Travel offers a thrill that few others things or activities can match. The excitement of discovering new places, cuisines, cultures. People and an overall new way of life can be an eye-opening experience. You might have a job you love, a social circle teeming with friends but none of this can be a substitute for travel. A trip taken somewhere can not only help you unwind but also help you relax physically, by providing a break from our monotonous daily work routine. Travel, as we all know, can be exciting, but it also can be full of uncertainties. Just like insurance is necessary while travelling, a best debit cards comes in equally handy, if not more. While travelling, handling cash and making payments often become an irritating issue. Which is why various banks have introduced pre paid cards specially designed to aid you while you’re travelling. These cards come with a variety of benefits allowing you to make purchases and payments, be it at retail stores or restaurants or anywhere else.
Here are the top 5 banks which offer a range of prepaid cards to make your international travel easier.
- ICICI Bank
ICICI has introduced a special offering for customers who are travelling abroad. The ICICI Bank Travel Card is a pre-paid foreign currency card which has been designed to make your trip abroad completely fuss free. Using this card is very easy. All you have to do is load the card with the chosen foreign currency by paying in INR while you’re in India. You can use this card in multiple ways to make purchases at retail outlets abroad, or make e-commerce transactions. This card also enables you to withdraw cash, in case you are in need, from any Visa enabled ATM. In addition the aforementioned, this card carries a host of other benefits like SMS alerts sent for every transaction made with the card, online account access to card details, easy reloading of card while travelling, free replacement card included in the Travel Card Kit, transaction security with ATM PIN and provision of complimentary Air Accident insurance and Zero Lost Liability.
- HDFC Bank
For those who are preparing to travel abroad have a wide variety of pre-paid travel cards from HDFC to choose from. The bank offers a wide range of pre-paid cards designed specially for travelers touring overseas, be it for business, leisure or academic purposes. These pre-paid cards come with a host of benefits and advantages which can often be indispensable and provide you with peace of mind while travelling. Widely accepted worldwide, these pre-paid card are available in Visa and MasterCard options and can be taken in a wide variety of currencies like AUD, AED, CAD, CHF, Euro, GBP, SGD, SEK, USD and more. Some of the notable benefits provided by these cards include protection against foreign exchange fluctuations, enhanced transaction safety via PIN usage, easy reloading at any HDFC branch via phone banking or net banking, provision of a backup card provided with the primary card (provided on request) and ease of tracking account activity online. Some of the popular pre-paid cards offered by HDFC include the ForexPlus Card, Hajj Umrah ForexPlus Card (for Hajj & Umrah Pilgrims), ForexPlus Chip Card, ForexPlus Platinum Card, Multi Currency Platinum ForexPlus Chip Card, ISIC Student ID ForexPlus Chip Card, etc.
- Axis Bank
Another leading bank to offer you the convenience of hassle free travel is Axis Bank. For those travelling overseas, the bank offers two special pre-paid travel cards which are feature rich. The first is the Multi-Currency Forex Card and the Travel Currency Card.
- Multi-Currency Forex Card
Under the Multi-Currency Forex Card, Axis Bank offers three different variations - Multi-Currency Forex Card, Contactless Multi-Currency Forex Card and a Multi-Currency Image Card. These cards allow you to travel around the world without the need to issue travelers cheques and other cumbersome forms of making payments. Available in multiple currencies like USD, EUR, GBP, SGD, AUD, CAD, JPY, CHF, THB, AED, SAR, ZAR, NZD, HKD, etc., the card protects you from exchange rate fluctuations and is valid for a period of 5 years. You may use this card at Visa merchant locations, to make online purchases at e-commerce websites and to withdraw cash at any Visa ATM. The cards provide you with insurance cover up to Rs 3,00,000 (fraudulent usage due to loss of card), easy encashment options upon your return and timely SMS alerts for every transactions done with the card.
- Travel Currency Card
To make travel abroad easier, Axis Bank presents the Travel Currency Card. Forego the hassles of issuing traveler's cheques or dealing with money changers as this card comes with a score of benefits to make travelling easier. Available in a variety of foreign currencies like USD, AED, CAD, SAR, AUD, GBP, SGD, CHF, EUR, SEK, JPY, NZD, ZAR, etc., the card is widely accepted worldwide at VISA/MasterCard merchant locations, online retailers and for cash withdrawal at Visa or MasterCard enabled ATMs. What’s better, you can use your Travel Currency Card for Duty Free shopping across all international airports in India. Also, you get SMS alerts on your registered mobile number for every transaction that is done using the card.
- Multi-Currency Forex Card
- SBI Bank
State Bank of India offers the SBI Foreign Travel Card, a prepaid foreign currency card designed for those traveling abroad. This Chip based card is a much safer option of carrying cash while travelling, as compared to travelers cheques or even hard cash. The card is accepted worldwide and allows you to make payments for shopping, dining, etc., with ease. This card is currently available in 8 types of foreign currencies, which are, SGD, SAR, AUD, CAD, YEN, EUR, GBP and USD. Be assured of getting competitive exchange rates with this card which can also be easily reloaded as many times as you may need. The card will be operated with the use of a 4-digit ATM PIN and you will also get SMS alerts for every transaction which you carry out with this card, for easier account tracking.
