Best Forex Cards in India: All you need to know

Aman Saxena

Foreign exchange cards can help make your travel easy and convenient. No more exchange counters or carrying wads of cash around when traveling, working or studying abroad.

But the option for Forex Cards also means you need to be wise about which card you choose. Here is a breakdown of the best Forex Cards you can get in India.

And if you're looking for a smart, cheap way to transfer money abroad, try Wise. You can send money to local bank accounts in over 150 countries, and receive money directly into any Indian bank account, all at the real exchange rate.

Open your free Wise account now

HDFC Multi-Currency Forex Plus Card

Holds more currencies than the other bank forex cards on the list, but there are quite a few fees with it too

• 22 currencies in a single account

• There is an application fee and a reloading fee

• Cash withdrawals from ATMs come with daily limits

The HDFC Multi-Currency Forex Plus Card can be a good choice from this popular bank. It holds 22 different currencies, but is missing a number of currencies from Africa or South America.

You’ll also have to pay to apply for the card, reload your wallet, and when you take cash withdrawals. Also, keep in mind that you have to keep the currency that your spending loaded on your card or it will be declined. Unlike other cards, it doesn’t pull money from other currencies you’re holding.

Last but not least, the exchange rate is set by the company and is marked up above the real exchange rate you see on Google or Reuters.¹

Axis Multi-Currency Forex Card

Can be an option if you travel to Europe or the US often, otherwise, the currencies, limits, and fees, can feel constraining

• ₹ 300 sign-up fee

• Access to 16 different currencies

• A max daily spend limit of $10,000 USD

The Axis Multi-Currency Forex Card is a pre-loaded Visa/ Mastercard from Axis Bank.

With a Europe and North America focus, the Axis Multi-Currency Forex Card won’t be the best choice if you want access to currencies across Asia or other parts of the globe.

There is a cash withdrawal fee at ATMs and it varies depending on where you are. Plus you can expect an inactivity fee of $5 USD, and a reloading fee too. There is also a cross-currency fee of 3.5% if you have to use money from another currency in your wallet.

And finally, Visa/Mastercard sets the exchange rate so you can expect to pay a hidden fee on every conversion.²

Wise Multi-Currency Card

The only company in the bunch that offers the real exchange rate on every transfer, is offered in select countries, while only bank account transfers are available to Indian residents.

• Free to open

• 45+ Currencies on the Multi-Currency Card

• Free cash withdrawals at ATMs up to $350 per month

Over 8 million people use Wise for global money transfers to local bank accounts. So whether you are sending money to India or from, you can get the real exchange rate and one low fee online or through the award-winning app.

And if you are in the US, UK, Australia, Singapore or any of the qualifying countries, you can get the Wise Multi-Currency Mastercard where you can hold more than 45 different currencies at once. With some of the least fees around, you will only have to pay for your conversion fee and for any cash withdrawals above the monthly free amount. That’s it.

State Bank of India Multi-Currency Card

From a stalwart of India’s banking system, but you can find this card limiting, chock full of fees, and easier to use only if you are an existing SBI client.

• Can hold only 7 currencies

• Minimum reload of $200 USD

• USD 1.75 Cash withdrawal fee

The legacy bank State Bank of India, or SBI, has a multi-currency card that offers the fewest currencies around. With just 7 currencies, you can only use this card if you head to the major Western markets.

The exchange rate is set by the company, and you can also expect fees for a shortfall, for inactivity, and ATMs withdrawals. Plus, if you are at the ATM, you can only take out $10,000 USD in cash within a day.

The least tech-oriented card of all the ones listed, you can choose this card if you don’t mind stopping by your local SBI branch.³

ICICI Multi-Currency Travel Card

Convenient app to help shop, convert, and spend when you are abroad, but as always, watch out for the fees

• 15 currencies

• A reload fee of ₹100

• Easy to open for existing ICICI customers

The ICICI Multi-Currency Travel Card can work smoothly if you download their app and are an existing ICICI banking customer. The card lets you switch currencies within your account, and you have the Self-Care Portal to make transactions easier.

But there are ATM fees and a daily ATM limit of $2,000 USD when pulling out cash. There’s an issuing fee and a reloading fee, and that is on top of a $5 USD inactivity fee.

This card can be a good option if you travel frequently to the countries with the currencies they have available.⁴

Niyo DCB Global Card

The modern multi-currency card gives you access to the entire Visa network and currencies -including India, but the fees can add up.

• A joining fee of ₹200

• Free first cash withdrawal, then ₹100 recurring fee

• Works with the Niyo app

The Niyo DCB Global Card is a merger between the fin-tech company Niyo and the Indian bank DCB.

It is a modern multi-currency card with access to Visa’s full network, including 150 global currencies. And it comes with a DCB bank account too. But this card is only for Indian residents in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities.

With Visa setting the exchange rates, keep a watchful eye on how much this account can cost you, especially the FX Adjustment fee when transactions settle.⁵

What to consider when choosing a forex card

With so many forex card options, how do you go about deciding which one to get? Here are the key parameters to look at when you are assessing ways to spend and send globally.

Exchange rate

How does the provider’s exchange rate compare versus the real exchange rate? You can find the real exchange rate on Google or Reuters which you can use to compare. If you see a difference, you can guess that the provider is sneaking in a hidden fee in the exchange rate.


In most cases, you will always find a transfer or conversion fee with most providers. But read the fine print and check which other fees there might be for a forex card. Annual fees, ATM withdrawal fees, non-supported currency fees, the list can go on and on.

Mobile support

Having an app that lets you send, spend, and check transactions makes foreign exchange and travel a breeze. If you prefer to operate from a mobile, then not having a dedicated app can be a dead-end for you with some of the providers.

ATM Withdrawals

Being able to withdraw cash from an ATM globally can be a lifesaver. Check to see if the forex card will let you get cash from easily accessible ATMs abroad, but also that they don’t charge you an arm and a leg for it. Or better yet, they have free cash withdrawals.

Currencies supported

As far as currencies go, the more the merrier when it comes to forex cards. It is easier to have a single account that lets you hold multiple currencies. Rather than multiple accounts across different cards for global currencies. Keep it simple by finding a forex card that has access to more currencies, without additional fees.

Sources used for this article:

  1. HDFC Multicurrency Forex Plus Card
  2. Axis Multi-Currency Forex Card
  3. State Bank of India Multi-Currency Card
  4. ICICI Multi-Currency Travel Card
  5. Niyo DCB Global Card

All sources checked as of 10 September, 2020

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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