With globalisation becoming the flavour 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.
Forex cards are slowly becoming the norm instead of the exception when individuals travel abroad nowadays. A forex card is a foreign exchange prepaid credit card that can be used overseas and can be loaded with multiple currencies. A forex card is considered the successor to travel currency cards which allowed for a single foreign currency to be preloaded on the card.
Forex cards function like credit cards, with the only exception being that money is being debited from the card each time a transaction is made. Most forex cards available today allow for the loading of multiple currencies (this could differ based on the issuing bank and the type of card being availed) and provide the safety that comes with using plastic money.
Forex cards are a safe solution to carrying around cash or incurring heavy charges when using a credit 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:
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.
Forex cards come loaded with a host of features and benefits, which are listed below:
Forex cards have a number of features that make them an attractive alternative to the traditional payments methods when overseas. In addition to these, forex cards also offer benefits such as the ones mentioned below:
Whether you visit a foreign location once in a while or quite frequently, carrying cash is one of the important aspects. As one country’s currency is not valid in another, we cannot carry cash in Indian currency. Similarly, not all the debit cards or credit cards are allowed for use in other countries. We can neither pre-book each and every aspect of our travel. Hence, we certainly need a way to carry money to foreign locations.
Conventional ways of carrying money to other countries include carrying cash exchanged in the country’s currency or carrying traveller’s cheques. However, both have their own security concerns. What if you lose your money or the cheques you’re carrying? In a country where everyone else is strangers other than your companions, you can’t even ask for help.
Forex credit cards have evolved as a safe and convenient method to carry foreign exchange. Forex cards are prepaid credit cards which can be loaded with currencies of one or more countries thus offer travellers the convenience to use the card just like a debit or credit card.
Travellers can purchase the card well in advance to their journey, recharge it with a money equivalent to $10,000 to $25,000 based on the trip type. Compared to traditional options, forex cards provide multiple benefits in a single card. Listed below are all such benefits, one can avail by using a forex credit card in a foreign land.
Well, these are a few benefits of using forex credit card while travelling abroad compared to other conventional methods. Forex cards are available as over-the-counter products at any of the bank branches and can be purchased 30 days in advance to your travel. However, issuance of the card is subject to the submission of appropriate travel documents as required by the bank. The cards are valid for 3-5 years and can be recharged whenever necessary using your online banking accounts.
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.
When abroad, a forex card can be used at ATMs to withdraw cash or for balance enquiries, statement requests and other such facilities.
When using a forex card at an ATM, the type of card to be selected for the transaction is ‘credit card’.
A forex card can be used like a credit card for payments at merchant outlets overseas. Depending on the type of card, it can be dipped/swiped at a PoS terminal and the amount charged would be instantly deducted at source.
With the host of benefits and features that it offers, a forex card is the ideal solution for those travelling abroad and looking for a safe and secure payment method. Applying for a forex card is a quick and easy process, with a number of banks and financial institutions, as well as large travel agencies offering these cards.
At the outset, choose the type of forex card and look at options offered by various issuers. Depending on the time of year, banks offers deals and discounts on forex cards, so it would be beneficial if you as an applicant looked at all options.
Following this, 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.
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:
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.
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: These fees are levied for expenses related to the physical forex card and are as follows:
|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: These are fees chargeable when the forex card is used at ATMs and are as follows:
|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.|
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:
FAQ’s of 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.
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.
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.
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.
Subject to meeting the requirements for the forex card, you can apply up to 60 days prior to your trip.
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.
Yes, it is possible to re-convert the foreign currency on the card into Indian currency once you have returned by visiting a branch/office of the card issuer.
Yes, most forex cards come with insurance cover. However, it is advisable to check with the card issuer prior to applying.
You can cancel your forex card by contacting the card issuer and submitting a request for card cancellation.
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.