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Forex Cards: Usage and Benefits

What is Forex card

Introduction

Considering a trip abroad? Why not simplify your currency conversion and eliminate the risks associated with carrying cash in a foreign country by using a Prepaid Forex or Travel Card?

The inconveniences associated with exchanging currency at the airport, unreliable exchange service providers, facing unfavourable exchange rates, and the potential risks of carrying cash are among the key factors prompting individuals to opt for Travel Cards. However, what exactly is a Forex Card, and how does it function? Let’s look into it.

What is Forex Card?

A Forex card, or a foreign exchange card, is designed for individuals travelling or residing abroad. This card facilitates the carrying of foreign currency during your international journeys. Depending on your destination, you can preload the card with various currencies, such as AUD, GBP, SGD, USD, and CAD. 

Forex card

Consider it a prepaid card that transforms into a debit card upon loading, enabling seamless transactions in foreign currencies. This versatile card can be utilised for expenses like dining in restaurants, attending theatres, purchasing bus or rail passes, shopping, and booking hotels. You can use the card to withdraw foreign currency from ATMs.

Types of Forex Card

Types of Forex Card

There are two types of Forex Card:

Multi-Currency Forex Card

Preloading it with multiple currencies may be possible depending on the specific card. Banks, financial institutions, and travel agencies often offer a range of cards that cater to different currencies, allowing users to load the card with the currencies relevant to their needs.

Single Currency Forex Card

The single-currency Forex card is designed to be preloaded with a specific currency of your choice. It offers the flexibility of being reloaded whenever necessary.

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How does a Forex Card Work?

These cards function similarly to your debit or credit cards. Before applying for a forex card, it’s advisable to compare the offerings of various financial institutions. You can opt for a single or multi-currency card depending on your travel requirements.

Upon issuance of the Forex card, the issuer provides you with a PIN, which you can change at the nearest ATM or via net banking. Subsequently, you can use your card overseas by swiping it at merchant establishments or utilizing it at ATMs.

After a successful transaction, the details are reflected in your overall card balance. Monitoring your transactions and balance is convenient through SMS alerts from your card issuer.

While obtaining a Forex card is a straightforward process, it’s important to note that certain charges may apply to the issuer.

Charges for Forex Card

Fees are contingent on features and card types and can differ across various issuers. It’s essential to be aware of specific charge categories, including:

  • Card Issuance Fee
  • Reload /Renewal Fee
  • Cancellation charges
  • Cash Withdrawal charges 

Benefits of Using a Forex Card

  • Start your journey with a preloaded card containing your preferred foreign currency.
  • Forex Cards accommodates widely used currencies like USD, GBP, CAD, EUR, AUD, SGD, etc.
  • Dispense with the necessity of carrying large sums of cash while travelling internationally.
  • Utilise the card for transactions at all locations accepting card payments.
  • Conveniently withdraw local currency from foreign ATMs using the same card.
  • Reload the card at your convenience through online channels whenever you choose.

What should you look for in a Forex Card?

Exchange Rate

Since the rate is fixed when you load your preferred currency, seek a card with the most competitive exchange rate.

Reload Facility

Your Forex card must feature an online transfer or ‘reload’ option for situations where you might exhaust funds while travelling. This is a significant distinguishing factor.

Multi-Currency Benefit

If your journey involves visiting multiple countries, this feature is particularly advantageous and simplifies your experience.

Safety Features

Opt for a chip-enabled Forex card to enhance security and safeguard against fraud, loss, theft, or misuse – making it the preferred choice.

Special Offers

Numerous card issuers, particularly banks, extend perks such as discounts, access to airport lounges, and shopping offers. Assessing and comparing these features is a prudent approach.

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Do’s and don’ts of a Forex Card

Do’s and don'ts of a Forex Card

Here are some do’s and don’ts of using a Forex Card:

Do’sDon’t’s
Safeguard your card and PIN by keeping them secure.Refrain from sharing your card or PIN with anyone.
Regularly monitor the exchange rate and check your card balance.Avoid using your card at unsecured or suspicious merchant outlets.
Regularly monitor the exchange rate and check your card balance.Do not exceed the daily withdrawal limit.
Inform the issuer if your travel plans include a country not covered by your card’s currency list.Exercise caution when using your card for pre-authorized transactions like car rentals or hotel bookings, as this may result in a prolonged hold on your funds.