- IndusInd BankFor a stress free journey overseas, IndusInd presents the Indus Forex Card and the Indus Multi Currency Card. Both these cards come loaded with a host of features and benefits to help make transacting easy while you are travelling.
- Indus Forex Card
This card has been tailor made to suit all your needs and requirements for transacting when you’re travelling abroad. Available in various currencies like USD, GBP, AUD, SGD, SAR, CAD, AED and more, this card is widely accepted worldwide at over 28 million merchant establishments like hotels, petrol stations, convenience stores, hospitals, restaurants, etc., with the Visa logo. This card can also be used to withdraw money from any Visa enabled ATM. You are also protected against exchange rate fluctuations. You have the option of choosing a single or a paired kit. In a paired kit, you get an extra card which can come in handy in case your primary card is lost or stolen. In case you have unused funds on your card, after your return from your trip, you can easily refund the same by visiting your nearest IndusInd ATM. You may load your card with currency any number of times as the need arises. Account activity can be tracked with ease via SMS alerts which are sent to your phone for every transaction.
- Indus Multi Currency Card
This is a unique card offered by IndusInd which packs 8 currencies on one single card so you can travel with ease without worrying about money. With safety features to protect your card from counterfeit and skimming, this travel card can be used at merchant establishments like stores, hospitals, petrol stations, convenience stores, etc. You may also withdraw cash from Visa / Visa Plus ATMs in case you are in need of cash. You can make up to 12 transactions daily with a usage limit of Rs 5,00,000 equivalent of transactions. This card too features easy refund processing with which you can easily refund the unutilized funds remaining on your card upon your return. Also, you can choose from a single card or paired card option. With the paired card option, you get a replacement card along with the primary card, which can come in handy if the primary card gets stolen to misplaced.
- Indus Forex Card
Q. Where can I use my ICICI Travel Card?
A. You can use this card not only to make purchases at merchant outlets, but also make online payments while you are abroad. This card can also be used to withdraw cash at any VISA enabled ATM.
Q. Can I use my existing ICICI Travel card for my next trip abroad?
A. Yes. You can easily do so. All you must do is reload your existing card with the currency you require by paying in INR before your next trip. Once you have provided the necessary documentation, the card can be reloaded.
Q. When does Zero Lost Liability on the Travel Card come into effect?
A. This Travel Card features Zero Lost Liability which comes into effect as soon as you report the loss of your card to the bank’s customer care center. The replacement card will be sent to you in a deactivated state for added security.
Q. Is there any currency conversion markup applicable on this Travel Card?
A. Yes, a currency conversion markup at the rate of 3.50% with addition of GST, is applicable on this card.
Q. What is the complimentary Air Accident Insurance provided on this card?
A. The ICICI Travel Card provides you with complimentary Air Accident Insurance of up to Rs 10 lakhs. Additionally, the card also provides comprehensive travel insurance which covers Personal Air Accident Cover (death only), Missing of connecting international flight during transit, Hijacking, Loss of travel documents (tickets, Visa, Passport), delay in receipt of baggage, Lost Card Liability Insurance and Counterfeit Card Liability Insurance.
Q. Where can I use my ForexPlus Card?
A. You may use your ForexPlus Card to not only make purchases at retail stores abroad but also shop at online retailers. You may also withdraw cash from any Visa enabled ATM with this card.
Q. Do I need to hold an HDFC account to get a Haj Umrah ForexPlus Card?
A. No, you needn’t be a customer of the bank to get this card. You may walk into any HDF branch in India and purchase this card over the counter after you have submitted the necessary documents.
Q. Can I top up my ForexPlus Chip Card while I am travelling overseas?
A. Yes, you may easily top up your prepaid card. This can be done on behalf of someone who has been authorized by you, who can walk into an HDFC branch with the necessary documents and funds.
Q. Is there any cashback available on the ForexPlus Platinum Card?
A. Yes, this card offers 0.5% cashback on every purchase.
Q. Is there any charge for using the Travel Currency Card for online transactions abroad?
A. No, there are no charges applicable for online shopping done using this Travel Card.
Q. Can I refund the unused balance on my Travel Currency Card upon my return?
A. Yes, you may easily refund the unutilized amount on the card on returning. You can choose from getting your balance uncashed, get it transferred to a Residential Foreign Currency Domestic Account or just let the balance remain on the card for future use.
Q. Can I use the Travel Currency Card of the Multi-Currency Forex Card in India?
A. You may only use these cards to check your card balance or change your ATM PIN at any Axis Bank ATM. You will not be allowed to carry out any financial transactions using this card in India, Bhutan or Nepal as per the FEMA guidelines.
Q. Can I use this card anywhere in the world to make payments?
A. Yes, this card may be used in all countries except for India, Nepal and Bhutan.
GST of 18% is applicable on all banking products and services from July 1, 2017 onwards.