Last updated: 28 Dec 2020
Are you planning to travel abroad and confused about which travel card should you buy? The article aims to present a comparative analysis of top forex cards that are the most trusted ones in India.
What is a Forex Card?
A Forex Card which is also called as Travel Card or Prepaid Travel Card can be your best friend while travelling abroad! A travel card is one of the most convenient, most secure and the cheapest medium to carry foreign exchange and pay your expenses overseas. Like a debit card, you can simply load the currency of the country that you are travelling in and use it as and when required. You can also withdraw cash from the local ATM of the country.
Types of Forex Cards
There are mainly two types of forex cards:
1. Single currency forex card: The single currency forex card can be preloaded with one unique currency, as the name implies. It is possible to reload the card as and when necessary.
2. Multi-currency forex card: Depending on the card selected, this card can be preloaded with several currencies. In case you are travelling to more than one country, this card will be useful in that case.
Top Forex Cards in India
- BookMyForex Travel Card
- Axis Bank Forex Card
- HDFC Bank Forex Card
- ICICI Bank Forex Card
BookMyForex Travel Card Features
In order to provide a seamless spending experience for the people travelling abroad, BookMyForex has recently come up with its own forex card. The card has been launched in partnership with Yes Bank and Visa.
Features and Benefits of BookMyForex Travel Card
- Multi-Currency Card: BookMyForex Travel Card allows you to load multiple currencies on the same card. So travellers planning to go to multiple destinations abroad do not need to carry separate forex cards. BookMyForex card allows you to load as many as 16 currencies on the same card.
- Zero-Margin Rates: This is one of the best features of the prepaid travel card launched by BookMyForex. Now, you can load or reload your forex card at zero margins i.e without paying any layer of margin over the interbank rates.
Unlike forex cards of other banks which are usually sold at 1-3% higher rates than the interbank rate which may result in a hefty amount charged in the form of exchange margin, BookMyForex Travel Card comes with the feature of loading the card at exact interbank rates.
- Contactless Payment: Equipped with the latest technology, the forex card allows the user to make a contactless payment with a single tap at POS (Point of Sale) terminal. The contactless payment feature does not just provide easeful usage but has also become significant because certain overseas merchants only allow contactless payments.
- Instant Notification Feature: Users of BookMyForex Prepaid Travel Card can receive real-time notifications on alerts on your transactions and also view the INR equivalents of the spending amount. This allows the customer to track the currency wise forex card balance.
- Direct Block Facility: In case you have lost your card or receive a notification of a suspicious transaction, you can directly block your card instantly without calling to the customer service support. This feature enhances the safety and security features of the forex cards.
- Encash Facility on Return: Choose your option refill or refund or transfer to a dollar account. When you return from your trip, you can choose to
- Encash the balance on your card.
- Transfer it to a Resident Foreign Currency Domestic Account
- Let the balance on your Card(up to $2000 as per RBI Regulation) remain so that you can use it for any future trips
- Avail of our exclusive offers to shop online at various outlets.
BookMyForex Travel Card vs Other Bank Forex Card: A Comparative Analysis
|Parameter||BookMyForex Prepaid Card||Other Bank Forex Card|
|Load/Unload at Zero-Margin||Available||Not Available|
|Issuance Fee||Zero fee||₹350 and above|
|Contactless Payment||Available for free||Available but at extra cost|
|Direct Block Feature||Available||Not Available|
Axis Bank Forex Card Features
Features & Benefits of Axis Bank Forex Card
- Multi-Currency Card: Axis Bank forex card allows you to load multiple currencies on the same card, thus eliminating the need to carry multiple cards for different destinations.
- Contactless Forex Card: The axis bank forex card is powered by Visa’s payWave technology which allows you to pay by simply ‘waving’ your card. With a secure, contactless CHIP technology, you can save time at the cash counter.
- Customized Design Feature: Axis bank also provides you with the choice to design your own travel card with a personalized image of your choice or one from the unique designs available in the image gallery
- Emergency Assistance Facility: In case of loss/theft of your Forex Card or wallet/baggage, you can get assistance with just one call! You can:
- Block the Forex Card
- Get emergency cash to pay hotel bills and/or for return flights
- Receive assistance on the lost passport
- Get emergency cash delivery
- Insurance Coverage: The card comes with insurance coverage facility with the following features:
- Lost/stolen/counterfeit cards up to Rs.3,00,000. ATM Withdrawal in case of the lost or stolen card is not covered under the current policy.
