Indonesia Currency (Rupiah History + Facts)

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The official currency of Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), which is abbreviated as Rp. The IDR is one of the most affordable currencies in the world, making it a popular destination for budget travelers.

Indonesia Rupiah

The Rupiah (IDR) is issued and controlled by Bank Indonesia. The currency is available in both notes and coins, with denominations ranging from 1000 to 100,000 Rupiah notes and 50 to 1000 Rupiah coins. 

This article explores the history and current aspects of the Indonesian rupiah. It covers the rupiah’s evolution from its early origins to its role in today’s vibrant economy.

Historical Journey of Indonesian Rupiah

The Indonesian currency, the rupiah, has a long and complex history dating back to the colonial period. During the Dutch colonial era, the Netherlands Indies Gulden was used as the currency. However, when Japan occupied Indonesia during World War II, they introduced a variation of the gulden.

After Indonesia gained independence in 1945, the first version of the rupiah was introduced in October 1946. However, it circulated along with a variety of other currencies from 1946 to 1950. In 1950, the rupiah became the official currency of Indonesia.

Over the years, the rupiah has undergone several changes due to periods of economic uncertainty and high inflation. In 1965, the Old Rupiah was replaced by the New Rupiah at a rate of 1,000 to 1. In 1998, the rupiah experienced a severe depreciation during the Asian Financial Crisis, leading to a drastic drop in its value against the US dollar.

To combat inflation, the government has re-valued the currency several times. In 1965, the rupiah was re-valued at a rate of 1 New Rupiah to 1,000 Old Rupiah. In 2010, the government re-valued the rupiah again, this time at a rate of 1 New Rupiah to 10,000 Old Rupiah.

Today, the rupiah is the official currency of Indonesia and is issued by the Bank of Indonesia. It is available in both coins and banknotes, with the most commonly used denominations being Rp 1,000, Rp 2,000, Rp 5,000, Rp 10,000, Rp 20,000, Rp 50,000, and Rp 100,000.

Overall, the history of the Indonesian currency is a reflection of the country’s economic and political journey. Despite facing various challenges over the years, the rupiah remains an important symbol of Indonesia’s independence and sovereignty.

History of Coins

The evolution of Indonesian rupiah coins mirrors the nation’s historical and economic changes. Following Indonesia’s independence, the first series of rupiah coins were minted between 1951 and 1952, slightly after the initial issuance of rupiah banknotes

This period succeeded the peace treaty with the Netherlands in 1949, transitioning from the previous era of paper currency issued by the provisional Indonesian government from 1945 to 1949, a time when metal scarcity due to international isolation hindered coin production.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, rampant inflation led to the cessation of coin minting after 1961, with existing coins losing their value. To combat this, a devalued ‘new rupiah’ was introduced in 1965, featuring banknotes from as low as Rp0.01 to as high as Rp100, but without accompanying coinage.

Stability returned under Suharto’s New Order by 1971, enabling the reintroduction of coins in denominations ranging from Rp1 to Rp50, with Rp100 coins added later.

However, persistent inflation has led to the current coinage consisting of Rp25, Rp50, Rp100, Rp200, Rp500, and Rp1,000 denominations, with older Rp1 coins still recognized as legal tender.

Unlike the silver or gold coins of the Dutch era, rupiah coins have consistently been made of base metals. In the early years, coins included denominations from Rp0.01 to Rp0.50. 

The smaller denominations, particularly the Rp0.01 and Rp0.05 coins, were less valuable and were minted in limited numbers. The designs of these early coins underwent changes, including the removal of the Jawi script in favor of Indonesian text.

The coinage system saw significant updates in the subsequent years. In 1971, new coins were introduced, featuring cultural motifs and inscriptions of “Bank Indonesia.” These included designs like the white-browed fantail, rice and cotton stalk, black drongo bird, Victoria crowned pigeon, and greater bird of paradise.

Throughout the years, various redesigns and new introductions marked the evolution of Indonesian coins. In 1991, new designs featured the national Garuda Pancasila emblem.

Notable coins included the 25 rupiah with nutmeg imagery and the 50 rupiah featuring a Komodo dragon. The 100 rupiah coin depicted running bulls, symbolizing bull racing, a popular sport in Indonesia.

In 1993, the 1,000 rupiah coin was introduced, a significant addition to the rupiah’s denominational range. This bimetallic coin featured an oil palm design and was minted in several subsequent years.

