More than 4.4 lakh Indian students moved abroad in 2021 for higher studies. India has one of the highest numbers of students moving abroad every year to pursue higher education in multiple countries, Europe and the United States of America being the two most popular destinations. Many of the students moving abroad are going abroad for the first time and do not have any idea about the challenges they will be facing while studying abroad. One of the major challenges which they face is managing their finances, paying for everything in a foreign currency just adds an additional layer of complexity. Many students often ignore the various cost-efficient options available to them in foreign currency exchange because of a lack of knowledge and end up choosing inefficient options which add to their economic burden. In this article, we explore various options available for foreign currency exchange and the best travel card for Indian students.
What are the payment options for Indian students studying abroad?
Nowadays, investing in education is far more valuable than investing in anything else. There has been a significant shift in people’s attitudes towards the importance of higher education. Because of this change in perception toward higher education, there has been a significant increase in the number of Indian students moving abroad for higher education. A foreign college degree has become a stepping stone for anyone who aspires to eventually settle abroad.
Apart from achieving high grades and being capable of handling the pressure of being among some of the world’s brightest students, managing finances is an important factor in studying abroad. Money transfer from India and its exchange for foreign currency in order to pay for tuition fees and to cover living expenses is an integral part of the life of an international student.
Let’s check out various payment options for Indian students studying abroad:
1. Wire Transfer: A bank wire transfer is one of the most traditional methods of paying university fees abroad. It is a secure, effective, and convenient method of sending money from India to another nation. Wire transfers can take up to 24 to 48 hours to complete, depending on the number of intermediate banks involved. One should check with one’s bank before initiating a wire transfer and understand how much fee and commission will be charged by the bank. Usually, banks charge a considerable fee for wire transfers.
2. Foreign Currency Demand Drafts (FCDD): You can make a demand draft (DD) for the amount you want to transfer at any bank where you have an account. This will be done in the foreign currency, and the rupee equivalent will be deducted from your account. It is most commonly used to pay university and dormitory fees. Remember that crediting the money to the payee’s account via FCCD takes roughly two weeks. As a result, it can’t be used in situations where payment must be made on an immediate/urgent basis. Due to its limited functionality and time-consuming issuance process, its use has dropped to a great degree.
3. Forex Card: Forex cards are prepaid foreign exchange cards that you load with foreign currency and thereafter use to make purchases in the country you’re visiting, most of these cards are issued in partnership with Visa or Mastercard. Forex cards save you from currency fluctuations since you have purchased the necessary amount of forex in advance at a fixed rate which is now stored in your forex card. You can make international payments with a swipe of your Visa or Mastercard forex card, and the money will be debited from the foreign currency stored in your forex card digitally. Forex cards can be used to get cash from ATMs, make online purchases, and can be swiped at PoS (point of sale) terminals. Moreover, the forex card has certain unique features including multiple currency can be loaded, zero issuance and reloading charges, easy & paperless top-ups, exchange rate lock-in facility, upto 2.5% – 3.5% savings on debit/credit cards etc. Holistically, forex cards are a much better option than debit/credit cards given their superior utility.
Why is using a forex card comparatively a better option for students?
1. Forex cards are one of the best options for spending your money prudently when you study and travel abroad because of fixed currency conversion rate and other features such as: holding multiple currencies, zero loading charges, free insurance cover, emergency cash support, etc.
2. It eliminates the inconvenience of carrying cash and exchanging currency repeatedly. Further, its security features include a security pin that ensures that your foreign currency cannot be stolen.
3. With forex cards, while traveling, paying for purchases in retail stores, hotels, restaurants, and other locations becomes simpler. You can swipe your card at any shopping store or hotel without worrying about any fee or commission.
4. Forex cards can also be used to withdraw cash from an ATM, much like a credit or debit card.
5. Whilst studying abroad, a forex card can help you keep your money safe as well as help you with tracking your expenses. Many forex cards such as BookMyForex’s supercharge card come with an app that helps you in tracking all of your expenses and many more exciting features.
Also Read: What is a Forex Card? A Complete Guide
Why BookMyForex Supercharge Card is the Best Forex Card for Indian Students Studying Abroad?
When studying overseas, the BookMyForex Supercharged Card is one of the best ways to spend your money intelligently in a risk-averse manner. This card is secure and can be used to substitute cash at a lower cost. BookMyForex Supercharged Card is the best in the industry as it is at flat interbank rate i.e the rate you see on google .
Some of the key benefits of the Supercharge card are:
1. Multi-currency travel cards: Load as many as 14 currencies on your card. Use the same card in multiple countries.
2. Unbeatable Exchange Rate: BookMyForex Supercharged Card offers foreign exchange at a flat interbank exchange rate i.e the rates you see on google which is the best in the industry as compared to other card providers and banks.
