. A lot of people have a habit of getting the card first, then the money. Due to this habit, many cards get swallowed and before you know it, you are without a card on vacation.

What to do when your card gets swallowed: Call the phone number on the machine, and there is also an ID number of your ATM Machine. Tell the bank what happened. Sometimes it could be a while until you are helped but you can get your card back. If you forgot and are already far away, then block your card just in case by calling your own bank.

Picking out an ATM machine

ATM Machine Bali BNI Bank
Notice the Rp 100.000 on the top left. This machine gives out 100k bills

When picking one out check first what the max limit is for that machine. This is because the number of banknotes given out has a limit. The Maximum is 2,5 Million (25 notes of 100k).

Do not pick out the machines that give out 1Million IDR maximum. This is because the transaction fee can go up to a few dollars. The less you take from the machine to the more expensive it gets.

If the transaction fee is 10$, for whatever amount you take up to 2,5 Million IDR than better not only take 200k IDR. The cost to take that is 140k IDR already. So for getting 200k, the bank deducted 340k from your account. This is because of the transaction fee for foreign banks and cards.

The second thing that you should look out for if the ATM machine has some supervision. A guard, or something that would not allow skimmers to quickly install their device. A bank always has some ATM machines and a guard to stand on the look-out, this is 24/7. So it’s advisable to use them at the bank.

The one time I did not use it according to this guide, my card got blocked because it was skimmed. I was in a hurry to get some cash and I was unable to use my card because of it. This eventually brought even more problems. Moral of the story: wait a bit until you find one machine where a guard is stationed nearby.

When to use an ATM Machine

It’s also some common sense not to use an ATM machine at 3 am when no-one is there, or at least it looks like that. Using an ATM machine should be done during the day for your own safety.

Help my card got swallowed by an ATM machine.

First of all, did it happen in front of you? There is a number above the ATM machine you can call it, there is also an ID number so they know where it happened. This is crucial information that you need.

It this happened at the bank you can just walk in and talk to the security or employee and they can assist further getting the right person there to get your card out.

Lost the Card or during the rest of my stay in Bali. Solving money issues in Bali.

This happens from time to time with tourists visiting Bali. There are still several ways to get money. If you travel with friends ask them to borrow money. If you have internet banking, you can immediately wire the money you owe.

If this is not an option because you travel alone, you can use Western Union. You need a valid identification to pick up the money. Somebody, a close friend or relative, can send money in cash within a few minutes to you. At Western Union, you receive a special number which you tell them with your name. Before receiving you just need to fill in a form and that’s it you have cash again.

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