Best Forex Cards in India

By | May 19, 2024

I am updating the list of forex cards for your upcoming international travel in 2023.

Sharing my personal experience as an international tourist.

  • I use credit cards instead of forex cards for international shopping because I earn reward points and cashback on credit cards.
  • I carry some foreign currency cash and Indian currency cash on my international trips. It’s easy to find forex conversion shops in international tourist destinations where INR can be converted to foreign currency at a good conversion rate.
  • I withdraw foreign cash from an international ATM using my Indian debit card.

The short answer is that I do not use forex cards and you can also manage without a forex card if you are holding premium credit and debit cards that do not charge high forex transaction charges.

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Carrying a forex card makes sense for students and travelers who do not have premium credit cards.

Forex cards are issued independently by popular banks like HDFC, ICICI, Axis, IndusInd and SBI.

Forex cards are also issued by private companies by collaborating with banks like Thomas Cook, Niyo Global, Wise, MakeMyTrip and BookMyForex.

For your quick reference, here is the list of the best forex cards in India

  1. Niyo Global Forex Card
  2. Makemytrip Tripmoney Global Cash Card
  3. IndusInd Bank Multi Currency Forex Card
  4. BookMyForex Forex Card
  5. HDFC Multicurrency Forex Card
  6. Axis Bank Multicurrency Forex Card
  7. ICICI Bank Student Forex Card

 

Best Forex Cards in India

#1. Niyo Global Forex Card – Forex Card With Zero Markup

Niyo has partnered with DCB bank to provide a forex card with zero markup fees. You can get this card if Niyo is present in your city.

Niyo is best forex card for Indian students because of zero forex loading charges.

Fees and Charges

  • Card issuance fee – NIL
  • Reload fee – Nil
  • Currency conversion charges – Nil
  • International ATM* (Cash Withdrawal and Balance Enquiry) – 100 + GST

Benefits of Niyo Global Forex Card

  • 5% interest on this saving amount
  • 5% TCS is charged if total shopping transactions exceeding ₹7 lakhs in a given financial year – 5% tax on per transaction

 

#2. Makemytrip Tripmoney Global Cash Card – Forex Card

TripMoney has partnered with SBM Bank India to launch a Global forex card, powered by Visa. You can load money in INR and spend globally in 150+ countries.

Makemytrip Tripmoney Global Forex card is best suited for Indian travelers with zero forex markup fee, lifetime free validity, and 100% digital in-app card management.

Fees and Charges

  • Card issuance fee – Nil
  • Annual fee – Nil
  • Reload fee – Nil
  • Currency conversion charges – Nil
  • Balance enquiry fee – Nil (in app)
  • Domestic ATM balance enquiry- Rs. 10
  • International ATM balance enquiry- Rs. 255
  • Domestic ATM cash withdrawal– Not allowed
  • International ATM cash withdrawal – Rs. 450

Benefits of Makemytrip Tripmoney Global Forex card

  • No currency conversion charges
  • Load in INR & spend Globally in 150+ countries
  • Complimentary membership of MMT (MakeMyTrip) BLACK and GoTribe
  • Discounts upto Rs. 70,000/- on MakeMyTrip and Goibibo
  • Fully digital card application & management

#3. IndusInd Bank Multi Currency Forex card

IndusInd Bank Multi Currency Forex card has an entrenched chip that makes your transactions secure and easy. This card also offers currency withdrawals from all VISA ATMs, protection against currency fluctuations, and easy online banking.

IndusInd Bank Multi Currency Forex card is specially designed for the frequent international travellers who travel across different countries. You can load 14 currencies to your card to spend in different countries.

Fee & Charges

  • Issuance fee – Rs 300
  • Re-issuance of Card fee – Rs.100
  • Reload Fee – Rs 100
  • Cross Currency Fee – 3.5% mark up
  • Inactivity fee – USD 3.00 per quarter after 18 months of inactivity

Benefits of Indus Multi Currency Forex Card

  • You can use this coupon code “AIRPORTC” for waive off card issuance fee.
  • Recieve an Uber voucher worth 500 or 1000 when you load funds below 1 lakh or above 1 lakh respectively.
  • Hassle free refund process.
  • Get instant alerts for all the transaction made through your Forex card to avoid fraud.

#4. BookMyForex Forex Card

BookMyForex Multi Currency Prepaid forex card is powered by Visa forex card in partnership with YesBank. You can load/reload your forex card with 14 currencies at zero margin rates. You will also enjoy free insurance coverage upto Rs. 1,50,000 against lost card liability, counterfeit, and skimming.

BookMyForex forex card is the best option for both students and tourists because of zero margin loading rates and don’t want to spend money on card issuance fees.

Fee & Charges

  • Issuance Fee – Nil
  • Reload Fee – Nil
  • Refund Fee – Nil
  • Cross Currency Fee – 3.5% of transaction value
  • Inactivity Fee – USD 5 (Inactive period 12 months)

Benefits of Yes Multi-Currency Forex Card  

  • Contactless payments
  • Zero loading/ unloading charges
  • Fastest transfers – funds received abroad in 12-48 hours
  • Get card lost insurance coverage free upto 1.5 lakh.

