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  • Forex Prepaid Cards

    A forex card is a practical and safe way to carry foreign currency when travelling abroad. Learn about forex cards, their types, features, benefits, and more.


    What is a Forex Card?

    A Forex card is a card which is one of the most effective ways to carry money when you are visiting another country. A Forex card carries your foreign currency and is accepted almost everywhere you go.

    With globalization becoming the flavor of the day and the relative ease of transport in today’s world, travelling has become the norm for many individuals. Whether for business or leisure, travelling overseas is no longer an arduous journey fraught with peril. And while travel has caught up with convenience and technology, so has the way to pay when you’re off on your sojourn.

    It is a type of prepaid credit card where you can deposit funds in foreign currency of your choice depending on the country you are visiting. Apart from using the forex card for transactions, you can also withdraw money from an ATM using the card. You will not require to carry your money in the wallet in cash as long as you have this card.

    Know All About Forex Cards

    Types of Forex Cards

    Forex cards are a safe solution to carrying around cash or incurring heavy charges when using a credit card or debit card while abroad. In order to suit the needs of every type of traveller, there are various types of forex cards offered.

    The Two Main Classifications Of The Types Of Forex Cards Available Are Mentioned Below:

    • Single currency forex card: As the name suggests, the single currency forex card can be preloaded with one particular currency. The card can be reloaded as and when required.
    • Multi-currency forex card: This card can be preloaded with multiple currencies, depending on the card chosen. Banks, financial institutions and travel agencies often have a choice of cards that applicants can choose from based on the currencies that can be loaded on the cards.

    In addition to this, card issuers also have forex cards that are offered to privileged banking customers or that are by invite-only. These cards generally have lower fees and charges or additional perks and privileges.

    Best Forex Cards in India

    Card Currencies
    Thomas Cook Forex Card US Dollars, Euro, Australian Dollars, British Pounds, Swiss Francs, Canadian Dollars, Singapore Dollars, Japanese Yen
    IndusInd Bank Multi Currency Forex Card US Dollar (USD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Australian Dollar (AUD), Saudi Riyal (SAR), Euro (EUR), Singapore Dollar (SGD), British Pound (GBP), United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
    HDFC Multi Currency Platinum Forex Card US Dollar, New Zealand Dollar, Kuwait Dinar, Australian Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Qatari Riyal, Canadian Dollar, Singapore Dollar, Bahrain Dinar, Euro, Oman Riyal, Korean Won, UAE Dirhams, Japanese Yen, Saudi Riyal, Sterling Pound, Malaysian Ringgit, Norwegian Krone, Swiss Franc, Thailand Baht, Danish Krone, Swedish Krona, South African Rand
    YES Bank Multi Currency Travel Forex Card USD(United States Dollar), GBP (British Pound), EUR (Euro), SGD (Singapore Dollar), AUD (Australian Dollar), AED (UAE Dirhams), JPY (Japanese Yen), CAD (Canadian Dollar), HKD (Hong Kong Dollar), CHF (Swiss Franc)
    Axis Bank Multi Currency Forex Card USD, Euro, British Pound, Singapore Dollar, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Japanese Yen, Swedish Krona, Thai Baht, United Arab Emirates Dirham, Saudi Riyal, Hong Kong Dollar, New Zealand Dollar, Danish Krone, South African Rand

    Features of a Forex Card

    Forex cards come loaded with a host of features and benefits, which are listed below:

    • They are a safe and secure way to make payments overseas as they have all the security features that come along with a credit card.
    • Since they are pre-loaded, it is easier to rein in spending when abroad since the cardholder can decide on a budget and top-up the card if and when required.
    • The ease of use and wide acceptance also make it easier for cardholders, since they need not worry about the hassle of finding an ATM or alternate payment method.
    • They eliminate the need to carry currency around, making them a safer and more convenient option compared to cash or travellers cheques.
    • Cardholders are protected from fluctuations in currency values. The currency amount loaded into the card is based on that day’s exchange rate, ensuring there is no potential loss as a result of changing money from day-to-day.
    • They are a cheaper alternative to credit or debit cards. A debit or credit card requires the cardholder to pay a currency conversion charge each time the card is used. This is due to the fact that the card issues payments in Indian Rupees, which then has to be converted into the currency of the country the cardholder is in. This conversion charge, called a cross currency mark-up is between 2-5%, depending on the type of card and the issuing bank.
    • They are a cheaper alternative to buying currency when travelling, since exchange bureaus and banks will charge a fee for converting currency. The exchange rate will also fluctuate, which could result in a loss after all fees and charges have been paid.

