Comparing the best forex cards in India. Choose wisely
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Comparing the best forex cards in India. Choose wisely

Manisha Ramawat

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If you're here, 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 - you're not alone!

Moving to the US is a life-changing experience, and you need to be well-prepared in all aspects to have a smooth transition as soon as you touch down and begin your first week in the US.

One factor that tops the list is getting an international card that allows you to access cross-country currencies. It is where cards like Forex come into play and precisely for two reasons -

  • They are prevalent; your uncle in Chicago or your friend who visited California last year must have used it and recommended it.
  • They have flexible options that suit international students and professionals travelling abroad.

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

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

What is a Forex card?

It is a travel card to load up your money and transact in a foreign country. You can accept the destination country's currency digitally 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 worldwide.

Another thing that you might be curious about is forex card charges. Many charges are usually associated with forex cards, such as card issue, card 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 a detailed 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 for by individuals who cannot qualify for a credit card or a debit card through a traditional checking account. Forex cards may be ideal for short-term, frequently traveling individuals who do not qualify for a bank account or have bad or nonexistent credit.

Prepaid or forex cards are generally more expensive than debit cards or checking accounts. 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 its banking system's various benefits.

If you travel to countries that thrive on a credit-based economy like the US, 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 US and require a US education loan, or you need a high-limit US credit card that covers your daily expenses with a host of amazing benefits such as 0 annual fees, no SSN requirement and 0 foreign transaction fee. Zolve also offers an introductory offer of 0% APR(interest rate) for 6 months.* Not only this, you get cash backs upto 10% on 10k+ merchants every time you swipe a Zolve Credit Card.

Zolve helps you set up life in a new country. Trusting Zolve in your new journey is as safe as trusting your loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions on Forex Cards in India

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

You do not necessarily need 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 authorized forex dealers.

2. Is the HDFC forex card good?

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

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

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

4. Which is better: an international debit card or a forex card?

A 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 an expense limit.

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

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