Best Forex Cards for Students Studying Abroad 2024 (Complete Guide)

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Anand Patinge

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Most students moving abroad for studies need help managing their finances. A vital part of this is getting a forex card that lets you spend in international currency, while keeping the costs of conversion (and other service costs) to a minimum. 

 

But how do you choose the best out of all the forex cards for international students, with features that suit your needs? That’s where this guide helps. 

What is a forex card?

 

Forex cards (also known as travel or prepaid cards) are crucial for handling remittances, exchanging money, and making transactions abroad without hassle. Forex cards are different from regular debit/credit cards that are enabled for international transactions because they offer additional features, such as:

 

  • The ability to load and spend in various currencies.
  • Access to favorable foreign exchange rates.
  • Minimal fees for currency conversion.
  • Availability of round-the-clock customer service.
  • Facility for cash withdrawals at international ATMs.

 

Apart from the above features, forex cards offer all the standard features of contemporary debit/credit cards, such as:

 

  • The option to add funds to cards using Internet banking
  • Security features such as chip technology and PIN protection
  • Compatibility with all kinds of Point of Sale systems worldwide
  • Offers and benefits
  • Features to monitor balances and track spending

 

The special features aimed at making international transactions easy make forex cards the best option for managing finances for students studying abroad.

 

A forex card for a student eliminates the need of relying on an international credit card that imposes high-transactional charges and also carrying huge amounts of cash abroad to pay for your basic necessities. 

 

Whether you need to withdraw cash from an ATM, pay for meals at a restaurant, buy books in libraries, or even pay semester fees, a forex card simplifies these transactions at minimum to zero-withdrawal rates. 

 

Get the lowest forex charges with FundRight

If you’re looking for the lowest forex charges in India along with an education loan, FundRight is a great solution. On FundRight, you get the lowest interest rates on study abroad loans, along with value-add services like forex, with conversion charges that are lower than banks.

 

Types of forex cards

 

Forex cards are generally classified into two types:

  1. Single-currency forex card
  2. Multiple currency forex cards

 

A single-currency forex card allows you to load only one type of currency, whereas a multiple-currency card allows you to load multiple currencies. 

 

There are other minor differences between the two types, which are tabulated below: 

 

Feature Single-Currency Forex Card Multiple-Currency Forex Card
Ideal Usage Travel to a single country Travel to multiple countries
Exchange Rate Fixed for the loaded currency Different rates for each currency
Reloading Only with the same currency Can be reloaded with various currencies
Fees Lower fees for the selected ‘single-currency’ but high conversion fees in other currencies Slightly higher fees but cost-effective for multiple currencies
Convenience Limited to one currency use Convenient for multi-country travel

 

Now that you know the differences between single-currency and multiple-currency forex cards, you can choose the right type based on your intended usage. 

 

Next, let’s see how forex cards became a great option for Indian students traveling abroad for higher studies.

 

Why are Forex cards ideal for Indian students traveling abroad?

 

When you’re all set to study abroad, you have three options of managing how you make payments in a foreign country: 

 

  1. A debit/credit card with international transactions enabled
  2. Cash in the foreign currency (converted from INR in India or overseas)
  3. A forex card

 

Let’s understand why forex cards are the most convenient and financially smart option for students. 

 

Forex cards versus debit/credit cards

First off, using a debit or credit card overseas can be a bit of a gamble. That’s because these cards charge you based on the exchange rates of the day. This brings unpredictability to your budget management, because exchange rates (over a period of a month) can soar by 1-3%. You could end up spending more than you planned–a situation you would want to avoid during your first few months in a foreign country. 

 

Forex cards versus cash

 

The next option is carrying cash. It might seem straightforward, but it comes with its own set of problems. There are customs restrictions to consider, which restrict the amount of cash (in foreign currency) you can carry out of India. Also, the amount of paperwork you need to fill out to legally carry foreign currency out of India is challenging. Plus, carrying a lot of cash isn’t the safest option.

 

Why forex cards are so much better

 

With a forex card, you avoid the unpredictability, expenses, limitations, and risks of using debit/credit cards and cash. Some of the key advantages are:

 

  • No more guessing games with exchange rates. Your expenses become way easier to track and plan for.
  • No need to carry wads of cash or stress about daily exchange rates. Just swipe your forex card and go.
  • If you lose your forex card, you can block or replace it. 
  • Most forex cards come with security features like chip-and-pin or OTP verification.
  • Forex cards offer lower transaction fees and even discounts at certain merchants.

 

So, how do you choose the right forex card? 

Best forex cards for Indian students (for different countries)

Single currency forex cards are available in three major currencies: USD, GBP, and Euro. These are aimed, respectively, at Indian students traveling to the USA, UK, and European countries.

 

However, students can also use multi-currency forex cards that support almost all the major currencies of the world.

