Forex cards are a convenient, safe and smart way to carry and spend money while travelling abroad. Forex card is a pre-paid traveller’s card that is easy to use. It offers you the flexibility of using it at merchant locations as well as withdrawing money from ATMs. It can be easily reloaded even when you are travelling. Cards offer greater security and increased protection against theft.
The above two questions a traveller need to answer while planning a trip abroad. Though cash is the most preferred way but using only it is not advisable, especially if the trip is going to be long. There are few other ways one can carry forex – traveller’s cheques, which are mostly now out of use due to inconvenience of finding banks/dealers to change the same; plastic money in form of debit /credit
cards and prepaid forex cards, also known as prepaid travel cards or multi-currency cards. Using an international debit /credit card is fine but it is expensive. For sum spent abroad utilizing Indian debit/ credit Card, the expense will contrast contingent upon guarantor, vendor and money, however would comprises of charges extending from 3.50% to 5.00%; and if credit card is used for withdrawal of foreign currency from ATMs abroad an additional withdrawal charge of 2% to 5% depending on the issuer and servicing bank of ATM is levied.
A prepaid forex card can be loaded with multiple currencies. A person travelling to multiple countries should load multiple currencies as per their need in the same forex card, which in banking parlance is called having multiple wallets in the same card. This will enable the traveller to save a lot on cross currency conversion charges (which is approx. 3%) and exchange fluctuation; because they have the advantage of paying in local currency of visiting nation.
The maximum amount which can be loaded on a travel card is equivalent of US $ 2.5 lakh per annum for the purposes covered under LRS scheme notified by RBI.
Forex cards are issued on either visa or mater card platform. So it is immaterial who is the issuer of the card. Looking into the features, again are more or less same, offered by various issuing banks. One differentiator is the whether destination currency is available on the card or not. But the major differentiator is the rate applied and after sales service. Zenith Forexonline.com stocks cards of multiple banks and provide the best rates for forex cards due to their tie-ups with banks and forex risk management capabilities.
Apart from the usual benefits of using plastic money, Forex cards have some specific advantages as listed below:
Wide Acceptance :- Forex cards are widely accepted at all departmental stores - small, medium or large, Restaurants or railways etc. Travel Cards are issued on visa card/master card platform.
Load Multiple currencies :- One can load multiple currencies on a single multi-currency forex card. Altogether 16 currencies are presently available for loading on a single prepaid travel card. You can re-load your forex card while on travel by choosing reload card option in our portal.
Inexpensive :- One should plan in advance to buy foreign currency in card or cash to avoid last minute rush and pay more. This will give them an opportunity to load the forex card multiple times and average out the cost. As the conversion happens on the day of loading, prepaid forex cards provides a hedge against currency fluctuations.
Lower Charges :- Forex mark up fees and charges do not apply in case of prepaid travel cards and makes it much cheaper when compared to international debit/credit cards , where the charges varies from 3% to 5%. There is absolutely no charges when travel cards are swiped at POS terminal abroad. ATM withdrawal charges applies in both credit card or forex card. However, we waive off first 3 ATM charges over a minimum loading of forex card. To avail the same one must avoid using ATMs which displays any charges to be levied by the servicing bank (i.e the service provider of ATM).
Safe:- In the event of loss or theft of card, it can be blocked by calling the toll free number available in the card-kit. All forex cards now use the chip and pin technology.
The manual available in the card kit should be thoroughly read before using the card. Forex as such is closely regulated in India and Bank needs to adhere to all the suggestion and guidance given by RBI while offering their services related to foreign exchange. As such forex cards are also regulated by the same FEMA guidelines and the issuer of cards need to follow the regulations while keeping the interest and safety of travellers.
Fees and Charges:- A through perusing of the user manuals accessible will give clear thought on expenses and accuses related of the card. Although swiping at POS is free, ATM withdrawal charges may apply. Never use ATMs abroad to check the balance /statement and always use net banking to check balance on your card to avoid charges. The web pin is made available in the card kit.
Swipe in the same currency as loaded :- Always pay in the same currency that is available in your card at all merchant POS to avoid any cross currency charges. If the card has filled in with multiple currencies, ensure that you have sufficient balance for the currency that is being charged. For example – If you have both USD and EUR on your card and you are paying your hotel bill in Germany. Ensure that the billing is done in EUR and charged on your card. Secondly you must have enough EUR in the card to pay off the bill else your USD wallet will get automatically charged and cross currency charges will get applied. Cross currency charges varies from 2% to 4%.
Keep and use your forex card safely :- International frauds in cards through skimming is well known. User should make sure that the card is swiped and charged in front of him.
At the outset, decide on the total quantity of forex that is required and how much to take in cash and balance in card. Check whether the destination currency is available on the card or not. Check the rates online and the offers available on cards.
We can provide the best rates and offers on forex cards due to our arrangements with multiple banks. Best option is to apply online for forex card, which can be delivered or picked from any of our branch locations available in more than 20 cities in India.
Forex Cards usually have a validity of 5 years. Depending on need, you can load different currencies on same card. Reloading of travel card or addition of new currencies can be done before leaving the country or even when you are travelling.
Just select the “Reload Forex Card” on our Home page and follow the steps. Scan copy of the relevant Reload form need to be sent which is downloadable from the order confirmation mail or final Successful Transaction page.
• Self-attested copy of passport
• Copy of visa
• Copy of Air ticket
• Self-attested copy of PAN card.
Forex cards are very convenient and economical way to carry foreign exchange while travelling abroad. But before buying the same one must check if the destination currency is available on card or not. If destination currency is not available on card it may turn out to be expensive. Secondly the most important part is to carry good amount of destination foreign currency in cash form to avoid exchange loss at airports. Use the forex card maximum and preserve the cash as it fetches better encashment rates as compared to leftover balance in cards.