When planning for a personal or business trip abroad, the first thing everyone wants is a peace of mind. However there is a common dilemma that often comes to the mind on how to carry money while travelling to a foreign country?
There are multiple options for carrying money when going on an foreign trip such as – cash, travelers cheque, credit card, international debit card, travel card and few others, with each having its own pros and cons. And in this article we’ll discuss about travel cards.
Travel cards are basically prepaid foreign currency card in which the person can load multiple currencies and carry just a single card. So instead of carrying multiple cards for each currency, the traveler can load multiple currencies in a single card. For e.g. someone wanting to visit USA and Korea can load the card with USD and KRW.
Travel cards are highly recommended for frequent international travelers who wants to stay away from carrying cash or credit cards or travellers’ cheque. After all everyone wants to have seamless and worry free travel and at the same time save money wherever possible.
So which are best travel cards available in India?
There are many financial entities offering travel cards for Indians going to a foreign country and here is the list:
|Travel Card - Name||Issuing Entity|
|Multicurrency Travel Card||ICICI Bank|
|Student Travel Card||ICICI Bank|
|Single Currency Travel Card||ICICI Bank|
|ForexPlus Card||HDFC Bank|
|ForexPlus Chip Card||HDFC Bank|
|ForexPlus Platinum Card||HDFC Bank|
|ISIC Student ForexPlus Card||HDFC Bank|
|Regalia ForexPlus Card||HDFC Bank|
|Multi-Currency Forex Card||Axis Bank|
|World Traveller Forex Card||Axis Bank|
|Diners Card||Axis Bank|
|Single Currency Card||Axis Bank|
|India Travel Card||Axis Bank|
|Citi PremierMiles Card||Citibank|
|Multi-Currency Foreign Travel Card||State Bank of India|
|One Currency Card||Thomas Cook|
|Indus Multicurrency Forex Card||IndusInd Bank|
|Multi Currency World Travel Card||Kotak Mahindra Bank|
How to choose the best travel card?
Ease of transaction: The whole purpose of this card is to ease off pain transacting in multiple/single currency depending on the country visiting. So choose a card offering seamless transaction.
Easy reloading: Make sure you are able to reload the card conveniently, 24*7, via your smartphone or through someone located in your native country. Smartphone, because this is the only device most of the people always have it handy when travelling. This is very important because if the balance is low, you may not be able to use the card further. So card should come with real-time reloading and completely free.
Cross currency charges: When you use credit card abroad there are multiple charges associated of which cross currency conversion charge is always applied. And the rate depends on the day and time of transaction. But in case of travel card, while loading or buying the card before the trip, you fix the forex rate and till the end of the trip same rate would be applied. So there is no worry of fluctuating currency.
Load multiple currencies: This is very important feature to be taken into consideration when choosing a travel card, especially by travellers visiting multiple countries. Opt for a one, which lets you load multiple currencies so that you can pay in local currency anywhere you go. Most of the cards listed above let you load these currencies – USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, SGD, AED, CHF, JPY, SEK, ZAR, SAR, THB, NZD, HKD.
Funds transfer: If you have insufficient funds in a transaction currency, the balance of the transaction will automatically be deducted from other available currency loaded in the card.
Maximum air miles: Especially for a frequent traveler, the most important thing that matters is the air miles. Higher the air miles offered, higher would be the savings as you plan your next trip and so on.
Validity period of the air miles: Choose a card with no validity on the redeeming the accumulated air miles. If you are not a frequent traveller and validity is applied on your card then it makes no sense to use a card with an expiry date. Normally there is an expiry date associated with a travel card. And within that period if the miles are not redeemed they expire. So everything is lost and so are your savings. Best solution is to choose a card with no expiry date.
Joining bonus: It is similar to a performance received by individuals in a job. This bonus is always welcomed by everyone. Same applies to travel cards as well, although you don’t get actual money but you get signup bonus in the form of free miles, discounts on dining or booking hotels, cab booking etc. and obviously it will be loved by the card user.
Insurance: Nothing better than a card offering insurance cover for your trip duration covering loss of passport or baggage, flight delays, and many other benefits. Although you can buy travel insurance exclusively, but why not save money if the coverage offered in a travel card is same as that of traditionally purchased travel insurance.
Free replacement: Loss or theft are very common but when it happens outside of your home country then it is highly worrisome. In such cases, opt for a travel card offering a free replacement for your card in an easy way.
Balance Refund: After your trip is over, if there is any balance left in your account then you should be able to encash it.