7 Best Forex Card for Students in India 2023

Before we start discussing the best forex card for students in India, let me tell you an important tip about forex cards usage.

You can claim a new ticket cost-free of cost using your forex card if you miss a connecting international flight due to a delay in the arrival of the first international flight.

You get the new ticket through the travel insurance cover provided on the forex card. 

But there’s a condition that you have to fulfill. You must have boarded your first international flight to claim the ticket amount for the missed flight.

For example, you are flying from New Delhi to Vancouver via Dubai on Emirates airlines. Your flight from New Delhi to Dubai gets delayed and you miss your connecting flight to Vancouver from Dubai. 

You can only claim the ticket for the missed connecting flight to Vancouver if you had boarded the first flight from New Delhi to Dubai.

This facility comes under the travel insurance cover you get with a bank forex card but every forex card doesn’t come with travel insurance. 

Forex cards offered by currency exchange companies like Niyo, Wise (Thomas Cook is an exception) don’t provide insurance cover. So we have divided the article into two parts –

  • Best forex cards with low conversion charges
  • Best forex cards with insurance cover

At the end of this article, you’ll learn about 5 important points (such as travel insurance) to consider before buying the best forex card for students.

Best Forex Card for Students in India (Low Conversion Fee) 2023

#1. Niyo Global Card

Fees and ChargesJoining Fee – 0
Annual Fee – Rs. 500
ATM withdrawal fee – Rs. 100
Reissue of Card – Rs. 250
Currencies Available90+ currencies
Currency Conversion FeeZERO

Niyo Global card is the best forex card because you don’t have to pay any currency conversion fee usually banks charge on top of VISA exchange rates on your transactions.

You can top up your Niyo Global card with Indian rupees (INR) and utilize the card in 90+ currencies across the globe including USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, and AUD.

You can load your Niyo Global card in INR even while you are abroad using the Niyo app and it will auto-convert the money to the local currency. You can use Niyo Global card in over 150 countries for online, POS (Point of Sale), or ATM transactions.

There are zero transaction fees for NEFT/RTGS/IMPS transactions. However, you have to pay 5% as TCS (Tax Collected at Source) if the International POS and online transaction amount exceeds Rs. 7 lakhs in that financial year.

Niyo app also helps you check real-time currency rates within the app at any point in time. 

You also get an ATM locator in the app to find the nearest ATM in case you are out of cash in a foreign land. But cash withdrawal at ATM attracts Rs. 100 per transaction.

The Niyo Global app also records all your transactions in the local currency for easy tracking.

You also get a Niyo Global zero balance savings account with 5% interest P.A. 

Key Benefits

  • Zero forex markup fee 
  • Load money via IMPS/NEFT/UPI without paying charges
  • Utilize for 90+ currencies
  • Accepted in 150 countries
  • Complimentary lounge access
  • Easy to use app
  • Hassle-free online account opening process

#2. Wise Borderless Card

wise borderless card
Fees and ChargesJoining Fee – 0
Annual Fee – 0
ATM withdrawal fee – 1.75% (2 free)
Reissue of Card – 3 GBP
Currencies Available50+ currencies 
Currency Conversion FeeUp to 1%

Wise is a low fee forex card that allows you to deal in 50+ currencies and is accepted in 30+ countries across the globe. 

You can load Indian rupees and pay a small conversion fee (between 0.35% and 1%) when you convert into local currency.

You can also pay with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay as you can attach your wise card with the said paying apps.

You can withdraw money from ATM using the Wise card which is free for up to 2 ATM withdrawals up to AUD/CAD 350 per month, after that, you have to pay 1.75% of the withdrawal amount. 

For US students, the withdrawal amount is very less at 100 USD and you have to pay 2% once the free withdrawal amount is over.

Wise is regulated by FCA which is another plus point. 

One shortcoming that I noticed is that Wise cards are not available in India which means you can create an account in India and operate successfully. But your wise card will be delivered to your said address in the country you are going to study.

In case, you were thinking about how to pay the University fee if you don’t have the forex card, then no worries, you can easily pay your University fees using the Wise account at a low conversion rate making it a cost-effective method for students. 

Key Benefits

  • Low conversion fee up to 1%
  • 2 free monthly ATM withdrawals 
  • 50+ currencies accepted in 30+ countries
  • FCA approved

Also check out – Best forex trading apps in India

Best Forex Card for Students in India (with Insurance Cover)

#3. Thomas Cook One Currency Card

Fees and ChargesJoining Fee – 150
Annual Fee – 0
Reload Fee – 100
ATM withdrawal fee – USD 2
Inactivity Fee – USD 6.99
Currencies Available1 (USD)
Currency Conversion FeeZero

If you are going to study primarily in the United States, then go with the Thomas Cook One Currency Card that comes with zero currency conversion charges & insurance cover of up to $10,000.

You can easily reload your Thomas Cook card using the online portal so you are not dependent on family members to deposit money on your forex card.