    Benefits of a Forex Card:

    Forex cards have a number of features that make them an attractive alternative to the traditional payment methods when overseas. In addition to these, forex cards also offer benefits such as the ones mentioned below:

    • Forex cards are a cheaper alternative to exchanging currency, especially at banks. It is cheaper for banks to issue forex cards, with the result that applicants will receive a better conversion rate.
    • Most banks do not need applicants to have an existing relationship with the bank in the form of a bank account or fixed deposit. Thus, applicants can choose from a wide range of available cards based on their needs.
    • Since forex cards come with all the safety features of a credit or debit card, they are safer than carrying around wads of cash. The chip and pin technology that secures other plastic money is also used in these cards.
    • In the event of theft or loss of the card, it can be hotlisted by contacting the issuing bank/financial institution and the balance in the card will be frozen.
    • There are no charges when the forex card is swiped at PoS terminals abroad, while debit and credit cards will be charged a small fee each time.
    • Forex cards provide ease of use as they are universally accepted and recognised. Some of them can also be used to pay for online purchases made abroad.
    • The balance on the card can be encashed when the cardholder returns at current exchange rates.
    • Some card issuers also allow for the card to be temporarily blocked and then reactivated when the cardholder goes abroad again. In this way, there are no additional charges such as maintenance charges or penalties for lack of use.
    • Queries or assistance is available round the clock with dedicated helplines and online tracking in case of a query or related issue.
    • A number of card issuers also offer deals and discounts when the forex card is used, incentivising their use.
    • Forex Cards offered by various banks are contactless.

    Benefits of Using a Forex Credit Card for Foreign Travel

    • Load multiple currencies:

      The cards can be loaded with single as well as multiple currencies. Imagine you’re visiting two different countries in a single trip, then you should ideally purchase a multi-currency forex card that allows you to load the card in different currencies. You can thus avoid the hassle of carrying two different cards for two countries.

    • Enjoy locked-in exchange rates:

      Most of the forex cards offer locked-in exchange rate feature which protects the cardholder from fluctuating currency rates. Irrespective of the dollar rate on a given day, your money in the card remains the same.

    • No currency exchange hassles:

      Carrying a forex card, frees you from the hassle of exchanging currency is foreign locations. With a pre-loaded forex card, you don’t have to search for a money exchange outlet in a foreign location. Further, loading currency in a forex card is much cheaper compared to buying foreign currency as cash.

    • Shop without limit:

      Forex cards can also be used at most of the merchant outlets located across the globe. You can also shop on international sites using the card just like how you do with your normal credit card or debit card. There won’t be any extra charge for all such point-of-sale or online transactions.

    • Cash withdrawal from any ATM:

      You can also withdraw the loaded amount in your forex card from any international ATM. The card will automatically detect the country you are in and dispense cash in local currency. However, users will be charged with a flat ATM withdrawal fee per transaction.

    • Safe and secure:

      Most forex cards come with an embedded chip technology which is more secure than the magnetic strip technology, typically used on regular debit cards and credit cards. The chip stores confidential information in encrypted form hence provides enhanced security against counterfeiting and skimming credit card frauds.

    • Globally accepted:

      Forex cards are accepted globally and can be used for booking air tickets, hotel rooms, dining, shopping both online and offline, as well as even for withdrawing money from any ATM abroad.

    • Higher expiry date

      Once you have loaded the money, it will be valid for at least 5 years depending on the validity of your Forex Card. In case there is any amount left in your Forex account, you don’t have to worry about getting it converted to any other currency. You can simply travel to the country of your choice and use the Forex Card and use the left-over amount. Once the amount is exhausted you can get a top-up and use it again.

    How Does a Forex Card Work?

    Forex cards are the future of overseas transactions due to their safety, convenience as well as their universal acceptance. Forex cards, as mentioned above, work exactly like debit and credit cards.

    When applying for a forex card, it is advisable to look up the various cards offered by banks and other institutions. Choose between a single currency card (if the trip is to a particular region or country) and a multi-currency card. Multi-currency cards can be loaded with up to 16 different currencies.

    Once the applicant has submitted all the paperwork and received the forex card with the PIN, he/she should change the assigned PIN and check the card balance at an ATM of the issuing bank/financial institution. Alternatively, cardholders can check the balance using internet banking if the issuing bank has this facility.

    The forex card can then be used at merchant establishments overseas by simply swiping/dipping the card (based on the type of card availed). Since the card is preloaded, the balance will reflect the payments charged to the card instantly.

    Cardholders can keep track of their balance and transactions through methods such as SMS alerts or notifications from the issuing bank/financial institution.

    How to Apply for A Forex Card

    Applying for a forex card is a quick and easy process, with several banks and financial institutions, as well as large travel agencies offering these cards.

    • You can visit a bank branch or apply online for a card of your choice.
    • Most banks and financial institutions offer different cards depending on the type of perks and benefits that can be availed.
    • After selecting the card, you wish to apply for, you can either visit a bank branch with the required documentation or you could apply online if the facility is provided.

    Documents Required for Forex Card

    When applying for a forex card from a bank, financial institution or travel agency, there are some criteria that have to be met before the card is issued. There are also certain documents that have to be submitted. While documentation may differ based on the card issuer.

    The Basic Documents Required are as Follows:

    • Application form.
    • Copy of passport (self-attested).
    • Copy of visa (visas if the trip involves multiple countries).
    • Airline ticket copy.
    • PAN card.

