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7 Best Forex Cards in India for Students and Tourists in 2023

I am updating the list of forex cards for your upcoming international travel in 2023.

Sharing my personal experience as an international tourist.

  • I use credit cards instead of forex cards for international shopping because I earn reward points and cashback on credit cards.
  • I carry some foreign currency cash and Indian currency cash on my international trips. It’s easy to find forex conversion shops in international tourist destinations where INR can be converted to foreign currency at a good conversion rate.
  • I withdraw foreign cash from an international ATM using my Indian debit card.

The short answer is that I do not use forex cards and you can also manage without a forex card if you are holding premium credit and debit cards that do not charge high forex transaction charges.

Carrying a forex card makes sense for students and travelers who do not have premium credit cards.

Forex cards are issued independently by popular banks like HDFC, ICICI, Axis, IndusInd and SBI.

Forex cards are also issued by private companies by collaborating with banks like Thomas Cook, Niyo Global, Wise, MakeMyTrip and BookMyForex.

For your quick reference, here is the list of the best forex cards in India

  1. Niyo Global Forex Card
  2. Makemytrip Tripmoney Global Cash Card
  3. IndusInd Bank Multi Currency Forex Card
  4. BookMyForex Forex Card
  5. HDFC Multicurrency Forex Card
  6. Axis Bank Multicurrency Forex Card
  7. ICICI Bank Student Forex Card

Best Forex Cards in India

#1. Niyo Global Forex Card – Forex Card With Zero Markup

Niyo Global Forex Card

Niyo has partnered with DCB bank to provide a forex card with zero markup fees. You can get this card if Niyo is present in your city.

Niyo is best forex card for Indian students because of zero forex loading charges.

Fees and Charges

  • Card issuance fee – NIL 
  • Reload fee – Nil
  • Currency conversion charges – Nil 
  • International ATM* (Cash Withdrawal and Balance Enquiry) – 100 + GST

Benefits of Niyo Global Forex Card

  • 5% interest on this saving amount 
  • 5% TCS is charged if total shopping transactions exceeding ₹7 lakhs in a given financial year – 5% tax on per transaction

#2. Makemytrip Tripmoney Global Cash Card – Forex Card

Makemytrip Tripmoney Global Forex card

TripMoney has partnered with SBM Bank India to launch a Global forex card, powered by Visa. You can load money in INR and spend globally in 150+ countries. 

Makemytrip Tripmoney Global Forex card is best suited for Indian travelers with zero forex markup fee, lifetime free validity, and 100% digital in-app card management.  

Fees and Charges

  • Card issuance fee – Nil 
  • Annual fee – Nil
  • Reload fee – Nil
  • Currency conversion charges – Nil 
  • Balance enquiry fee – Nil (in app)
  • Domestic ATM balance enquiry- Rs. 10
  • International ATM balance enquiry- Rs. 255
  • Domestic ATM cash withdrawal– Not allowed
  • International ATM cash withdrawal – Rs. 450 

Benefits of Makemytrip Tripmoney Global Forex card

  • No currency conversion charges
  • Load in INR & spend Globally in 150+ countries
  • Complimentary membership of MMT (MakeMyTrip) BLACK and GoTribe 
  • Discounts upto Rs. 70,000/- on MakeMyTrip and Goibibo
  • Fully digital card application & management

#3. IndusInd Bank Multi Currency Forex card

IndusInd Bank Multi Currency Forex card

IndusInd Bank Multi Currency Forex card has an entrenched chip that makes your transactions secure and easy. This card also offers currency withdrawals from all VISA ATMs, protection against currency fluctuations, and easy online banking.

IndusInd Bank Multi Currency Forex card is specially designed for the frequent international travellers who travel across different countries. You can load 14 currencies to your card to spend in different countries.

Fee & Charges

  • Issuance fee – Rs 300
  • Re-issuance of Card fee – Rs.100
  • Reload Fee – Rs 100
  • Cross Currency Fee – 3.5% mark up 
  • Inactivity fee – USD 3.00 per quarter after 18 months of inactivity

Benefits of Indus Multi Currency Forex Card

  • You can use this coupon code “AIRPORTC” for waive off card issuance fee.
  • Recieve an Uber voucher worth 500 or 1000 when you load funds below 1 lakh or above 1 lakh respectively.
  • Hassle free refund process.
  • Get instant alerts for all the transaction made through your Forex card to avoid fraud.