Another benefit of One currency card is that cash withdrawal at Allpoint ATMs is free, but on other ATMs, there’s a charge of $2. 

Thomas Cook charges a high fee of around $7 if your card is inactive for more than 6 months.

Key Benefits

  • Zero currency conversion fee
  • No annual fee
  • Fee ATM withdrawal at Allpoint ATM network
  • Single USD currency that is accepted worldwide
  • $10,000 insurance cover

#4. HDFC Forex Plus Card

hdfc forex plus card
Fees and ChargesJoining Fee – Rs. 500
Annual Fee – Rs. 500
Reissue of Card – Rs. 100
Reload Fee – Rs. 75
ATM withdrawal fee – USD 2
Currencies Available22 currencies
Currency Conversion Fee2%

You can go with the HDFC Forex Plus card which is a multicurrency card with a 22 currency loading facility. 

hdfc currency list

The card comes with PayWave technology that allows you to perform secure contactless payments by waving cards from up to 4 cms distance.

Another benefit is you get only a 2% currency markup fee which lowest among the bank forex cards. 

The Forexplus card comes with an insurance cover of up to Rs. 5 lakh against misuses like fraudulent activity or skimming. And up to Rs. 60,000 cover for loss of cash in transit.

You also get Emergency Cash delivery assistance services in 32 countries by calling on their customer care number in case of the card is lost or your card not working.

You can easily reload money on your card through net banking if you have an HDFC bank account in India. So it’s better to open an HDFC savings account in India first and then go for this forex card to utilize hassle-free money transfer.

You can also withdraw money from ATMs in the local currency up to 5000 USD per day which is sufficient for a student to pay University’s semester fees or any other payment like the rental room advance. 

But you have to pay $2 per transaction.

Key Benefits

  • Lower currency conversion fee at 2%
  • Utilize for 22 currencies across the globe
  • Accepted in 130 countries
  • Easy online money reloading from net banking
  • Insurance of up to Rs. 5 lakh against fraud & Rs. 60,000 for loss of cash
  • Emergency Cash delivery assistance service available 
  • PayWave technology for secure contactless payments

You can also read about HDFC forex card charges in detail.

#5. ICICI Student Forex Card

Fees and ChargesJoining Fee – Rs. 499
Annual Fee – Rs. 199
Reissue of Card – Free (1st time)
Reload Fee – Rs. 100
ATM withdrawal fee – USD 2
Currencies Available15
Currency Markup Fee3.5%

ICICI Student forex card comes with a daily ATM cash withdrawal limit of $2,000 but you have to pay a fee of $2 on each ATM withdrawal. If you want to check your ATM balance, you’ll be paying $0.50, so better use the ICICI iMobile app.

You have access to 15 foreign currencies to avoid real-time currency rate fluctuations. 

ICICI bank currency list

ICICI charges a 3.5% currency conversion fee which is higher than peers and they haven’t mentioned it anywhere on their website. 

I had to dig deeper to extract ICICI currency conversion rates mentioned on the terms and conditions page, not accessible directly to the reader.

With an ICICI student forex card, you get an insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh in case of fraud activity, and up to Rs. 80,000 on card loss or damage.

You also get International Student Identity Card (ISIC) membership worth Rs. 590 for free.

ISIC membership offers you discounts on Books, Food, Shopping, Accommodation, and travel in 130 countries.

ICICI charges inactivity fees of USD 5  for not using for 180 days. ICICI also charges $1 per month as International SMS alert charges. 

Key Benefits

  • 15 currencies can be loaded
  • Higher ATM cash withdrawal limit at $2000
  • Free ISIC membership

Also check – Best time for forex trading in India

#6. SBI VISA Travel Card

sbi visa travel card
Fees and ChargesJoining Fee – Rs. 100
Annual Fee – 0
Reissue of Card – USD 2
Reload Fee – Rs. 50
ATM withdrawal fee – USD 1.75
Currencies Available8
Currency Markup Fee3%

SBI VISA travel card comes with a daily ATM cash withdrawal limit of USD 3,000 and you can also spend up to USD 5000 per day on POS or online transactions.

SBI has low ATM withdrawal and Reload fee as compared to the competitor banks like HDFC and ICICI.

You have to load a minimum of 200 USD on your forex card to activate it and you can load in 8 currencies as shown below –

  • US Dollars (USD)
  • Pound Sterling (GBP)
  • Euro (EUR)
  • Japanese Yen (YEN)
  • Canadian Dollar (CAD)
  • Australian Dollar (AUD)
  • Saudi Riyal (SAR)
  • Singapore Dollar(SGD)

You have to pay 3% currency conversion charges on SBI forex card usage.

The major benefit of having an SBI card is the global presence of SBI banks. Whether it’s Canada’s Brampton or Germany’s Frankfurt, you would find an SBI bank branch there. In case of any problem with the card, you can visit the nearest branch.

Otherwise, you can call their NRI helpline to get the issue resolved. 

