SBI Foreign Travel Card: All you need to know

Aman Saxena

State Bank of India or SBI for short, offers a foreign exchange card called the State Bank of India Multi Currency Card or Foreign Travel Card. Similar to other Indian banks, SBI lets cardholders hold multiple currencies in one account to then use and spend.

But if you want a card that has access to over 45 currencies around the world, without sign up or reloading fees, take a look at Wise

Open your free Wise account now

Table of contents

Frequent global travellers might be disappointed in the currency offerings with this card, plus the fees. And if you are not an existing customer at SBI, it may be a pain to reload the card as you need to. Read on to learn more about how the SBI Foreign Travel Card works and if it is a worthwhile option for your next trip.

What is the SBI Foreign Travel Card?

The State Bank of India Multi Currency Card also goes by the name of the SBI Foreign Travel Card. It is a Mastercard that is linked with the State Bank of India and lets you hold 7 foreign currencies at one time in a single account. So when you are shopping, at a restaurant, traveling or making purchases abroad you can spend from the card for the relevant currency. It works for cash withdrawals at ATMs globally too.

The card is available for all Indian residents, including non-SBI bank account holders, although they may find it more difficult to load the card when they need to.¹

What can I use the SBI Foreign Travel Card for?

The SBI Foreign Travel Card can be used when you are travelling for work, fun or for study. How it works is that you add Indian rupees to your account which you convert to any of the 7 currencies available with the card. The newly converted amount will be held in the account as the qualifying foreign currency. Then when you are overseas, you can just swipe, withdraw cash or enter the card and the money will be pulled from the relevant currency account. Of course it only works, as long as you are traveling in one of the countries that accepts the available currencies and Mastercard. You can also use the card for online purchases.

One unique feature of the card is that if you don’t hold enough of a particular currency for your purchase, the card will pull from the balance of another currency you are holding and your purchase will be completed. Or if you are somewhere where the local currency is unsupported, the card will still work and the local currency will just be converted at the prevailing SBI exchange rate. In both cases there is an additional fee of 3% in each case.

To reload the card, you will just have to go to your SBI Online Banking if you are an existing bank account holder with SBI, and reload from there. If you don’t have a SBI banking relationship, you will have to go to a SBI branch and fill out an A2 form every time to reload your card.

Just keep in mind that you are not able to use this card in India, Nepal or Bhutan or for Indian rupee purchases. Indian residents will also have to comply with ongoing FEMA regulations in terms of foreign exchange.²

Fees and limits for the SBI Foreign Travel Card

The SBI Multi Currency, or Foreign Travel Card, has sign up and usage fees, on top of a hidden fee in the exchange rate. Let’s break them down.

First, here are the charges for signing up for the SBI Foreign Travel Card, as well as for loading the card with currencies:

ServiceFee
Signing up₹100
Reloading your card₹50

Then there are additional fees to expect:

ServiceFee
Monthly fee for inactivity for more than 12 monthsUSD 1.50
Shortfall feeUSD 15
Cross Currency fee3%

There are also limits for card usage as well. The minimum amount you need to put on your card at every reload is $200 USD, or the currency equivalent. And the maximum you can spend within 24 hours at shops is $10,000 USD. There is also a fee and limit when you use the card at the ATM which is covered later in the next section.³

The last fee to expect is hidden in the exchange rate. State Bank of India sets their own exchange rate for your currency conversions, which is weaker than the mid-market rate. The mid-market rate is the rate the banks use between themselves for currency exchange, and the same one you see on Google. By setting it weaker, SBI is able to sneak in a hidden additional fee in the exchange rate to you. It may not seem like a big difference, but that fee can begin to add up with frequent loading and spending on the card.

When transferring money internationally, think Wise

Wise

While State Bank of India is trusted for day to day banking for many, Wise is the trusted partner for over 7 million customers for global money transfers. With the real exchange rate, one low transfer fee and the ability to send money to local bank accounts in over a 100 countries, it is no wonder millions use Wise today.

Wise is a completely digital global money transfer service that you can sign up for right from your phone. And it is completely free to open. So whether you are sending money to India or from India, Wise can help you get it there. It is fast, easy and cheap. You will never see a markup or hidden fee on any transaction, and you will always get the mid-market exchange rate.

And if you want the same low fee and real exchange rate but in a multi currency card, check to see if the Wise MultiCurrency Card is available where you are. With this one single card, you don’t have to pay any additional fees and you can hold 45+ currencies all over the world. And then with the debit Mastercard, you can just swipe to make payments in local currencies. And to top it off, you get up to $250 USD in free cash withdrawals every month. Access to more of the world with low fees? Wise makes it as easy as that.

Open your free Wise account now

Overseas ATM withdrawals with SBI Foreign Travel Card

The SBI Foreign Travel Card works at all ATMs around the world that have the Mastercard symbol. You can check your balance and take cash out in the local currency at a local ATM. But for every cash withdrawal there is a fee of $1.75 USD or its currency equivalent. Also the maximum you can take out at one time from the ATM per day is the currency equivalent of $10,000 USD. There is no fee for checking your balance at the ATM.⁴

What are the currencies in SBI Foreign Travel Card?

The SBI Foreign Travel Card has in total 7 different currencies that you can convert into from Indian Rupees. The currencies are:

US DollarsGreat British PoundsEurosSingapore Dollars
Australian DollarsCanadian DollarsUAE Dirhams

While most major Western countries are accessible with the SBI Foreign Travel Card, other banks in India typically offer more than double the number of currencies, while Wise offers 45+ currencies in one account. With a wider array of currency choices, you get access to more of the world with a single card, so choose a provider that gives you all the choices you need.⁵

Sources used for this article:
  1. SBI MultiCurrency Foreign Travel Card
  2. Using the SBI Foreign Travel Card
  3. Fees & Limits
  4. ATM Withdrawals
  5. Currencies available

All sources checked as of 17 July, 2020


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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