Bank Indonesia cracks down on unauthorized money changers, many of which are in Bali

Indonesian Rupiah. Photo: AFP
Indonesian Rupiah. Photo: AFP

Bank Indonesia, the country’s central bank says it is cracking down on unauthorized money changers across the country, many of which have been operating in Bali.

Money changers were given an ultimatum to go legit and get officially licensed by April 7, 2017, according to Eni V. Panggabean, BI executive director of Payment System Policy and Oversight Department.

The bank gave money changers the opportunity to apply for free licenses since Oct. 2016, but after the deadline, rule-breakers were met with a max punishment of getting shut down or a Rp 1 billion fine.

Before its deadline, BI says it identified 184 offenders who were working without the permit: 95 were disciplined; 71 were shut down; and 18 applied for permits from BI.

Of all the provinces, Bali had the most offenders, according to Panggabean.

Licensed money changers have a ‘KUPVA BB’ (licensed money changer) logo present on site and have to report their transactions back to the bank on a monthly basis. Last year, BI launched a website mapping out money changers with KUPVA BB across Bali.

Whereas, moneychangers that BI found unlicensed were sealed with a sticker, indicating that the shop is no longer operational. Removing or damaging the sticker is a criminal offense, says Panggabean.

While keeping tourists from getting ripped off is a huge part of the money changer ‘clean up,’ BI’s motives go beyond that. The bank is also targeting corrupt officials, money launderers, tax evaders, drug smugglers, and other parties who use money changers to move money in the country.

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