Key Benefits

  • 8 major currencies are available
  • Higher cash withdrawal limit
  • No annual fee
  • Vast global presence
  • Up to Rs. 3 lakh insurance cover

#7. Yes Bank Travel Card

Yes bank travel card
Fees and ChargesJoining Fee – 125
Annual Fee – 0
Reload Fee – Rs. 100
ATM withdrawal fee – USD 2
Reissue of Card – Rs. 100 
Currencies Available15
Currency Conversion Fee2.75%

Yes bank offers you 15 currencies to load in the forex card with a currency conversion fee of 2.75% which is slightly lower than top banks in India except for HDFC.

You also get an insurance cover on fraudulent or skimming entry up to Rs. 3,00,000 similar to SBI.

The Yes bank has dedicated toll-free support numbers for 4 countries – USA/Canada, UK, and UAE.

So if you are studying in any of the above countries, you can go with a Yes bank travel card if customer support is a major concern for you.

Key Benefits

  • Sightly lower currency conversion charges
  • 15 currencies available
  • Rs. 3 lakh insurance cover 

Also read Earn money online in India for students

Things to Consider before Choosing a Forex Card for a Student

#1. Fees and Charges

The major fees or charges that you should take care of while selecting a forex card are as below –

Cross Currency Fee  

Cross currency charges are the rates at which your forex card bank charges when you convert the loaded money into the foreign currency. 

These fees are charged on top of exchange rates that make transactions costlier.

So low cross-currency or forex markup fee should be your prime concern while buying a prepaid forex card.

Reload Fee

Reload fee is charged every time you or your family in India load money into your forex card which means every time money deposited in the card attracts charges.

Annual Fee

Check whether the bank charges an annual fee or not. 

Inactivity Fee 

Some banks charge you a hefty amount in case your forex card is inactive for a certain period, say 6 months. 

So keep an eye on the inactivity fee, so doing a transaction every now and then would save you an inactivity fee, even if you get a local bank account opened and don’t require a forex card.

Card Reissue Fee

Some banks charge you a Reissue fee while applying for another card in case your forex card is lost, damaged, or stolen.

Also, check if the concerned bank has fixed any penalty fee on the loss of card because some banks like SBI charges Rs. 100 if the card is lost in India and $20 if lost outside India apart from Reissue Fee.

Issuance Fee

Issuance or joining fee is charged when you sign up for a forex card. Go with the lowest one.

#2. Low-Cost ATM Withdrawal 

You have to pay 2 types of withdrawal charges in the foreign ATM –

  1. Your forex card issuer bank charges fee on ATM withdrawal
  2. ATM owner bank or company charges a fee

To avoid issuer bank fees, try to find a card that either doesn’t charge you on ATM withdrawal or offers you some free withdrawals every month. Otherwise, go with the lowest ATM withdrawal charges.

Another hack to avoid ATM owner bank charges is to find if your forex card issuer bank has collaboration with any ATM service provider company. 

For example, Thomas Cook has a collaboration with All point ATMs in the US, Canada, UK, Mexico, and Australia. So Cash withdrawal at those ATMs would be cheaper as compared to withdrawing from any random ATM.

#3. Online Reload Facility

It’s convenient to go with a Forex prepaid card which has the facility to reload the card online from abroad rather than asking your parents to reach the bank and deposit money.

Most private banks like HDFC, ICICI, and currency exchange companies like Niyo and Thomas cook offer online reloading of forex cards.

But whereas Govt. banks like PNB don’t offer any smooth online reloading process. So avoid such banks that increase the hassle of money reloading.

#4. Customer Support Outside India

Always find out the customer support system a company or bank provides when in a foreign land. 

Niyo provides you Whatsapp chat support 24×7 and most private banks have dedicated hotline numbers to connect with customer support from abroad. 

SBI is the only Govt. bank that offers you dedicated customer support numbers country-wise, along with that, they also have a presence in all major countries across the globe.

#5. Insurance Cover

All bank-forex cards come with travel insurance and fraudulent activity cover. They also cover card loss, emergency cash assistance, missed flight (as I told you in the beginning), and baggage delay cover in the insurance which could be useful in case of any emergency.

But most companies like Niyo, Wise don’t offer travel insurance cover but offer low currency conversion fees. 

So you can decide whether you should go with low-cost transactions or you can feel secure with the insurance cover and go with bank-forex cards.

Check out – Punishment for forex trading legal in India

Final Thoughts

Niyo global card is the overall best forex card in India that comes with zero currency conversion fee and your money remains in INR and you can convert in desired currency whenever you want.

Go with Wise Borderless Card which is a low-cost card accepted in 30 plus countries but highly popular in the UK and European countries. You also get 2 ATM withdrawals free which are useful if you need hard cash.

If you are looking for a bank card that comes with insurance cover, then go with an HDFC Forexplus card that offers 22 currency loading, has a lower currency conversion rate of 2% and you get 5 lakh travel insurance cover.

About Raghav Gupta

I have done B.com and MBA in finance, so have a keen interest in personal finance. You will find information related to investment, credit cards, taxation and banking on SimpleInterest.

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