#4. BookMyForex Forex Card

BookMyForex Multi Currency Prepaid Forex Card

BookMyForex Multi Currency Prepaid forex card is powered by Visa forex card in partnership with YesBank. You can load/reload your forex card with 14 currencies at zero margin rates. You will also enjoy free insurance coverage upto Rs. 1,50,000 against lost card liability, counterfeit, and skimming.

BookMyForex forex card is the best option for both students and tourists because of zero margin loading rates and don’t want to spend money on card issuance fees.

Fee & Charges

  • Issuance Fee – Nil
  • Reload Fee – Nil
  • Refund Fee – Nil
  • Cross Currency Fee – 3.5% of transaction value
  • Inactivity Fee – USD 5 (Inactive period 12 months)

Benefits of Yes Multi-Currency Forex Card  

  • Contactless payments
  • Zero loading/ unloading charges
  • Fastest transfers – funds received abroad in 12-48 hours
  • Get card lost insurance coverage free upto 1.5 lakh.

#5. HDFC Multi Currency Platinum Forex Card

HDFC Multi Currency Platinum Forex Card

If you’re planning a trip that involves multiple countries, consider the HDFC Multicurrency Forex Card. With this card, you can load up to 22 currencies at a currency fee of 2%, which is the least possible fee and travel globally without any hassle.

You get the free insurance cover worth Rs.5 lakh that protects your forex card against any misuse due to counterfeiting or skimming.

Fee & Charges

  • Issuance Fee – Rs 500 (waived off when you load $1,000)
  • Reload Fee – Rs 75
  • Re-issuance Fee – Rs 100
  • Cross Currency Fee – 2% mark up

Benefits of HDFC Multi-Currency Forex Card

  • Issuance fee will be waived off if you load minimum USD1000 (or equivalent currency).
  • Get Amazon Voucher worth Rs. 1000 if you load/reload your HDFC Bank Forex Card through HDFC Bank Debit card with Rs. 1 lakh.
  • Least cross currency fee.
  • You can add money to your forex card easily through net banking.

#6. Axis Bank Multi Currency Forex Card

Axis bank multi currency forex card

Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card allows you to lock in exchange rates before you travel. This means you won’t have to pay any cross-currency charges and make your payments in other countries at the same rate you had loaded/reloaded your forex card.

You can use this prepaid foreign currency card in 16 countries.

Fee & Charges

  • Issuance Fee – Rs 300
  • Reload Fee – Rs 100
  • Add-on Card Fee – Rs 100
  • Cross Currency Fee – 3.5%

Benefits of Axis Multi-Currency Forex Card  

  • Get 3 lakh insurance coverage on the lost/stolen and counterfeit cards.
  • Get up to Rs.1,000 off on your Vodafone international roaming pack when you load/reload the Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex Card.
  • You can swipe your forex card at over 80 million merchant outlets and 1000 e-commerce websites.
  • Withdraw cash at any VISA/Mastercard ATMs across the world.

#7. ICICI Bank Student Forex Card

ICICI Bank Student Forex Card

ICICI Bank Student Forex Prepaid Card is specifically designed for students who are planning to study abroad. The best thing about this card is that you can reload it at any of the ICICI Forex branches, their online platform-Forex@Click, or through their iMobile app.

Fee & Charges

  • Joining fee – Rs.499
  • Annual fee – Rs.199 (from the second year onwards) 
  • Reissue card – Free for 1st time
  • Reload fee – Rs. 100
  • Cross currency charges – 3.5% 

Benefits of ICICI Student Forex Card

  • You receive an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) membership of Rs.590.
  • Get a card protection plus insurance worth Rs.1,600.
  • Enjoy a 40% discount on your excess baggage.
  • Get 20% discount on courier service by DHL.
  • Get a lost card/counterfeit card liability coverage of up to Rs.5 lakh.

Understand the different types of charges on forex conversion.

