Overview of DBS India Remit service that provides remittances to India for DBS account holders in Singapore with a How-to Guide and expected costs.
The Kotak Forex Card, from Kotak bank, is a prepaid card to help make travelling easier for residents of India. With the ability to preload 13 different global currencies on one card, you can swipe and spend on your next trip overseas easier than with cash. But the ease of the card is offset with the fees that come with it too. Read on to learn more about how the card works and the costs associated with the Kotak Forex Card.
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The Kotak Forex Card is a prepaid currency wallet in a single account at Kotak bank, that comes with a linked Visa card. As a cardholder, you can purchase beforehand one or more of the 13 currencies available at that day’s exchange rate and then spend the currency locally when you are overseas. As a Visa card, you will have access to all of Visa’s merchant and ATM networks.
Anyone who is interested in getting the card will have to physically apply at a local Kotak bank branch in India. Even if you don’t currently have a banking relationship with Kotak, you can still apply for the Kotak Forex Card. In most cases, if you are travelling for leisure, business, or studies you will need to present your passport, complete the KYC and the completed application form. Non-residents or those unable to complete the KYC are not eligible to apply for the card.
The card comes with additional benefits such as insurance while you are traveling. As a cardholder you get liability insurance of up to ₹2,00,000 in case you lose your Kotak Forex Card card, and purchase protection insurance of up to ₹1,00,000. You also get air accident insurance as well as coverage for a lost passport or luggage. Plus, you get access to Visa’s Global Customer Assistance Service which is a global 24/7 emergency helpline.¹
The Kotak Forex Card can be used worldwide wherever Visa is accepted. It can also be used for online shopping at overseas online stores. Holiday travellers, business travellers, students or anyone that travels frequently could find the card useful versus using cash, and especially those who are travelling to multiple countries.
The card holds 13 different currencies and each currency has its own wallet. You can load money into all 13 currencies or whichever you need at that time. You will get the exchange rate from Indian Rupees from the bank and Visa at the time of the currency purchase. Then when you are overseas and want to shop, pay for meals or hotels, you can just insert the CHIP on the card or swipe to make payment from the same currencies you are holding.
There are some caveats to using the card. You need to spend any currency amount you loaded into your account within 60 days from purchase. You can also use the Kotak Forex Card on currencies you aren’t holding, but that will mean an additional cross currency transaction fee of 3.5% on your purchase.
The card has an expiration date of 5 years from the date it is issued by Kotak.²
The Kotak Forex Card comes with fees and limits for opening an account and usage. Let’s break down the fees and limits you can expect. All the fees listed below in USD hold the currency equivalent for the other 12 currencies available³.
|Issuing the card||₹250|
|Reloading the card||₹75|
|Convenience fee for online reloading||₹75|
|Cross currency transaction markup||3.5%|
|Minimum Loading amount||$1 USD|
|Maximum Loading amount online||$5,000 USD|
|Minimum Point of Sale daily amount||$1 USD|
|Maximum Point of Sale daily amount||$10,000 USD|
Keep in mind that as an Indian resident you will have to ensure that you are within FEMA limits for foreign currency holdings. Also, to meet FEMA rules, make sure you have less than a $2,000 USD balance on the card when you return to India.
The other fee you will come across is hidden in the exchange rate for the Kotak Forex Card. The exchange rate you get is set by the card company and bank, and is weaker than the real exchange rate. The real exchange rate, also called the mid-market exchange rate, is the same one that banks use themselves and that you see on Google. When the Kotak Forex Card sets their exchange rates weaker than the real exchange rate, they are able to pocket the difference as a hidden fee to you.
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Cash is always handy when you travel, so the Kotak Forex Card can be used at ATMs worldwide for cash withdrawals. But note that the card will only work at ATMs that accept Visa/Plus.
As far as fees and limits are concerned, there are a few you can expect that are outlined below for ATM withdrawals. They are stated in US dollars, but have approximately the same equivalency in the other currencies:
|Cash Withdrawal Fee||$2 USD|
|Minimum to Withdraw at the ATM||$10 USD|
|Maximum to Withdraw at the ATM||$5,000 USD|
The cash withdrawal fee will be applied for every transaction at the ATM while you are traveling. When you are at the ATM and want to take out cash with your Kotak Forex Card, be sure to hit the account option of “Credit” on the screen. In case that is not available, try the “Checking” option to withdraw cash. ⁴
The Kotak Forex Card can hold 13 different global currencies in the account. In addition to US Dollar, the currencies available are:
|Singapore Dollars||Saudi Riyal||UAE Dirham||South African Rand|
|Japanese Yen||Canadian Dollars||Hong Kong Dollar||Swiss Franc|
|Australian Dollars||Great Britain Pound||Euro||Swedish Krona|
The Kotak Forex Card covers most major currencies, but it leaves out a significant part of the world. Especially popular holiday destinations like Thailand or Egypt, or even currencies from major countries in Africa or South America. And on top of that, you can’t use your card in India itself, or Nepal or Bhutan.
If you want a card that goes everywhere you go, try Wise. With Wise’s multi-currency account you can hold and spend over 45 different currencies from around the world.⁵
Sources used for this article:
All sources checked as of 23 July, 2020
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