- ATM assault and robbery up to Rs.60,000, including the expenses incurred towards medical treatment (Please note: A FIR is mandatory for ATM assault and robbery claim)
- Card Validity: The Forex Card is valid for 5 years, during which you can reload it and use it for multiple trips.
- Notification Alerts Facility: Register your international mobile number and e-mail address to get instant alerts for every transaction.
HDFC Bank Forex Card Features
The HDFC Forex card works just like a Credit Card, but the transaction amount is debited directly from your HDFC Forex card balance. Your HDFC Forex card works at all Merchant Establishments displaying the Visa/MasterCard symbol, worldwide.
Features and Benefits of HDFC Bank Forex Card
- Protection Against Exchange Rate Volatility: HDFC Forex Card is available in 23 Currencies which are- Australian Dollar, AED (Dirhams), Canadian Dollar, Euro, Hong Kong Dollar, Japanese Yen, Singapore Dollar, Sterling Pound, Swiss Franc, Swedish Krona, Thailand Baht, South African Rand, Oman Riyal, New Zealand Dollar, Danish Krone, Norwegian Krone, Saudi Riyal, Malaysian Ringgit, Korean Won, Bahrain Dinar, Qatari Riyal, Kuwait Dinar and US Dollar.
- This gives you a protection against exchange rate fluctuation as the currency value is pre-loaded into it. You can withdraw* cash or swipe the card at any Point of Sale (PoS) in any currency anywhere in the world. If the transaction is in the currency that is already loaded on the card, there are no charges. Each of these currencies is accepted worldwide and can be changed into the currency of the country that you are travelling in.*Cash withdrawal may cause standard withdrawal fee of USD 2 or equivalent
- The convenience of Worldwide Acceptability: All Visa/Mastercard Merchant affiliated outlets and 24-hour VISA/ Mastercard affiliated ATMs worldwide accept HDFC Forex Card. So no more hassle of carrying a bulk of cash or travellers’ cheques, no more hassle of chasing money changers/banks, paying commissions and tracking expenses. Your Card is protected against misuse at ATMs by means of a PIN.
- Temporary Card Blocking Facility: HDFC Forex card comes with a temporary block/unblock feature. You can block the card using Prepaid Net Banking facility when the card is not in use or is lost/stolen and unblock it whenever you are travelling & need to use the card. Alternately, you can call 24×7 HDFC Bank Phone Banking immediately and report the loss of your card and get the card blocked.
- Facility to Change ATM PIN: HDFC Forex card offers the cardholder the convenience of changing his/her ATM PIN using a Prepaid NetBanking facility.
- International Toll-Free numbers: HDFC Bank offers easy access to HDFC Bank Phone Banking services through International toll-free numbers across 32 countries
- 24×7 Global Customer Assistance Services: In case of theft or loss of your card, you will get a replacement card as well as emergency cash while you’re travelling overseas. You can call Visa’s Global Customer Assistance Services to avail these services. Visit here for a complete list of country-wise Visa call centre numbers. These services are chargeable as per Visa guidelines.
- Online usage allowed (E-com Transactions) on HDFC Forex Card: HDFC bank allows E-commerce facility on ForexPlus cards to make payments towards shopping done on online website/shopping portals. In the case of Ecom transactions, the system may prompt for second-factor authentication where you need to validate the transaction using the NetBanking PIN for your ForexPlus card.
- Insurance Cover on HDFC Forex Card: Enjoy a travel experience free of financial worries with travel card insurance with the following features:
- Protection up to Rs. 500,000 against the misuse of lost card or due to counterfeiting/skimming
- Personal Accident Insurance (Death cover only) of Rs.500,000
- Loss of baggage cover up to Rs. 50,000 and Loss of checked baggage cover up to Rs. 20,000
- Passport reconstruction covers up to Rs. 20,000 (actual cost of passport reconstruction only)
- Easy Reload HDFC Forex Card: Reloadable at all HDFC Bank branches or through HDFC Bank Phone Banking or HDFC Bank Mobile Banking or HDFC Bank NetBanking, even when the cardholder is abroad*
- Ease of tracking: The bank provides SMS (domestic as well as on your international mobile number registered in records) and email alert facility towards every activity on your ForexPlus card including withdrawal, purchase, wallet transfer, hotlisting, etc.