  1. Forex Rate. Check the latest foreign conversion rate on xe.com. Banks charge you a higher rate for selling you foreign currency. If USD to INR rate is showing Rs. 80 then expect the bank to charge you Rs. 82 or 83.
  2. Forex Conversion Charges. Most credit cards and debit cards charge 3.5% of the transaction amount. Some premium credit cards like HDFC Infinia, Standard Chartered Ultimate and Axis Magnus charge 2% forex markup.
  3. ATM Withdrawal Charges. Don’t use credit cards to withdraw cash from ATMs to avoid high interest and charges. Use a debit card or forex card to withdraw cash from a foreign ATM. Expect flat fees per ATM transaction in the range of Rs. 400 to 1000.

Here are some interesting points related to Forex Travel Cards

  • Banks issue forex travel cards at very low cost (Rs 150- 500).
  • The card will be loaded with foreign currency at today’s exchange rate. So you don’t have to worry about fluctuating currency rates.
  • Currency conversion fees is included in the price. HDFC bank charges least fee @ 2%.
  • You will not be charged any additional fees for purchases in shops and stores.
  • You can withdraw money from any ATM across the globe but will have to pay charges for cash withdrawal from an international ATM.
  • You cannot top-up the forex card abroad even if your bank has a branch there. You will have to contact the centre that has issued the card. A few banks provide option to reload your wallet through net banking.
  • As per RBI regulation, you cannot keep more than $10000 USD or equivalent currency in your forex card.

Forex card vs International Debit/Credit card

If you compare forex card with an international debit or credit card, forex card is much better option than the other two for the following reasons

  • It is easy to apply and get as compared to the credit cards.
  • You can load multiple foreign currencies in one card for use abroad which is not possible with debit/credit card.
  • No currency conversion charges for shopping abroad by swiping forex cards.
  • Lower issuance fee.
  • Can get a replacement card without affecting your funds in case of loss or theft.
  • Lesser currency conversion fee charged.
  • Fixed exchange rate even in case of currency fluctuations in the forex market.

Conclusion (Which Forex Card is best for you)

You might have made your decision of which forex card is best for you depending upon your requirements. Incase, you are still confused after reading all the information, you can go through my below recommendations and chose what is right for you.

If you are looking for maximum currency wallets, lowest cross- currency charges, and a relatively lower loading charges then go for HDFC Bank Multi Currency Forex Plus Chip.

About Pardeep Goyal

I talk about saving & investing money. You would love my articles related to Credit Cards, Travel, Shopping, Tax Saving. I share transparently how I am making passive income from multiple sources online.

372 thoughts on “7 Best Forex Cards in India for Students and Tourists in 2023”

  1. Hello Pardeep,

    I have a account with HDFC and already have a regalia first CC. We have two vacations (bali/sgp) and one business trip planed for next year (dubai) (2023). We are not frequent travellers (once a year we take an interbation vacation)
    My query is which card should I prefer to pay/withdraw in these countries? hdfc regalia cc / hdfc forex card/ niyo global forex card.

    TIA

    Reply
    • You will incur same forex charges when you withdraw using forex card.

      I advise you to use HDFC Regalia for swipe transactions and use a debit card to withdraw cash from the foreign ATM.

      Reply
  2. I am planning to travel to Maldives for 5 days what should I bring forex card or cash?? Which would be better for Maldives travel?

    Reply
  3. Hello I will be travelling to the US for my masters program. I am having an account in axis bank. Axis bank conversion rates are too high compared to other banks. Should I get an axis bank forex card or Niyo forex card.

    Reply
    • Niyo is an INR based debit card facilitating international usage (similar to forex card).

      But for every payment in foreign currencies online, the INR balance in your Niyo card will be converted to the foreign currency and then the payment will be processed.

      Whereas, with your Axis bank forex card you can pay directly in USD loaded in your forex card.

      To get a Niyo card you need to undergo KYC for opening a current account with DCB bank. This may take time.

      Apart from that Axis Bank Multicurrency Forex card comes with benefits like offer Emergency cash assistance, insurance coverage and travel offers. This is not available with Niyo.

      Reply
    • You need to carry a Forex travel card loaded with Thai Bhat (THB) for online payments, shopping, etc.

      Apart from that keeping 500 to 1000 THB in smaller denominations as cash will help you make taxi, and local payments.

      You can pick the HDFC Multicurrency Forex card and load it with THB. You get complimentary insurance cover for air accidents, baggage, docs, and cash loss.
      Emergency cash assistance and a backup card facility is also there.

      Reply
  4. Sir, 

    I’m travelling to Germany for my masters. I have a savings account with HDFC. I’m in dilemma choosing a forex card between HDFC and Niyo. Sir, could you please make a recommendation for me in this regard?

