Comparing the best forex cards in India? Here's what you should choose
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Comparing the best forex cards in India? Here's what you should choose

Manisha Ramawat

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If you're reading this blog, we bet you would have googled "best forex cards in India" at least once. And, if you've searched it more than once, there's one thing we'd like to say to you - you're not alone!

Moving to the U.S. is a life-changing experience, and you need to be well-prepared from all aspects to have a smooth transition as soon as you touch down and begin your first week in the U.S. One factor that tops the list is getting an international card that allows you to access cross-country currencies. This is where cards like Forex come into play and precisely for two reasons -

  • They are immensely popular; your uncle in Chicago or your friend who visited California last year must have used it and recommended it to you.
  • They have flexible options, one that suits both an international student or a working professional traveling abroad.

But back home, things look different - since Forex cards are not the preferred option for daily transactions and have multiple options to choose from, it becomes difficult for students to choose the one that's best for them.

We did a little homework and analyzed the best forex cards in India and did a detailed forex card comparison to make it easy for you. In this article, you get to know all about what a forex card is, how a forex card work, the multiple options you have, along with the pros and cons of each card. So, let's begin!

What is a Forex card?

If you are wondering what a forex card is, it is a travel card to load up your money and transact in a foreign country. You can accept the destination country's currency in a digital form before you travel, and transact with a forex card as soon as you land abroad. So, how does a forex card work? It typically works like a debit card or a credit card. However, in the case of a forex card, the amount is debited from your Forex Card balance. You can use the card to withdraw cash from all Visa ATMs around the world. Another thing that you might be curious about is forex card charges. There are quite a few kinds of fees and charges usually associated with forex cards such as card issue, reload, card reissue fees, transaction charges, and cross-currency charges. These forex card charges vary from one financial institution to another.

Choosing your forex card from the best forex cards in India might be tricky, as some offer single currency options while some offer multi-currency ones. Some are designed for frequent travelers, and some are ideal for students. Selecting the forex card most suitable for your needs and preferences would require a meticulous analysis and an elaborate forex card comparison.

Best Forex Cards in India

Thomas Cook Forex Card

As a renowned player in the travel space, Thomas Cook offers not only one of the best forex cards in India, but also various travel-related financial services encompassing foreign exchange, corporate travel, visa, passport, and insurance services. Its forex cards come in two variants - Borderless prepaid card and One currency card.

The Borderless prepaid card is designed for those who frequently travel, enabling you to load eight different currencies (USD, AUD, Euro, British Pounds, Swiss Francs, CAD, Singapore Dollars, Japanese Yen) onto a single card. The second variant, One currency card, enables you to load USD and comes with zero currency conversion charges.

At a glance -

Pros

Cons

Back up card at zero cost and free replacement of stolen or lost cards

Comes with an initial load and issuance fee, and reload fees

Airport loyalty program - where you can earn points on your purchases at North American airports

Borderless prepaid cards come with a high cross currency conversion fee of 4.25%

5-year validity with maximum top of $10,000 and a minimum of $100


Axis Bank Forex Cards

Axis bank offers a wide range of forex cards (five different offerings), where each is designed to cater to the needs of different types of travelers. While some of its offerings allow you to load only one currency, Axis bank multi-currency forex card enables you to load cash in sixteen currencies. Few other impressive features of Axis bank multi-currency forex card include being unaffected by currency fluctuations and being valid for several international trips. What makes this one of the best forex cards in India is that you can use it in all the countries across the globe (only for foreign travelers), except China, Bhutan, and Nepal. The charges incurred depend on the country you are traveling to.

At a glance -

Pros

Cons

5 year validity for the card, and can be applied without the need of an Axis bank account

Comes with additional fees for signing up, reloading and cash withdrawals (other than Axis Bank ATMs)

One of the best forex card for students, as it offers complimentary benefits for them

The cross currency conversion fee stands at 3.5%

Earn points at merchant outlets

Inactivity fee (36 months) of $5

HDFC Forex Cards

HDFC offers a variety of forex card options that cater to the needs of both frequent travelers and one-time travelers. The bank has four different forex card offerings and remains one of the few banks with a student-centric card. HDFC forex card is easily one of the best forex cards in India. Be it holidays, personal visits, business travel, immigration, employment-related, travel for medical treatment, or study travel - HDFC has a card for every scenario.