#5. HDFC Multi Currency Platinum Forex Card

If you’re planning a trip that involves multiple countries, consider the HDFC Multicurrency Forex Card. With this card, you can load up to 22 currencies at a currency fee of 2%, which is the least possible fee and travel globally without any hassle.

You get the free insurance cover worth Rs.5 lakh that protects your forex card against any misuse due to counterfeiting or skimming.

Fee & Charges

  • Issuance Fee – Rs 500 (waived off when you load $1,000)
  • Reload Fee – Rs 75
  • Re-issuance Fee – Rs 100
  • Cross Currency Fee – 2% mark up

Benefits of HDFC Multi-Currency Forex Card

  • Issuance fee will be waived off if you load minimum USD1000 (or equivalent currency).
  • Get Amazon Voucher worth Rs. 1000 if you load/reload your HDFC Bank Forex Card through HDFC Bank Debit card with Rs. 1 lakh.
  • Least cross currency fee.
  • You can add money to your forex card easily through net banking.

#6. Axis Bank Multi Currency Forex Card

Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card allows you to lock in exchange rates before you travel. This means you won’t have to pay any cross-currency charges and make your payments in other countries at the same rate you had loaded/reloaded your forex card.

You can use this prepaid foreign currency card in 16 countries.

Fee & Charges

  • Issuance Fee – Rs 300
  • Reload Fee – Rs 100
  • Add-on Card Fee – Rs 100
  • Cross Currency Fee – 3.5%

Benefits of Axis Multi-Currency Forex Card  

  • Get 3 lakh insurance coverage on the lost/stolen and counterfeit cards.
  • Get up to Rs.1,000 off on your Vodafone international roaming pack when you load/reload the Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card.
  • You can swipe your forex card at over 80 million merchant outlets and 1000 e-commerce websites.
  • Withdraw cash at any VISA/Mastercard ATMs across the world.

You may like to read about – best forex brokers in India

#7. ICICI Bank Student Forex Card

ICICI Bank Student Forex Prepaid Card is specifically designed for students who are planning to study abroad. The best thing about this card is that you can reload it at any of the ICICI Forex branches, their online platform-Forex@Click, or through their iMobile app.

Fee & Charges

  • Joining fee – Rs.499
  • Annual fee – Rs.199 (from the second year onwards)
  • Reissue card – Free for 1st time
  • Reload fee – Rs. 100
  • Cross currency charges – 3.5%

Benefits of ICICI Student Forex Card

  • You receive an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) membership of Rs.590.
  • Get a card protection plus insurance worth Rs.1,600.
  • Enjoy a 40% discount on your excess baggage.
  • Get 20% discount on courier service by DHL.
  • Get a lost card/counterfeit card liability coverage of up to Rs.5 lakh.

Understand the different types of charges on forex conversion.

  1. Forex Rate. Check the latest foreign conversion rate on xe.com. Banks charge you a higher rate for selling you foreign currency. If USD to INR rate is showing Rs. 80 then expect the bank to charge you Rs. 82 or 83.
  2. Forex Conversion Charges. Most credit cards and debit cards charge 3.5% of the transaction amount. Some premium credit cards like HDFC Infinia, Standard Chartered Ultimate and Axis Magnus charge 2% forex markup.
  3. ATM Withdrawal Charges. Don’t use credit cards to withdraw cash from ATMs to avoid high interest and charges. Use a debit card or forex card to withdraw cash from a foreign ATM. Expect flat fees per ATM transaction in the range of Rs. 400 to 1000.

Here are some interesting points related to Forex Travel Cards

  • Banks issue forex travel cards at very low cost (Rs 150- 500).
  • The card will be loaded with foreign currency at today’s exchange rate. So you don’t have to worry about fluctuating currency rates.
  • Currency conversion fees is included in the price. HDFC bank charges least fee @ 2%.
  • You will not be charged any additional fees for purchases in shops and stores.
  • You can withdraw money from any ATM across the globe but will have to pay charges for cash withdrawal from an international ATM.
  • You cannot top-up the forex card abroad even if your bank has a branch there. You will have to contact the centre that has issued the card. A few banks provide option to reload your wallet through net banking.
  • As per RBI regulation, you cannot keep more than $10000 USD or equivalent currency in your forex card.

Forex card vs International Debit/Credit card

If you compare forex card with an international debit or credit card, forex card is much better option than the other two for the following reasons

  • It is easy to apply and get as compared to the credit cards.
  • You can load multiple foreign currencies in one card for use abroad which is not possible with debit/credit card.
  • No currency conversion charges for shopping abroad by swiping forex cards.
  • Lower issuance fee.
  • Can get a replacement card without affecting your funds in case of loss or theft.
  • Lesser currency conversion fee charged.
  • Fixed exchange rate even in case of currency fluctuations in the forex market.

Conclusion (Which Forex Card is best for you)

You might have made your decision of which forex card is best for you depending upon your requirements. Incase, you are still confused after reading all the information, you can go through my below recommendations and chose what is right for you.

If you are looking for maximum currency wallets, lowest cross- currency charges, and a relatively lower loading charges then go for HDFC Bank Multi Currency Forex Plus Chip.

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