    Thank you, sir.

    K.Gopi Krishna,

    Reply
    • You already have an account with HDFC Bank. You should get a HDFC Multicurrency forex card loaded with Euros.

      To get a Niyo card you need to undergo KYC for opening a current account with DCB bank. This may take time.

      Niyo is an INR based card. For every payment in foreign currencies online, the INR balance in your Niyo card will be converted to the foreign currency and then the payment will be processed. Whereas, you can pay directly in Euros loaded in your forex card.

      Apart from that HDFC Multicurrency Forex card offer Emergency cash assistance, backup card and insurance protection for lost card. This is not available with Niyo.

      Reply
  5. My daughter is travelling to US for her MBA Study. She flies via Tokyo Haneda Airport with 17 hours of overlay. Which is best forex card to go for where she can also have complimentary airport lounge access at Delhi and Haneda international airports.

    Reply
    • None of the forex cards supporting students going abroad for studies explicitly says anything (on their website) about complimentary airport lounge access.

      Only Niyo student forex card (physical) mentions offering airport lounge access (powered by Visa Signature).
      Niyo is a fintech platform that has partnered with the State Bank of Mauritius to offer Global Zero Forex Card with an INR savings account that earns you up to 5% interest.

      Is like a debit card with certain privileges in international usage.

      Reply
  6. I will be travelling to poland and the currency in poland is zloty, do none of the cards support forex support for the zloty currency?

    Reply
    • Presently none of the forex cards issued from India supports Zloty Currency.

      You can do two things –

      Carry a USD or Euro loaded forex card supported by Visa or Mastercard. Where the Fx conversion will be taken care of by Visa/ Mastercard. This will help with online payments.

      Or use Visa/ Mastercard supported credit card. But it will be costly.

      In any case, do carry cash (Euros) that can be exchanged for Zloty for petty local payments.

      Reply
  7. Hi Pradeep
    My daughter is leaving for USA for 5 years for her PhD.
    Which forex card is best.
    Also if Axis is the answer, is it better to have her open a savings account in Axis? (Her present a/c is in SBI)

    Reply
    • ICICI Bank Single Currency Forex Card is also a good option. You get ISIC (International Student Identity Card), discounts and lost card/counterfeit card liability coverage up to 5 lacs.

      It is better to have savings account with the forex card issuer bank. This gives you an additional option to load your forex card thru netbanking.

      Reply
  8. I will be doing my masters in Germany, and we have both HDFC(My dads) and Axis Bank (mine) accounts; which forex card would be the better option and why ?. I really appreciate any help you can provide.

    Regards
    Vishaal

    Reply
    • The forex card will be issued in your name. Getting Axis Bank Multicurrency forex card loaded in Euro will be a better option.

      You get a 30 paise discount on the exchange margin when you load it with your net banking or Mobile App. Other benefits include emergency & global customer assistance. Up to 3 lacs of insurance coverage in case of lost or stolen card.

      Reply
  9. Hello pradeep,
    My requirement is to have a forex card which can be reloaded by my employer abroad in Norway, and I can spend that money in Norway. Which will be the best forex card for me. I’m from India.

    Reply
  10. My daughter is going for 2 years post graduation course. She is having saving account with ICICI Bank and mine is with Axis Bank.

    Please suggest best option for Forex Card she can take with her

    Reply
  11. Hi Pardeep,
    My son going to Romania for higher studies in 2 years master program.
    Please suggest which Forex card will be best for him.

    Reply
    • Romania hasn’t adopted Euro till now. Leu is the currency of Romania and the sad part is – that it is not commonly available for exchange outside Romania.

      ATMs and Banks that can help money conversion are only available in major urban cities like Bucharest in Romania.
      Indian Banks do not offer Forex cards loaded with Leu.

      At best you can get HDFC or ICICI Multicurrency Forex card denominated in Euro and then use local bank ATM’s in Romania to get Leu (in exchange for Euro).

      Or you can get a Wise Borderless card

      Reply
  12. Hello,
    My son is going to UK for study. He has an ICICI bank forex card. Can I refill the card using net banking from my account.

    Reply
    • Forex card functions similar to a debit card.

