Prepaid currency cards or Forex cards are similar to debit and credit cards. The main difference is that you need load a prepaid card with currency and it is not linked to your bank account. Prepaid currency cards have evolved to become a must have for travellers because of the numerous benefits it offers. They are also commonly refereed to as a Forex card because it is loaded with foreign currency.
The biggest benefit of a Forex card is that you can lock in the foreign exchange rate when you top it with your local currency. This means that if you buy a Forex card and load it with US$ 100 at the rate of 1 US$ = 66 Rupees then you need to spend only Rs 6,600. On the other hand if you use a debit or credit card to make purchases in US$, then the foreign exchange rate prevailing on the purchase will apply. There will also be additional taxes and bank charges.
Another major benefit of a pre-paid currency card is lower fees. It is cheaper than using your debit and credit card. Many travellers also feel that having a limited budget ensures you don’t overspend. When using your debit card you will swipe it a numerous places without realising how much you are spending and how much balance remains in your account. Given below are four different foreign travel cards you can consider purchasing for your business trips.
Last year saw 5.4 million Indians travelling abroad for business and short term tourism. Considering that India’s population is close to 1.35 billion this is less than 0.5% of the country’s population. This shows there is enormous potential for growth of India’s outbound tourism and it will only increase in the coming days.
The 30/70 Rule For Tourists
It is always recommended that tourists carry thirty percent of their travel budget in cash and the remaining seventy percent should be carried digitally in the form of credit cards or travellers checks. You can use the cash to pay for your taxi and minor purchases while the Forex card can be used to pay for accommodation and purchases.
The answer to which bank offers the best currency conversion rates on it’s forex card depends on many factors. CaxtonFx which is featured below offers the best rate followed by Axis and then ICICI Bank. The private sector banks in India generally offer better rates than the PSU’s like SBI and Bank Of Baroda.
ICICI Bank Forex Card – www.icicibank.com
You can order this card online from the comfort of your residence and it will be delivered to your doorstep. The card can then be activated by logging online and connecting it with your mobile phone. The card can be managed through the i-Mobile phone app. The bank charges a fee of US$ 5 for cash withdrawals at foreign bank ATM’s so remember to carry plenty of cash if you are travelling with this card.
CaxtonFx – www.caxtonfx.com
The Caxton MasterCard is available for free and is a multi-currency card. You can use it make payments in 23 different currencies without incurring any additional charges. They claim to offer better foreign exchange rates than banks and airport counters. They also have a Caxton Plus card that comes built in with family travel insurance and free replacement in case your card is lost. You can keep track of your spending by logging into your account using the Caxton mobile application.
Axis India Travel Card – www.axisbank.com
This travel Forex card issued by India’s leading bank can be loaded up with up to 16 different currencies. You can get a minimum of 15% discount when you use it at shops and food outlets abroad. If at any time you need cash urgently you can get it via a special service they offer called Trip-assist. Some users have reported that it is difficult to make cash withdrawals with this card at all ATM’s.
Other notable pre-paid currency cards are from State Bank Foreign Travel Card, Prepaid Forex HDFC card, Citibank card and Thomas Cook Borderless Prepaid Travel card.