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Best Forex Credit Cards of India in 2024

Best Forex Credit Cards of India in 2024

Here are a few best-curated forex credit cards in 2024:

Card NameJoining FeeTravel BenefitsForeign Currency
Mark-up
Niyo Global Card by Equitas BankNil Load in INR, spend in 130+ currencies worldwide.
No forex markup charges.
Access global ATM locators and live forex rates with currency converters.
Nil
IndusInd Bank Multi-Currency CardRs. 300 Extensive insurance and numerous travel perks.
Free airport rides (up to Rs. 1,000).Up to Rs. 3,000 off on sightseeing, experiences, and activities.
No markup on preloaded currency transactions.
Cross-currency transactions incur a 3.5% mark-up.
ICICI Bank Forex Prepaid CardRs 499Nil3.5% of Cross currency markup fee
SBI Multi-Currency Foreign Travel CardRs 100, plus taxes Load the card with 7 foreign currencies.
No markup on transactions in the preloaded currency.
HDFC Multi-Currency Forex cardRs 500 plus GST Load 22 currencies on one card.
Utilizes contactless technology.
Enables currency shuffling between two.
Offers extra insurance and concierge services.
Shields users from foreign exchange rate fluctuations.
Nil
Kotak Forex CardRs 250, inclusive of GST East spreading in abroad
Hassle free cash withdrawal
Elimination the need of currency exchange
Thomas Cook Forex CardNil Benefit from competitive exchange rates with a Forex travel card.
Save money on currency conversion charges
Ideal for business travellers with multiple transactions in various currencies
2% currency mark-up
Axis Bank Forex CardRs 150 Earn 2 reward points for every $5 spent globally
TripAssist allows blocking, emergency cash, and assistance for lost passport
Enjoy 3 lakh insurance coverage on lost/stolen and counterfeit cards
Use the card at 30 million VISA outlets, 1,000+ e-commerce sites, and 10 lakh ATMs worldwide
After the trip, encash the balance, transfer to another account, or retain (up to $2,000) for future travels.
Nil

Conclusion

A reliable Forex card ensures a worry-free and seamless travel experience. It eliminates concerns about currency exchange issues while abroad. Additionally, many forex card providers present enticing offers, including cash-back incentives, discounts, waived withdrawal fees, and more.

Forex cards prove to be highly convenient. For further information, it is recommended to consult with a Forex card provider to address any remaining questions or concerns.

FAQs

How long does it take to get a Forex card?

Apply effortlessly in three simple steps. Non-Savings customers can follow the instructions provided in the online Forex Card application form. Upon successful completion, your card will be delivered to your doorstep within three days. Opting for card personalization may extend the delivery time to one week.

How to apply for a Forex card?

You can apply for a forex card, with these simple steps:

  • The application form for the bank you’re applying for a forex card, it also requires the mandatory inclusion of your Aadhaar number.
  • Include a self-attested photocopy of your passport.
  • For non-customers, provide a self-attested photocopy of either the visa or ticket.

Can online transactions be done with a Forex Card?

Yes, forex cards can be used for online transactions and will not attract any cross-currency charges when used abroad..

Which bank Forex card is best?

List of the Best 10 Forex Cards in India for International Payments:

  • Niyo Global Forex Card
  • World Traveller Forex Card by Axis Bank
  • Axis Bank Multi Currency Card
  • Diners Card by Axis Bank
  • Forex Card by Thomas Cook
  • Multi Currency Forex Card by IndusInd Bank
  • Single Currency Forex Card by ICICI Bank
  • ISIC Student Forex Card by HDFC Bank
  • Foreign Travel Card by SBI
  • Multi Currency Forex Card by YES Bank

Can I withdraw money from a Forex card?

You can use a forex card in the same way as a credit or debit card to cover your expenses in the local currency while abroad. Access local cash conveniently from ATMs. 

By having a forex card in your possession, there’s no need to carry large amounts of cash during your sightseeing excursions in a foreign country.

Can we transfer money from a Forex card to my bank account?

Certainly, it is possible to transfer money from a forex card to a bank account. The process involves preparing necessary documents and following a step-by-step procedure to initiate a money transfer from your forex card.

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Karla brings over 16+ years of experience in the online brokerage industry. She is a finance graduate from Birmingham University, UK, and a forex market enthusiast. Being a true writing fanatic, she pens research-backed reviews for traders to analyse trading strategies and indicators. She has also authored a wide range of educational articles covering the forex industry. Karla is quite interested in checking brokerage companies and studying their performance and growth. Her aim is to describe complex investment mechanisms in an accessible way for traders of any level. Apart from finance, her interests mainly include reading books, fitness, and writing in her journal. Karla believes in the power of writing and wants to write for every layman who knows nothing about finance.
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