      If the Forex card is in your son’s name then refilling your son’s (another person’s) Forex card is not possible from your net banking because the card is not linked with your account. But can be linked with your son’s account, if he has one.
      You have 2 options –

      1. Get an ICICI bank account for your son so that the Forex card is linked with his account. He can refill the forex card anytime using his net banking/ mobile app.

      2. Ask your son to leave a physical reload application along with authorization. So that you can visit the ICICI Bank branch that has issued the forex card and get the refill done.

      Reply
  13. Hello My daughter is going to Ireland for her Masters for this 2021 September Intake. Kindly suggest her a good forex card for Ireland. We both are having SB account in HDFC bank. Do the forex cards charge any transaction or loading fee for its use. Kindly clarify.

    Reply
    • You can get an HDFC Multicurrency forex card for your daughter heading for study in Ireland.
      Yes, all the forex cards have charges that vary from currency to currency loaded.

      You can check the transaction charges on the HDFC bank website as well.

      HDFC Multicurrency forex card charges Rs. 75 as a loading fee.

      Reply
    • Depending on where your institute in Ireland (Republic of Ireland OR Northern Ireland) is situated you will require either Euro (EUR) or Pound Sterling (GBP)

      Republic of Ireland primarily uses EUR and Northern Ireland uses GBP.

      In either case, you can go with the HDFC Multicurrency Forex card. As it offers the lowest 2% cross currency rates, lower reload fee of Rs. 75 and higher ATM cash withdrawal limits as compared to Axis and ICICI Bank.
      But charges a higher issuance fee of Rs. 500

      You also get free insurance cover (on travel) like
      – Insurance cover – Rs. 5 lakh
      – Accident insurance – Rs. 5 lakh
      – Loss of check-in baggage – Rs. 20,000
      – Loss of personal docs (passport reconstruction)- Rs. 50,000
      – Loss of cash – Rs. 60,000

      Reply
    • Niyo is a fintech platform that has partnered with the State Bank of Mauritius to offer Global Zero Forex Card (presently Beta version is available) with a savings account that earns you 5% interest.
      Is like a debit card with certain privileges in international usage.

      Benefits-
      – Zero Forex markup
      – Loan in INR spend in 150+ countries
      – Complimentary lounge access
      – 24×7 Visa concierge
      – Exclusive travel and debit card offers

      And Global Multicurrency Forex card with DCB bank. Suited for overseas travel and Students studying abroad. Benefits –
      – 90+ currencies in 160 countries
      – NO forex markup
      – Instant money load in INR with no cost of loading,
      – Trf money to friends & family
      – Backup card in case of loss

      Reply
  14. Hi Pradeep,

    My son is going to UK for his 2 year post graduation.
    May please suggest the following:-
    1) Will Axis Bank forex card of only ( INR to GBP) do best considering all purposes( university fees+ shopping+ cash withdrawal) ?
    2) Can the said forex card be loaded through wise app from india?

    Reply
    • Axis Bank fulfills all the purposes listed by you.

      However, Axis Multi-currency forex card can be reloaded from India by filling up a reload application form and making payment in INR.

      If you have an existing Axis savings account then you can also use Axis Internet banking or Mobile App to load the forex card.

      Reply
    • Axis Bank Multi-Currency Forex card is good option for US travel to the US.
      Students can save more from special benefits like – issuance/reload fee waive off, 1% cashback on POS/E-comm transactions and ATM fee waive off.

      Reply
  15. I am a student leaving to UK for studies for 1 year from Sep 2020 to Sep 2021. Whish is the best credit or forex card to take from India ?

    Reply
  16. Hi ,

    I am going to UK for my studies . I have HDFC times points platinum debit card and HDFC money bank credit card with me. Which Forex card should I opt for?

    Reply
  17. Hi Pardeep,
    My daughter is going to Sweden for her 2-years masters. She has SBI Global Card. In addition, which FOREX Card do you suggest for her?
    Thank you.

    Reply
  18. Hi!

    I am immigrating to Ireland. Once I reach there, my employer will provide me with all the banking requirements but till then I need a back up card.

    I have a ICICI bank account in India and a HDFC Diners ClubMiles.

    Do I need a Forex card and if yes which?

    Reply
  19. I have a HDFC forex card issued by Thomas cook. I have misplaced my card. Whom should I contact to get a duplicate card? And what is the US Toll free number.

    Reply

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