Later revisions, such as in 1997 and 1999, included updates to the 500 rupiah and 50 rupiah coins, showcasing elements of Indonesian fauna and flora. The 2003 revisions introduced an aluminum 200 rupiah coin with the Bali starling and a redesigned jasmine-themed 500 rupiah coin.

The latest significant revision occurred in 2016, aligning with new banknote releases. These coins featured prominent Indonesian figures, enhancing the cultural and historical value of the rupiah.

As of 2022, the Indonesian rupiah’s coin series includes a range of denominations, with older series becoming collectors’ items due to their rarity.

History of Bills

The history of banknotes in Indonesia dates back to the 18th century, starting with the credit letters of the rijksdaalder issued by the United East India Company between 1783 and 1811.

This was followed by the Netherlands Indies gulden government credit paper in 1815, and the gulden notes of De Javasche Bank from 1827 to 1842 and again from 1866 to 1948. 

Due to wartime metal shortages, the government issued lower denominations (below 5 gulden) in 1919–1920 and 1939–1940, while higher transactions typically relied on coinage.

During the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies from 1942, the Japanese Government issued gulden notes, which in 1943 became known as “roepiah.”

The first authentic Indonesian rupiah notes appeared in 1946, amidst the war of independence against the Dutch, following Indonesia’s declaration of independence on 17 August 1945. This currency was called Oeang Republik Indonesia (ORI), with “oeang” being the old spelling for “uang,” meaning “money.”

After the 1949 peace treaty in The Hague, the ORI was replaced by the internationally recognized Indonesian rupiah. The rupiah has experienced several devaluations, notably in 1965 when the existing currency was replaced with a new rupiah at a rate of 1,000 to 1.

Regarding money from the independence period, the first series of Indonesian rupiah banknotes, dated 17 October 1945 and bearing the authority of “Republik Indonesia,” was intended for release on 1 February 1946. 

However, most notes were captured, and only a few were released initially. Widespread circulation began in Java from 10 October 1946, with denominations including Rp0.01, Rp0.05, Rp0.10, Rp0.5, Rp1, Rp5, Rp10, and Rp100.

The current series of Indonesian banknotes includes various denominations issued from 2000 to 2020. The Rp1,000 note was introduced in 2000, followed by the Rp5,000 note in 2001. In 2004, the Rp20,000 and Rp100,000 notes were issued, and in 2005, the Rp10,000 and Rp50,000 notes were released. 

A new denomination, the Rp2,000 note, was introduced in 2009. In 2010, a revised version of the Rp10,000 note was issued, and in 2011, revised versions of the Rp20,000, Rp50,000, and Rp100,000 notes were released. Additionally, a commemorative Rp75,000 note was issued in 2020.

Banknotes issued between 1998 and 1999 ceased to be legal tender after 31 December 2008, but they were exchangeable at Bank Indonesia until 30 December 2018. 

Older banknotes, particularly those associated with the Suharto regime (such as the 1993 and 1995 issues of the Rp50,000 note), are no longer legal tender due to the lack of modern security features. However, they could be exchanged at Bank Indonesia offices until 20 August 2010.

In daily transactions, even small amounts like bus fares are typically handled using banknotes, with the Rp1,000 coin being more common than the Rp1,000 note. 

The government had planned to replace the Rp1,000 note with the Rp2,000 note, eventually phasing out the former in favor of the equivalent coin. However, this plan was delayed and later revised.

The Rp2,000 banknotes were eventually launched by Bank Indonesia on 9 July 2009 and entered circulation the following day, but the Rp1,000 note was not withdrawn and remains in use.

Inflation and Buying Power of the Indonesian Rupiah

The Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) has experienced significant inflation over the years. According to, the inflation rate in Indonesia between 1969 and 2023 was 16,348.24%, which translates into a total increase of Rp16,348.24. 

This means that 100 rupiahs in 1969 are equivalent to 16,448.24 rupiahs in 2023. In other words, the purchasing power of Rp100 in 1969 equals Rp16,448.24 in 2023. The rupiah had an average inflation rate of 23.17% per year between 1960 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 61,982,640.73%, according to

Despite the high inflation rate, the rupiah remains the official currency of Indonesia and is widely used in the country. You can use the rupiah to purchase goods and services in Indonesia, including food, transportation, and accommodation. The rupiah is also accepted at many tourist destinations in Indonesia, such as Bali and Jakarta.

