You may wonder if it’s possible to have a bank account in the country you want to retire in other than your home country. If Indonesia is the country you are thinking of, the answer is yes. There are so many choices of banks in Indonesia that you may choose from. For this article, I am going to focus on banking at CIMB Niaga.
CIMB Niaga is the fourth largest bank by assets in Indonesia. It was established in 1955, and falls under the umbrella of the CIMB Group which is ranked among the top banking groups in Asia. They have a presence in all ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries, China, Hong Kong, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Korea, US, UK and more.
CIMB Niaga offers you access to a wide range of products. It’s easy to open a savings account with them in either your home country currency or in Indonesian currency. All you need to do is go to the nearest CIMB Niaga with your passport and KITAS (Temporary Residency Permit) , fill in the new account form and make an initial minimum deposit of 500k in Indonesian currency or US$ 50. Account fees will vary based on which currency your account is in. If you have a USD account the monthly administrative fee is US $1 per month; if your balance is less than US $100, there will be an additional US $2.50 fee for falling below the minimum balance (notice that this minimum balance is higher than the minimum balance required to open the account). When depositing less than US $20,000, there won’t be any fees but it will be up to 0.10% of the amount you are depositing if you put in more than that. For withdrawals, there are no fees if it’s less than US $10k and it’s 0.20% when it’s more. Meanwhile, if your savings account is in Indonesian currency, there aren’t any fees except for when your monthly balance falls under IDR 25million (which is close to US $2500), in that case you will be charged IDR12,500 (about US $1) per month.
CIMB Niaga offers competitive interest rates. They are around 0%-1.5% for Indonesian Currency savings account or 0%-0.3% for saving accounts in other currencies. If you are aiming for better interest rates, then getting a fixed time deposit is your best choice. Depending on how much money you put into it, the interest rates can be as high as 6.25% p.a. The Indonesian government has a flat tax of 20% on any interest income you make, which the bank will automatically deduct for you. The placement periods can be 1, 3, 6 or 12 months and is available in various currency. There is minimum amount to open one, which depends on the currency you open on in; for instance if you want to open one in USD currency the minimum will be $1,000. If you have a lot of money to put into a timed deposit, you can ask the staff to request a special interest rate for you when you go into the branch to set it up. This means you can get an even higher interest rate than what is currently posted after approval. However, I would suggest to setup the timed deposit online, because you will get the special interest rates no matter what if you do it this way.
Speaking of online banking, CIMB Niaga is special in that most banks in Indonesia do not have this feature at all. CIMB Niaga offers two different products for their online banking. One of them is called Go Mobile where you can access your banking services via your smartphone. You can check your balance or your transaction history, you can make online transfers, manage bill payment and purchases (e.g. cellphone credit (pulsa) top up or electricity top up). The fees charged are different based on the transaction types. To be able to use the Go Mobile feature, you can register it either at an ATM or by downloading the app to your phone. The other option is called CIMB Clicks. It’s similar to Go Mobile, but you can do more, like opening a savings or time deposit account, applying for their credit card, transferring between your own accounts or to other peoples account, etc. And like Go Mobile, the fees are based on your transactions. Registering can be done at the nearest ATM or by signing up on their website. You will need to have an active phone number registered to your bank account in order to get a security code whenever you do online transactions.
CIMB Niaga provides more interesting choices of banking products than other Indonesian banks. They have many more services than I have mentioned here. You can go to the nearest branch to find out what their latest promotions and offerings are. The longer you have an account with them, and the more the staff gets to know you, the more they will try to do for you. My experience with CIMB NIaga in North Bali, especially the one in Singaraja, has been wonderful. All of the staff speak english very well and they are all friendly and helpful.