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 2023

#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.

You may like to read about best forex brokers in India

#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.

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

  1. I am planning to go to Vietnam this December.
    May I know which forex card will be best.What about international debit card.?

    Reply
  2. I’m going to Germany for my studies. So I will be staying there for atleast 2 years. Which card should I preferably choose ?

    Reply
  3. My daughter is going to UK (London) for study in the month of September 2019 for a period of one & half year course . Kindly let me know the which Forex card is beneficial to her while staying in UK. She having international debit card.

    Reply
  4. Hi,
    I am going to Kyrgyzstan for study.
    I have to pay fee in USD.
    Which card best for me also which card has low transaction charges?
    Also I already have axis visa card.

    Should I go for another card, as axis charge more I think.

    Reply
  5. Hi.
    I am going to Ireland with work permit for two years so what is the best card for me as I will withdraw money from ATM also.

    Reply
  6. Hi, I will be travelling to south africa for study, Which is the best travel card ? based on your review, Can I go with axis card?

    Reply
  7. I bought a Forex card from Axis Bank. Difficulties in getting back Rupeed against unspent balance at the current selling rate. Please help

    Reply
  8. Hi,

    I am not a frequent international traveler….let’s say once a year. And i am traveling to Singapore this month. What card would you recommend for me?

    Reply
  9. Hello, Thanks for an nice post, very helpful
    I will travelling to Singapore & Malaysia, wanted to check your views on using a Credit Card vs using a Forex Card for this travel
    Two queries,
    1. I have HDFC Bank’s Regalia Credit Card, it provides me foreign Currency Mark-up Fee of 2% on international transactions. The HDFC Bank forex card also has the same charges. Should I stick with Credit Card or use a Forex Card
    2. Is there any Forex card, where I can load Malaysian Ringgets?

    Reply
  10. I am studying abroad in russia is hdfc multicurrency forex card best for me
    Pls do suggest me low charges forex card

    Reply
  11. I want to go to Canada for two – five years as a student , so which card is best for me
    well from your aritcle i liked to choose Axis bank’s card but after reading some comment below the article i noted that you didn’t recommended axis bank’s forex card to anyone
    so please give me a best solution and also inform me that is this card useful at any banks atm & swip machine as well at any location in canada and for how much time it will be active

    Reply
  12. Sir I am a student and study in Kyrgyzstan for 5years. Which forex card is best for me to pay the rent,college fee ,and expenses during stay there.

    Reply
  13. Hey,
    I am travelling to Turkey next month. I also have a short-time layover in Oman. None of these options provide Turkish Lira. Which one do you think would be best and affordable for my 10 day trip to Turkey?
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  14. I am travelling to bali from Calcutta for 5 days for holiday, which card would be the best option and also of which bank??

    Reply
  15. Hi, I am going to the USA for my master’s. Which Forex card should I carry? I am looking for an economical card which charges low conversion and withdrawal fee. As I’ll be only in the USA, so even single currency forex card would also work.

    Reply
  16. I got student visa and going to USA . Does ATM withdrawal charges matter? Which criteria we should consider most? Also What about SBI forex card? and according to your suggestion, Which card will be best suitable for me?

    Reply
    • Axis multi currency card is for you. This card offers special benefits to students such as 1% cashback on POS/ECOM transactions, no charges on ATM transactions, and complimentary TripAssist service.

      Reply
  17. Hi iam traveling to Mauritius next week and will stay there for 1 week
    My hotel booking is done.I have HDFC regalia first(MasterCard)Credit card and SBI Credit card.
    Is it ok to use credit card or buy a forex card?
    Wi there be a fee everytime I swipe my credit card overseas?

    Reply
    • John.. Axis bank’s multicurrency card is good for students because this card offers special benefits to students such as 1% cashback on POS/ECOM transactions, no charges on ATM transactions, and complimentary TripAssist service.

      Reply
  18. Hey i am going to US for 3 years for studying MS. Can u pls suggest which bank forex card has maximum benefits for students?
    I was thinking of ICICI bank but would like to know from you which is good in terms of everything?

    Reply
    • Rashmi.. I would suggest you to go with Axis Multicurrency as it has no Atm withdrawl charges and other benefits like cashback for students.. You can compare ICICI, HDFC and AXIS from the article..