At a glance -

Pros

Cons

Non-HDFC banking clients can apply

Comes with a considerable issuance and reloading fee 

The ISIC ForexPlus students card is accepted as a identification card for students across the globe


Multi-currency Forex card offer the least cross currency fee as compared to its peers


Regalia Forex Plus card comes with waivers on ATM access fee or ownership charges


IndusInd Forex Cards

The IndusInd bank has launched its Indus Multi-Currency Forex Card, which boasts of its enhanced security features and can enable you to load eight widely used currencies across the world. If you are a frequent traveler, managing multiple currencies with an IndusInd card is relatively simple compared to its peers.

At a glance -

Benefits

Concerns

Comes with a paired kit option, equipping you with a backup card in case you lose the primary one

Inactivity (18 months) fees of $3 per quarter

An IndusInd bank account is not needed to get its forex card

Cross currency conversion fees stand at 3.5%

Two free ATM withdrawals per currency per month

Inactivity fee (36 months) of $5

Enhanced fraud protection


Niyo Global Card

Niyo has associated with DCB bank to bring a tech-enabled, modern experience for its users. The Niyo global card is one of the best forex cards for students who want to access their card and convert money anyplace, anytime!

What’s not so cool is the signing up process that requires a physical visit in one of the Niyo service-enabled cities.

At a glance -

Pros

Cons

Can be used in over 90 currencies

Limited to few Indian cities

Can load cash to your Niyo Global card from your INR account

Comes with additional charges and visa exchange rates

As a student, what are my other options?

Though forex cards may be pretty popular in various countries, they are often opted by individuals who cannot qualify for a credit card or a debit card through a traditional checking account. Forex cards may be an ideal option for short-term, frequently traveling individuals who do not qualify for a bank account or have bad or nonexistent credit.

Prepaid cards or forex cards are generally more expensive to use than a debit card or checking account. As a student, you will have more convenient options like a checking account or a credit card with exclusive benefits. Unlike frequent travelers, as a student, you will be living in the destination country for a substantial amount of time. It is better to take advantage of various benefits its banking system may have to offer.

If you are traveling to countries that thrive on a credit-based economy like the U.S., credit cards are a more viable option where you can save more and be liable to additional privileges as you spend.

You can always sign up to Zolve if you’re planning to pursue your higher education in the U.S. and require a US education loan or high-limit US credit card that covers you for your daily expenses with a host of amazing benefits such as zero annual fees, no SSN requirement and foreign transaction fee.

Frequently Asked Questions on Forex Cards in India

1.Do I need a bank account for forex card?

You do not necessarily need to have a bank account to get a forex card. You can get it from a bank or even money changers who are also referred to as authorised forex dealers.

2. Is HDFC forex card good?

HDFC forex card, like most forex cards, offers the safest and a hassle-free way to carry money during your international trips. It can be used for transactions in many popular foriegn currencies, protects you from fluctuations in exchange rates, making it one of the best forex cards in India.

3. What are the few things that one should consider before taking a forex card?

It is important to learn about all the different types of forex cards so you can opt for the most suitable forex card. It is highly recommended to do a considerable amount research and compare the forex card rates provided by various banks and authorised forex dealers before choosing a forex card. You must also be aware of all the charges associated with forex cards.

4. Which is better international debit card or forex card?

Forex card is a better option when compared to an international debit card as the former offers protection against currency fluctuations, has less transaction fees and allows you to set a expense limit.

5. Can I transfer money from forex card to Indian bank account?

As per the rules and regulations set by Reserve Bank of India, you cannot transfer Forex card balance directly into other accounts.