    Based on the card issuer and type of forex card being applied for, there could be other documents that need to be furnished. This would depend on the amount being loaded onto the card as well as in case any regulatory changes are made.

    Fees and Charges for A Forex Card

    Applying for a forex card is a quick and hassle-free process, from the application process itself to the documents and fees. Fees and charges would depend on the card issuer, as well as the type of forex card selected. Multi-currency cards and those with additional benefits are likely to have higher fees associated with them.

    There Are Various Types of Fees and Charges Associated With A Forex Card, Which Have Been Briefly Explained Below:

    Forex Card Fees:

    Forex Card particulars
    Initial fee This is the amount that is to be paid when applying for the card.
    Reload/Renewal fee This amount is to be paid each time the card is reloaded with currency or renewed (in case of inactive cards).
    Add-on card fee If applicable, this fee is levied on an additional card that is provided.
    Encashment charges This fee is levied when the balance amount on the card is encashed.

    Forex Card ATM Fees:

    Forex Card ATM particulars
    Cash withdrawal This fee is levied on each cash withdrawal made while abroad.
    Balance enquiry This fee is levied each time a request for the card’s updated balance is made.
    Cross currency charge In the event the currency on the card does not match the transaction currency, this fee will be levied at the time of making the transaction.
    Replacement card fee This fee is levied if a replacement card is to be issued to the cardholder.

    Difference between a Credit Card and Forex Card

    There are certain differences between a credit card and a forex card. We will list them down below:

    Category Credit Card Forex Card
    Mark-up fee On using your credit card abroad, you will attract a mark-up fee ranging between 2% and 5%. This type of charge is avoidable on using a Forex card.
    Fluctuation in the value of the currency The value of the currency will be chargeable based on its value in the global markets. Once you have loaded the currency, you do not have to worry about the fluctuation in the value of the currency as the value is locked.
    Cash Withdrawal Slightly higher ATM charges as compared to Forex cards. Lower ATM charges on withdrawing cash
    Flexibility You cannot load multiple currency. The fee you will have to pay will be based on the current value of the currency to the Indian Rupee. You can load up to 22 currency and use it in the country you are travelling to and not pay any additional charges
    Top-up option You will have to clear the amount spent on your card. A card limit will be levied. Once you have exhausted the amount loaded in your card, you can get a top-up and use it again.

    Quick Do’s and Don’ts When Using a Forex Card

    A forex card is a boon for those looking for a convenient and safe way to make payments when overseas. While forex cards are safe to use and have a number of benefits, there are also some points applicants should keep in mind when using a forex card.

    A Quick List of Tips Is Provided Below:

    • Always check the balance on the forex card after each transaction is made.
    • Take a back-up card in the event the forex card is lost/stolen or malfunctions
    • Change the PIN at a local ATM before leaving for the trip.
    • Check the expiry date mentioned on the card.
    • Never use a forex card to pre-hire a room or pay for a deposit for a rental house/car/room when abroad.
    • Do not use the forex card to pay in currency other than the one loaded on the card.
    • Do not use the forex card to pay toll at toll booths when abroad as it will not work.

    FAQs on Forex Cards

    1. What is the minimum amount that I can load on my forex card?

      The minimum amount that can be loaded on a forex card would depend on the card issuer and the type of card selected.

    2. Can I use Forex card in the ATM?

      Yes, Forex cards can be used to withdraw money in the ATM.

    3. What is a multi-currency forex card?

      A multi-currency forex card is a type of forex card on which multiple currencies can be loaded. These forex cards can have up to 16 currencies at a time.

    4. Is a Forex card better than a debit card?

      A Forex card is more efficient when it comes to international travel. It is widely accepted and saves you any kind of conversion fee as well. It is better to keep a forex card with the foreign currency deposited in it when you are travelling.

    5. How do I withdraw money from my forex card when abroad?

      When abroad, you can withdraw money from your forex card by simply visiting an ATM and choosing ‘credit card’ as the type of card. Follow the instructions on the screen in order to make your withdrawal from the card.

    6. Can I reload my forex card when overseas?

      No, most forex card issuers do not allow you to top up the card when overseas. Instead, you can authorise an individual to top it up on your behalf.

    7. How many days prior to my trip can I buy the forex card?

      Subject to meeting the requirements for the forex card, you can apply up to 60 days prior to your trip.

    8. What do I do if I lose my forex card while overseas?

      If you lose or misplace your forex card, you can contact the card issuer on toll-free helplines and request that the card be blocked. It is advisable to report the theft or loss of card as soon as you realise it is missing.

    9. Will my forex card come with insurance cover?

      Yes, most forex cards come with insurance cover. However, it is advisable to check with the card issuer prior to applying.

    10. How do I cancel my forex card?

      You can cancel your forex card by contacting the card issuer and submitting a request for card cancellation.

    11. Is there a transaction fee each time I use my forex card?

      No, there is no transaction fee levied each time you use your forex card for purchases abroad, provided they are made in the currency preloaded on the card.


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