      Reply
  19. I PURCHASED THOMOS COOK MULTICURRENCY CARD(BORDERLESS PREPAID) ,BUT SORRY TO SAY VERY BAD EXPERIENCED FACING TODAY. AS I HAVE GIVEN REQUEST TO RELOAD THE AMOUNT ON 21.06.2019 FRIDAY MORNING TO MY AGENT DUE TO EMERGENCY ,BUT EVEN AFTER 3 DAYS I.E.ON 24.06.2019 AMOUNT IS NOT LOADED AND MY SON IS FACING FINANCIAL PROBLEM AT SPAIN. WHAT IS THE USE OF PREPAID CARD IF YOU CANNOT RELOAD IN EMERGENCY. I WOULD REQUEST ALL NOT TO BUY SUCH HOPELESS CARD FOR YOUR FOREIGN TOUR.

    Reply
  20. The AXIS bank forex card details for the student benefits need to be cross checked and updated accordinly. As per AXIS bank, the ATM transaction fee shall be levied and there is no 1% cash back.

    Reply
  21. Hi Pardeep,
    I have noticed that you have recommended HDFC Forex card for travel to Paris,Germany, berlin and switzerland at the top of the Comments.
    I had travelled to Germany in April 2016 and had taken along my HDFC Multicurrency Forex Card which carried the VISA Logo.
    However, I had a lot of issues in its usage as I found out that VISA & MC Cards are hardly accepted in Germany. On the contrary I found Thomas Cook Branches all over. I could not withdraw any EUROS from ATMs. Another drawback I faced was that while swiping at any POS it would not even ask me for my PIN. Which was a great security risk.

    I intend to travel to Germany and other European Countries soon again. Could you guide / comment which is the other best alternative.

    Am I correct in understanding that the currency conversion fee of 4.25% would be applicable only if I want to withdraw / spend in currency other than the one I have loaded onto the card. viz. If I take a thomas cook card loaded with EUROS and spend in EUROS itself in europe it would be done at par without any charges.

    Awaiting your reply,
    Thanks & Regards.

    Reply
  22. Hi, I’m travelling to prague for 5 weeks summer course. Could you suggest which forex card shall i take? With minimum cost

    Reply
  23. Is HDFC regalia forex card any good? I am travelling to the US this month and would like to get the best forex card available in terms of everything. Please help?

    Reply
  24. I am going to Singapore and Malaysia for 13 days with family… Please suggest what is the best forex option for me?

    Reply
  25. Hi i am traveling to France – Spain – Netherlands.
    Which will be the best card to use or shall i just stick with my current credit and debit card .. is it too expensive to use Indian issued debit card to withdraw local currency

    Reply
  26. Hi . Does any of these cards allow withdrawal of large amount , at a bank counter while abroad ? Eg . Go to a bank and withdraw 5000GBP in 1 day , instead of paying ATM withdrawl fees with a limit of 800 GBP each day ?

    Reply
    • you can not withdraw 5000 pounds in one go at any atm. if I am correct, maximum you can withdraw is 750 euro/pounds in one go.

      Reply
  27. How would you rate the SBI Foreign Travel Card vis-a-vis the others that you have researched and published? Pl share your views. Thank you.

    Reply
  28. I would be traveling to 3 cities Dubai, Sydney, and Singapore as a student, staying 3.5 months in each city. Can you please help me out finding the best forex cards for this purpose.

    Reply
  29. Can you please help me review BookMyForex forex card. They charge Rs 100 for issuance. They dont charge a reload fee. They dont charge unloading fee. There conversion rate also seems to be compititive . They said they have a tie up with Axis bank and the card issued is from Axis bank.
    Can you please also help review the forex card from BuyForexOnline as they seem to have better competitive rates than some of the cards discussed above.
    It would be very helpful if you could share your comments on these cards.

    Reply
  30. Hi, Pradeep nice article. can you please suggest me which would be the best card for me HDFC or forex from bookmyforex .You have not mentioned anything about book my forex can you please highlight on that? I am travelling to France ,Belgium ,Netherlands and Norway. From your article i could see its only hdfc that is providing Norwegian krona in multi currency forex card .

    Reply
  31. Hi,

    I am travelling to Canberra, Germany this summers(Mid-May to Mid-July). I’ll have to spend 1000-2000 AUD using that card during my time there. Please let me know the best possible option.

    Thanks:)

    Reply
      • My son is going to US, in August 2019, for study. He will stay there for next 2 to 4 years. His expenditure would be around 50000 USD per year.
        Which card would be preferred

        Reply
        • Hello Sir, I would suggest you to go for Indusind or HDFC bank Multi currency forex card, indusind will be the best.
          You can contact them and get more details, I’ll be using Indusind as it also provides with 3 Atm transactions free in the first month and a free airport transfer (discount of upto 300/-)

          Reply
  32. Hi,

    I am travelling to Paris,Germany,berlin and switzerland for a holiday trip from mumbai. Which is the best forex card to apply for? I may not go abroad soon after this trip. So just looking for 1time use

    Reply

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