Multi-currency prepaid cards and apps offer an affordable and practical solution to spending in India
Every year over 800,000 British tourists travel to India and use the local currency: Indian rupees.
At the end of 2016 the Indian Government decided to withdraw the old 500 and 1000 Indian Rupee banknotes from circulation to reduce black money and corruption from the banking system.
The Indian government replaced the old Indian Rupee bank notes with a new 500 Indian Rupee Bank Note and an additional new 2000 Indian Rupee Bank Note. The Indian government is looking to boost income tax receipts and to persuade India to open more bank accounts and become more of a cashless society in the future.
For more information on the old Indian Rupee bank notes you can visit the Reserve Bank of India or if you are visiting India as a British Tourist in the near future you can keep up with changes via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office India Travel Advice page as well.
At the moment, as mentioned above, it is not possible to buy or sell Indian Currency cash in the UK and the deadline for anyone around the world who would like to sell back large amounts of their old Indian Rupee Currency would have had to fly back to India before the 30th December 2016 to exchange the old 500 and 1000 Indian Rupee bank notes at banks in India.
If you are a British tourist looking to travel to India there are however alternative options to just using your Debit or Credit Card whilst in India. We have been researching the options and there are some Prepaid Multi Currency Cards which can help you get better Conversion Fees which could work out cheaper than using your Debit or Credit Card depending on who you bank with.
Currently, on our website we have several PrePaid Multi Currency Cards which can be used in India and the Conversion Fees on these Multi Currency Cards may well work out cheaper than your bank depending on what Conversion Fees your bank charges for overseas Card Payments and Cash Machine Withdrawals.
On the Caxton FX website they have a great Conversion Calculator which allows you to input how much you would like to exchange into Indian Rupees from British Pounds and it will give an estimated figure in Indian Rupees of what you will get in return and how this compares to high street banks and airport exchange bureau's which are usually the worst places to buy your Travel Money.
The Caxton PrePaid Multi Currency Card can be used in India for Cash Machine Withdrawals and Card Payments; however, currently you are unable to load the Indian Rupees Currency onto the card, so instead the best option is to load British Pounds onto the Caxton PrePaid Multi Currency Card.
Then, when required you can withdraw Indian Rupees Currency from Cash Machines in India, however, you will be charged an FX Fee of 2.75% on every Cash Machine Withdrawal and Card Payment to convert the currency from British Pounds into Indian Rupees.
But, the real benefit of this PrePaid Multi Currency Card is that there are, no additional Cash Machine Withdrawal or Card Payment Transaction Conversion Fees to worry about which your bank may impose on each of your transactions.
The Fair FX Everywhere Prepaid Multi Currency Card just like the Caxton FX PrePaid Multi Currency Card offers the opportunity to use the card anywhere around the world in over 210 countries including India. Depending on where you are going you can even check out the MasterCard ATM Locations if you are looking to withdraw cash overseas.
The Fair FX Everywhere Prepaid Multi Currency Card is very similar to the Caxton FX PrePaid Multi Currency Card in that you would have to load British Pounds onto the Travel Money Card and then when you decide to withdraw cash or use it for a card payment in India it would then convert the transaction into Indian Rupees for you.
The Fair FX Everywhere PrePaid Multi Currency Card, however, offers a lower FX Fee of 1.4% in comparison to the Caxton FX PrePaid Multi Currency Card, but instead of Cash Machine Withdrawals being FREE on this card you would have to budget in an extra £1.00 for every Cash Machine Withdrawal transaction in India. Although, overseas Card Payments are FREE on this card.
Fortunately, a few years ago we produced some blog posts highlighting the Best Debit Card To Use Abroad and the Best Credit Card To Use Abroad to show the different charges that some banks charge customers for overseas Card Payments and ATM Withdrawals. Depending, on whom you bank with your bank might be more expensive than Fair FX so we would advise to check your providers' website to compare the charges against both the Fair FX and Caxton FX PrePaid Multi Currency Cards.
Personally, when I go on holiday I like to use cash for everything as it is much easier to use especially in countries where card payments are not so common or if you visit rural locations where again it is not necessarily easy to use card payments for transactions.
In addition, using cash for transactions is also much easier when using public transport or for small transactions in shops, bars or even tipping tour guides at the end of your excursion. I tend to keep some cash in my wallet for the day and put the rest in the hotel safety deposit box.
After you have checked your providers' website to compare the FX Fees, Overseas Cash Machine Withdrawal Fees and Overseas Card Payment Fees I would advise to go with either the Fair FX Everywhere PrePaid Multi Currency Cards for converting your British Pounds into Indian Rupees when travelling to India.
If you run out of Travel Money you can always top up more online if required or from using their Mobile Apps. The difference in the total cost between each of the Prepaid Multi Currency Cards is minimal.
For example, if you were to only use Cash Machine Withdrawals and to withdraw the maximum allowed each time, which is £300 per day for Caxton FX and £500 per day for the FairFX Everywhere PrePaid Multi Currency Card and you were to withdraw a total of £1000.00 for your holiday in India then the total cost difference on Conversion Fees is £1.50 more for the Caxton FX PrePaid Multi Currency Card.
Caxton FX = £1000.00 x2.75% FX Fee = Total Conversion Fee Cost = £27.50
FX Fair Everywhere = £1000.00 x1.4% FX Fee + ATM Withdrawal Fee £1.00 x2 (£500 per day) + Card Cost £9.95 = Total Conversion Fee Cost = £25.95
This example of course depends on many factors, such how much are you going to spend in India, are you going to use one card for the whole family and do you intend to spend all the money on the card as you may need to consider the Redemption Fee for processing any left-over funds back into your bank account especially if you do not intend to use the card again for another holiday.
Finally, always pay in the local currency even if you are offered the option to pay in Pounds, as paying in the local Indian Rupees Currency will get you the best deal.
We hope this helps and if we find any more Indian Rupee PrePaid Multi Currency Card solutions we will update information here and if you have any feedback based on your experience of travelling to India please leave us comments below.