Gone are the days when you had to worry about carrying cash while on your trips abroad or fret over the high transaction costs of international credit or debit cards. Forex cards have replaced the traveler's checks and foreign currency in tourists' baggage and have become popular among travelers due to their wide acceptance.
If you are planning an international trip, read on to know the various aspects and benefits of these cards.
What are forex cards?
Foreign exchange or forex cards are prepaid cards commonly issued by banks and travel companies and can be used like debit/credit cards. These cards can be loaded with the currency of your destination before you leave for your trip. Multicurrency forex cards are also available that facilitate currency conversion across countries.
Guidelines for forex cards
The maximum and minimum amounts that can be loaded on the card are determined by the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) limit and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulations.
Can forex cards be reloaded?
Reloading is possible at an additional charge. It is important to note that forex cards cannot be reloaded remotely, even if the bank through which you applied for the card has branches in the city or country you are visiting. To reload your card, you will need to contact the branch or center from where your card was issued and submit the pre-signed reload form, authorization letter and reload amount through someone in India.
You can choose to load some cash as buffer initially since you have the option of getting a refund once you are back.
What are the benefits?
Here's why forex cards are beneficial over other conventional payment options while traveling abroad:
Corporates prefer forex cards for employees who travel abroad since keeping track of employees' expenses and expense settlement become easier. Several banks also offer an overdraft to companies allowing them to make payments later.
In case you misplace your card or damage it, it is possible to get a replacement by intimating the center where your card was issued. In case it was misplaced, the issuing center will take necessary steps to ensure the balance amount on your card is secure. Some banks also transfer an exigency amount at an additional cost for use until you receive a duplicate.
Easy transactions across the world
How to Apply
To apply for a forex card, submit an A2 form (available online or with the issuer), your passport, the funds and other documents required by the individual issuer. Some issuers ask for PAN card, copy of your flight ticket, visa granted by the destination country etc. or any other documents of proof as mandated by FEMA.
Some issuers offer complimentary features such as travel insurance, air accident insurance, etc. Check with your issuer to understand the terms and conditions of the forex card and make an informed decision to avoid financial worries during your trip.