ICICI Bank Forex Card Features
ICICI Bank travel card can a perfect travel companion for your overseas trips which offers a cost-effective, convenient and secure alternative to carry foreign exchange.
Features and benefits of ICICI Forex Card
- Instant Loading on Forex Card: ICICI Bank travel card offers instant loading and activation feature, enabling you to start using the card immediately after purchase for your international flight and hotel bookings.
- Free Replacement Card: ICICI Bank travel card comes with an absolutely free replacement card which you can activate instantly in case of loss/ theft/ damage of the Primary Card.
- Discounts and Offers: The card offers you great discounts at merchant outlets across the globe for your dining, shopping, stay and other expenses. It also provides many additional benefits including Comprehensive Travel Insurance, emergency travel assistance and zero lost card liability.
- Multi-Currency Card with Auto Selection of Local Currency: The card comes with smart technology to automatically choose the currency wallet as per the local currency of the transaction from the multiple available wallets on the card. Moreover, in case of insufficient balance in the wallet of transaction currency, any leftover balance of any other currency left in the wallet will be automatically debited at dynamic rates.
- Other Features:
- Buy/ Reload Travel Card online
- Instant Wallet to Wallet Fund Transfer
- Superior security
- Duty-Free Shopping at Indian Airports
- Free Comprehensive Travel Insurance
- Emergency Travel Assistance
Why Should You Purchase Your Forex Card from BookMyForex?
- You carry forex at fixed rates – no need to worry about exchange rate fluctuation or from heavy charges of 3-6% levied by the banks.
- Zero Issuance charge, no reload charge.
- Safe and convenient to use.
- Can be reloaded at any time and from anywhere.
- Cash assistance in case of the loss/ theft of the card.
- Add on card facility available which makes it absolutely safe as the lost card can be blocked and balance transferred to the new card.
- You get foreign currency cash at a discount when bought with Forex Cards.
With locked-in exchange rates, you won’t be paying cross-currency charges and will make your payments abroad at the rate you loaded/reloaded your card.
Benefits of Using A Forex Credit Card When Travelling Abroad
1. A single card for multiple destinations: Load up to 16 currencies on a single card, and enjoy a hassle-free journey around the globe.
2. Moreover, with just one card, you can use a single ATM PIN to access your account online or withdraw funds. Currencies available are USD, EUR, GBP, SGD, AUD, CAD, JPY, CHF, SEK, THB, AED, SAR, HKD, NZD, DKK, and ZAR.
3. One of the biggest benefits is that forex cards are a cheaper option if you compare it to taking cash or credit/debit cards abroad to spend. You get the best exchange rates and you do not need to worry about the volatility in the forex market. In terms of the balance so loaded, loading your forex card with ample balance allows you to remain shielded from foreign currency fluctuations in the future. The balance will continue to be displayed in foreign currency until the desired amount of foreign currency has been loaded into the card, thus helping you lock-in your currency conversion factor. This helps you to prepare with a sense of certainty for your international vacation budget
4. Forex cards are a convenient way of carrying money abroad. There are multi currency forex cards available. The travel cards are quite safe as well. In addition, the forex card can be secured by blocking it in the awful situation of losing your wallet, including your cash and forex card, when the cash is gone. Secondly, on your forex card, RBI also enables protection from unauthorized transactions.
5. You can also benefit by tracking the transactions you have made on trip. You may also fairly anticipate lucrative discounts and rewards on particular types of spending with BookMyForex forex card.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a New Forex Card
Here a few things that you can keep in mind:
- Check if your card usage’s daily limit resonates with your requirements. Then this card is of no value to you, as if it comes with a daily use limit of a certain limit that is less than your expenditure.
- You can also enquire about your card’s activation period. And also, if you have forgotten it, become aware of the PIN generation process.
- Mark down the corresponding card’s helpline number.
- The balance on your forex card should not surpass the value of 2000 USD according to the RBI guidelines. So, after returning from the overseas trip, make sure to encash your remaining balance.
- As with everything else, when using a prepaid forex card, you need to be mindful of the different charges. You don’t have to think about the conversion charges anymore until the card gets filled with forex. While there is no charge at a retailer outlet for swiping the card, for transactions such as balance enquiry, you will have to pay a small fee.