When exchanging foreign currency for rupiah, it is important to pay attention to the exchange rate. The exchange rate between the rupiah and other currencies, such as the US dollar or the euro, can fluctuate depending on various factors, including the political and economic situation in Indonesia and other countries. You can check the current exchange rate for the rupiah on websites such as

The Indonesian rupiah has experienced significant inflation over the years, but it remains the official currency of Indonesia and is widely used in the country. When exchanging foreign currency for rupiah, it is important to pay attention to the exchange rate.

Indonesian Rupiah

The 2016 series of Indonesian rupiah banknotes, introduced after Presidential Decree No. 31 on 5 September 2016, features seven denominations with unique designs, each showcasing national heroes and cultural elements.

Rp1,000 Note

Rp1,000 Note: Yellow-Grey in color, featuring Cut Nyak Meutia on the obverse and the Tifa dance, Banda Neira, and Cooktown Orchid on the reverse.

Rp2,000 Note

Rp2,000 Note: Grey, depicting Mohammad Hoesni Thamrin on the obverse, and the Piring dance, Sianok Canyon, and Mangnolia champaca on the reverse.

Rp5,000 Note

Rp5,000 Note: Light Brown, with Idham Chalid on the obverse, and the Gambyong dance, Mount Bromo, and Tuberose on the reverse.

Rp10,000 Note

Rp10,000 Note: Purple, featuring Frans Kaisiepo on the obverse, and the Pakarena dance, Wakatobi National Park, and Magnolia vrieseana on the reverse.

Rp20,000 Note

Rp20,000 Note: Light Green, showing Sam Ratulangi on the obverse, and the Gong dance, Derawan Islands, and Coelogyne pandurata on the reverse.

Rp50,000 Note

Rp50,000 Note: Blue, with Djuanda Kartawidjaja on the obverse, and the Legong dance, Komodo National Park, and Plumeria on the reverse.

Rp100,000 Note

Rp100,000 Note: Red, portraying Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta on the obverse, and the Topeng Betawi dance, Raja Ampat Islands, and Moon Orchid on the reverse.

Each note in this series is distinct in color and design, featuring a national hero, traditional dance, natural scenery, and a native flower or plant.

Currency Usage in Indonesia

The Rupiah is widely accepted throughout Indonesia, and it is the only currency that can be used to pay for goods and services in the country. You can exchange your foreign currency at banks, hotels, and money changers in Indonesia.

However, it is recommended that you exchange your currency at reputable money changers to avoid scams and counterfeit notes.

The rupiah is subdivided into 100 sen, but due to inflation, the sen is no longer used in daily transactions. Banknotes in denominations of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, and 100,000 are in circulation, along with coins in denominations of 100, 200, 500, and 1000 rupiah.

It is important to note that the rupiah is the only legal currency in Indonesia, and it is not possible to use any other currency for transactions. Therefore, it is recommended to exchange your currency for rupiah before you arrive in Indonesia.

Is USD accepted in Indonesia?

While some tourist areas may accept US dollars, it is not a widely accepted currency in Indonesia. It is best to have rupiah on hand for daily transactions, such as buying food, souvenirs, or taking public transportation.

In addition, exchanging US dollars for rupiah may not always be the most favorable exchange rate. It is recommended to exchange your currency at authorized money changers or banks to ensure you receive a fair exchange rate.

Overall, it is important to have a good understanding of the currency usage in Indonesia before you travel to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip.

Exchanging Currency in Indonesia

If you’re planning to visit Indonesia, you’ll need to exchange your currency for Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) to pay for goods and services. Here are some things to know before exchanging your currency in Indonesia.

Where can I exchange Indonesian Currency?

There are several places where you can exchange your currency for IDR in Indonesia. The most common places are at banks, money changers, and hotels.

Banks generally offer the best exchange rates, but they may charge higher fees. Money changers and hotels may offer slightly lower rates, but they may be more convenient and have longer hours.

It’s important to be cautious when exchanging money in Indonesia. Always use a reputable money changer or bank, and avoid exchanging currency on the street or from unauthorized vendors. Check the exchange rate before exchanging your money, and make sure you understand any fees or commissions that may be charged.

What to know before exchanging currency in Indonesia

Before exchanging your currency in Indonesia, there are a few things you should know. First, make sure you have a valid form of identification, such as a passport or driver’s license. You may be required to show identification when exchanging currency at a bank or money changer.

Second, be aware that some banks and money changers may not accept damaged or torn bills. Make sure your bills are in good condition before exchanging them.

