International Bank Cards/Forex Cards – moving from India to the U.S.

Updated on March 12, 2024

What is an International Bank Card/ Forex Card?

At a Glance: An international bank card or forex card is a prepaid ATM card that allows you to withdraw money in the local currency of a foreign country from ATMs. When you purchase a forex card, you load it with a minimum balance in your home currency, which is then converted into the foreign currency at the prevailing exchange rate. Forex cards have limits on withdrawals and fees for ATM usage. Different banks offer forex cards with varying fees and charges. Forex cards provide benefits such as convenience, protection against currency fluctuations, wide acceptability, and additional perks like insurance coverage and dining privileges.

A Forex card is similar to a prepaid ATM card, which lets you withdraw money from an ATM in a foreign country, in their local currency.

When you purchase a forex card, you need to top up the card with at least a minimum balance in Indian currency; the amount is then converted into dollars (or any other foreign currency), on the same day at the prevalent exchange rate.

As per RBI regulations, an Indian citizen going abroad for a general visit cannot take more than $10,000 in a year with him abroad in paper/plastic money (cards). But, the rule is different for educational trips.

As per FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) regulation, a student going abroad for education may be sent a maximum of $1,00,000 or equivalent during the financial year.

Some Points to Remember…….

  • Check your forex card balance online, as checking balance in ATMs is chargeable.
  • Even though you can check your forex card balance online, but you can’t transfer funds from your forex card to your bank account.
  • Most forex cards levy a fee per ATM withdrawal abroad, there is also a limit to your daily withdrawal.
  • Make sure you authorize your parent/ sponsor to load money into your forex card before you leave.

Popular Forex Cards options when Moving from India to the U.S.

Some of the popular banks offering forex cards in India are HDFC, ICICI, AXIS, IDBI, STANDARD CHARTERED, CITIBANK, ING VYASA, DHANLAXMI BANK, and STATE BANK OF INDIA.

Fees and Charges of different banks on Forex Cards for U.S. Dollars

Bank NameInitial Card FeeReload FeeReplacement FeeATM Cash Withdrawal FeeDaily Withdrawal LimitBalance Inquiry Fee
HDFCINR 125INR 75NA$2NA$0.50
ICICIINR 150INR 100$20 if lost in foreign country and $3 if lost in India$1.50$2000$0.50
AXISINR 150INR 100$3$2$10,000 Please Confirm with Bank$0.50
IDBI$3$2$2$1.50$20,000 Please Confirm with Bank$0.55
STANDARD CHARTEREDINR 250INR 100INR 400 if collected from India and $4 if collected from AbroadNAUnlimitedNA
INGVYSYAINR 125INR 75$3$2Unlimited$0.50
CITIBANKPlease Confirm with BankPlease Confirm with Bank$2$1.75UnlimitedNA
DHANLAXMI BANKINR 150INR 100INR 150 for the Card. INR 1500 additional for courier outside India and INR 250 in India$1.50Unlimited$0.50
STATE BANK OF INDIAINR 110INR 55$5$1.75$1000Please Confirm with Bank

(Source: http://usgraduatesblog.com/forex-cards-fees-and-charges-of-different-banks/ )

Note: To find updated fees and charges, you may visit the bank’s official site.

Additional Points to be considered while choosing a Forex Card

  • Most banks do not provide a forex card without an account in their bank.
  • Most banks charge additional taxes on issuance and reload fees, in addition to the above-mentioned fees.
  • Some banks may charge a currency conversion fee, in case you make transactions in a currency different from that you had initially asked for.
  • Some Banks charge for the new ATM Pin to be issued if you have forgotten your ATM Pin.
  • Other than banks, companies like Thomas Cook, Matrix, and other travel agencies, also provide prepaid forex cards.

Benefits of Forex Cards

  • A single card for multiple destinations.
  • Stay protected from currency fluctuations.
  • Wide acceptability, with withdrawal options in multiple currencies.
  • Easy to use and carry.
  • Protects against theft.
  • 24×7 access to your funds.
  • Some banks also offer exclusive dining privileges and added benefits.
  • Most banks also offer insurance coverage incase of an accident or mishap.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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