3. Fixed Exchange Rates: Best travel card for Indian students as it removes currency rate fluctuation-related surprises.
4. Zero Issuance Charges: BMF Supercharge card comes with zero issuance charges.
5. Virtual Card and Expense Tracking: BMF Supercharge Card comes with its own app which allows you to have a digital version of your forex card on your phone and also allows you to manage and track all of your expenses.
6. Proactive Support: Quick, swift and proactive issue resolution, email as well as call facility available for resolving consumer complaints.
7. Same Day Delivery: BookMyForex offers a quick turnaround time (TAT), orders received before 1 p.m. are delivered the same day, and orders received after 1 p.m. are delivered the next working day.
8. Referral Program: You can earn cashback upto INR 500 on each referral you make. You can make your unique referral code using this link – click here.
BookMyForex Supercharge Card is the best forex card for Indian students studying abroad as it offers big savings as Cashbacks on Travel Card, Wire Transfers and International SIM, for students going abroad. With an aim to provide the best offers and deals for students going abroad, BookMyForex is offering amazing cashback on money transfers and Forex Cards for students traveling abroad.
1. Cashback – Travel Card: Get Cashback up to Rs. 2000 when you load/reload your BookMyForex Supercharge Card. The Promo code for the same is STUDENTOFFER.
2. Cashback -Wire Transfer: Get cashback up to INR 5000 on wire transfer using BookMyForex. The Promo code for the same is STUDENTOFFER.
3. SIM Card: It offers upto 25% off on international SIM Cards making it the best travel card for Indian students.
Other Offers :
Accommodation Discount: Book your Accommodation from AmberStudent and Get a £20 Discount along with 24/7 free assistance.
To conclude, Here is the list of all best Forex/International Cards in India:
1. BookMyForex Yes Bank Forex Card
BookMyForex’s Multi-currency Prepaid forex card is powered by Visa & supports 14 currencies. You can use this Multi-currency Travel card globally just like your debit cards.
Some Important features:
a. Available at Interbank rates
b. Same day delivery*
c. Zero Issuance/Reload/Unload charges
d. Amazing Students Cashback offers
e. Book Now and Pay Later feature available
2. HDFC Bank Forex Card
HDFC Bank offers different types of forex cards for travellers to carry foreign currency abroad. Multi-Currency ForexPlus Card from HDFC Bank can be loaded with up to 22 currencies. Students can opt for the HDFC Bank ISIC Student ForexPlus Card, which functions both as an identity card and as a way to pay expenses. In addition, HDFC Bank offers the Regalia ForexPlus Card for frequent travellers.
Some Important features:
a. The rate used is the VISA/MasterCard exchange rate & not interbank rate
b. The bank will charge a cross-currency markup of 2%
c. There is an issuance fee of INR 500 plus applicable GST per card
d. Same-day delivery of the card is not available/Account opening required
e. Card reloading is not free; reload fee is INR 75/- plus GST
3. Thomas Cook Forex Card
Thomas Cook’s prepaid forex card also offers a variety of travel-related services such as tours, travel packages for business travel and holidays, and insurance. It offers two types of forex cards: borderless prepaid cards and one currency card.
Some important features:
a. Forex is offered at a fixed rate which is higher than interbank rates.
b. Physical cards are delivered in 24-28 hours (only in select cities).
c. No discount offered on wire transfer for students.
4. ICICI Bank Student Forex Prepaid Card
ICICI Bank has launched ICICI Bank Student Forex Prepaid Card, which offers an alternative to the traditional payment methods such as international credit cards, traveler’s cheques, etc. You can buy this card via the iMobile app or by visiting the nearest ICICI Bank Forex Branch.
Some important features:
a. Forex is offered at a fixed rate which are generally higher than interbank rates.
b. Physical card is delivered within 5 working days.
c. No discount offered on wire transfer for students.
Comparison Table: BookMyforex Forex Cards vs Competitors
Here is the comparison between Bookmyforex Forex card vs others
|Currency exchange is offered at an interbank rate without any mark-up||Yes||No||No||No|
|Currency exchange is offered at a fixed rate||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Same day delivery of physical forex card||Yes||No||No||No|
|Discount for students on wire transfer||Yes||No||No||No|
|Issuance charges involved with forex card||INR 0||Issuance charges applicable (INR 500 plus applicable GST per card)||Issuance charges are applicable||Issuance charges applicable|
If you have made up your mind to study abroad, one should be committed to managing his/her finances. One of the most important aspects of studying abroad is making a choice in relation to how you would go about your day-to-day currency exchange requirements. There are multiple mediums and service providers available in the foreign currency exchange market, however, most of the foreign exchange providers suppress the information pertaining to the fees and commissions which they are charging. Many times customers because of lack of information buy an inferior product which costs them a huge sum of money in the long run. This article has compared all the major foreign exchange cards available in the market for students, it is statistically clear that BMF Supercharged Card is the best option for Indian students studying abroad.