Third, be prepared to wait in line when exchanging currency at a bank or money changer, especially during peak hours. It’s a good idea to bring a book or other form of entertainment to pass the time.

Finally, keep your exchanged money in a safe place, such as a wallet or money belt. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you, and be aware of your surroundings when using ATMs or exchanging money.

By following these tips, you can exchange your currency safely and efficiently in Indonesia.

Choosing Between USD and Indonesia Currency

If you’re planning a trip to Indonesia, one of the decisions you’ll need to make is whether to use USD or Indonesia Rupiah (IDR) for your transactions. Here are some factors to consider when making your choice.

Exchange Rate

The exchange rate between USD and IDR can fluctuate, so it’s important to keep an eye on it to get the best deal. You can check the current exchange rate on websites such as Xe or Wise.

Generally, it’s better to exchange your currency in Indonesia rather than in your home country, as you’ll likely get a better rate.


While USD is accepted in some tourist areas, you may find that smaller businesses only accept IDR. It’s a good idea to carry some IDR with you for small transactions, such as buying street food or souvenirs. You can withdraw IDR from ATMs, which are widely available in cities and tourist areas.


When exchanging currency, be aware of any fees or commissions charged by the exchange bureau or bank. Some ATMs may also charge a fee for withdrawals. If you plan to use your credit card, check whether your bank charges foreign transaction fees. Using a local bank account can be a cost-effective way to avoid these fees.


When exchanging currency, compare rates at different bureaus or banks to get the best deal. Carry both USD and IDR with you for convenience. Be aware of fees and commissions when exchanging currency or using ATMs. Consider opening a local bank account to avoid foreign transaction fees.

Overall, it’s important to keep in mind that the value of the IDR can fluctuate rapidly, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on exchange rates before you travel.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to carry small bills and coins with you, as many establishments may not be able to provide change for larger denominations.  With a little preparation and knowledge of the local currency, you’ll be able to navigate Indonesia’s vibrant markets and enjoy all that the country has to offer.

Cost of Living in Indonesia

If you are planning to move to Indonesia, it is essential to know the cost of living in the country. The cost of living in Indonesia is relatively low compared to other countries, making it an affordable place to live. However, it is essential to remember that the cost of living varies depending on the city you choose to live in.

The cost of living in Indonesia is affected by various factors, including housing, transportation, food, and entertainment. According to Expatistan, the estimated monthly cost of living for a family of four in Indonesia is $2,621 (Rp 41,017,563), while a single person’s estimated monthly cost is $1,424 (Rp 22,278,958).

The cost of housing in Indonesia varies depending on the city you choose to live in. For example, living in Jakarta, Bali, or other major cities will cost more than living in smaller towns or villages. However, it is still possible to find affordable housing options in the major cities if you are willing to live outside the city center.

Transportation is relatively cheap in Indonesia, with options such as buses, trains, and taxis available. If you are on a budget, public transportation is the best option, as it is affordable and reliable.

Food is also affordable in Indonesia, especially if you stick to local cuisine. Eating out at restaurants can be more expensive, but there are still affordable options available.

The cost of living in Indonesia is relatively low compared to other countries, making it an affordable place to live. However, it is essential to remember that the cost of living varies depending on the city you choose to live in and your lifestyle. With careful planning and budgeting, you can enjoy a comfortable life in Indonesia without breaking the bank.

Don’t Get Scammed Tips

When exchanging money in Indonesia, it is important to be aware of common scams. Here are some tips to avoid getting ripped off:

  1. Use reputable money changers. Look for authorized money changers with a good reputation. Avoid changing money with street vendors or unlicensed money changers.
  2. Check the exchange rate. Before exchanging money, check the current exchange rate to ensure you are getting a fair deal. You can use online currency converters or check the rate at a bank.
  3. Count your money. Always count your money before leaving the money changer. Make sure you receive the correct amount and that the bills are not counterfeit.
  4. Avoid giving out personal information. Be cautious when asked for personal information, such as your passport or ID. Only provide this information if it is required by law.
  5. Beware of distraction tactics. Some scammers may try to distract you while they switch your money with counterfeit bills. Stay alert and keep your money in sight at all times.
  6. Use ATMs. Consider using ATMs instead of money changers. ATMs are widely available in Indonesia and offer competitive exchange rates. However, be aware of skimming devices and only use ATMs located in secure areas.

By following these tips, you can avoid falling victim to money exchange scams in Indonesia.

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