 

The list of currencies supported by most multi-currency forex cards are:

 

Country Currency Name Symbol
United States US Dollar USD
Eurozone Euro EUR
United Kingdom British Pound GBP
Japan Japanese Yen JPY
Canada Canadian Dollar CAD
Australia Australian Dollar AUD
Switzerland Swiss Franc CHF
China Chinese Yuan CNY
India Indian Rupee INR
Singapore Singapore Dollar SGD
Hong Kong Hong Kong Dollar HKD
New Zealand New Zealand Dollar NZD
South Africa South African Rand ZAR
Brazil Brazilian Real BRL
Russia Russian Ruble RUB
South Korea South Korean Won KRW
Mexico Mexican Peso MXN
Sweden Swedish Krona SEK
Norway Norwegian Krone NOK
Denmark Danish Krone DKK
Malaysia Malaysian Ringgit MYR
Thailand Thai Baht THB
United Arab Emirates UAE Dirham AED
Saudi Arabia Saudi Riyal SAR
Turkey Turkish Lira TRY

 

Here is a list of India’s best multi-currency forex cards for 2024 

 

  • Niyo Global Forex Card

 

Niyo Global Forex Card offers a digital-first banking service. Its forex cards stand out because of zero forex markup.

 

Key Features:

 

  • No additional charges on foreign currency transactions
  • Can be used in over 150 countries with support for 130+ currencies
  • Links to a digital savings account with up to 7.5% interest P.A
  • Free access at international airport lounges in India
  • Offers 100% digital onboarding with real-time transaction tracking and an in-app currency converter

 

  • IndusInd Bank Multi-Currency Card

 

IndusInd’s Forex card allows you to load up to 14 currencies on a single card.

 

Key Features:

 

  • Supports all major currencies of the world, including USD, EUR, GBP, and AUD
  • Locks in the exchange rate at the time of loading to protect against fluctuations
  • Accepted globally at all Visa-enabled merchants and ATMs
  • No fees for transactions at POS terminals and online
  • Offers instant alerts on transactions and allows easy blocking of the card if lost

 

  • HDFC Multicurrency Platinum ForexPlus Chip Card

 

The HDFC Multicurrency Platinum ForexPlus Chip Card offers the convenience of carrying up to 22 currencies on one card.

 

Key features: 

  • Offers insurance protection against card misuse, skimming, and counterfeiting. 
  • Includes an accident cover of up to ₹25 lakhs.
  • Accepted globally with 24/7 customer support.
  • Offers emergency cash services internationally.
  • Allows online management of funds through Prepaid NetBanking, with features for reloading funds and managing PINs easily.

 

  • ICICI Bank Student Forex Card

 

The ICICI Bank Student Forex Card is specifically designed for students going abroad for studies, with special discounts. .

 

  • Includes special offers tailored for students, such as discounts on academic resources.
  • Parents can easily reload the card from India.
  • Bundles joining benefits of up to ₹5,000.
  • Comes with insurance for lost baggage and passport, enhancing travel safety.
  • Backed by 24/7 customer support for any needed assistance while abroad.

 

  • Axis Bank Club Vistara Forex Card

 

Axis Bank offers a versatile forex card that is ideal for students, and offers exciting cashback on spending. 

 

Key features:

 

  • Supports transactions in up to 16 different international currencies
  • Includes enrollment to Club Vistara Base tier membership
  • Offers a welcome bonus of 500 CV points upon card loading
  • Rewards you with 3 CV points for every 5 dollars spent
  • Insurance coverage against misuse and other contingencies related to travel.

 

  • Wise Borderless Card

 

The Wise Borderless card is designed for globally-minded individuals and is known for its unmatched low-cost transfers and payments across borders.

 

Key features:

  • Supports transactions in over 50 different currencies.
  • Provides free withdrawal charges for amounts up to 200 GBP.
  • Guarantees money transfers within a 24-hour cycle.
  • Offers both a physical and a digital version of the card.

 

  • IndusInd Multi Currency Forex Card

 

IndusInd Bank provides a versatile multi-currency forex card that supports 14 currencies. 

 

  • Includes free airport rides to the airport worth ₹1000.
  • Offers a ₹300 discount on the card’s issuance charge.
  • Provides emergency assistance and comprehensive insurance coverage.
  • Offers benefits of up to ₹3,000 on signup. 
  • Provides a hotline number that students can call from international locations to speak with customer support. 

 

 

It’s clear that students have many forex cards to choose from, and each card provider offers different perks and features, but choosing the right forex card can be a hassle, especially if you’re a first-timer. 

 

That’s where you can benefit from Gradright’s forex advantage.

 

Why GradRight’s forex advantage?

You might have noticed that every forex provider offers tempting sign-up bonuses, like discounts, cashback, or even interest on your unused deposits. But here’s the catch: these offers are constantly changing. 

 

As an international student juggling so many things–your bank loan, admission, visa, and more–you might not have the time to compare all the options. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and just go with one of the first forex cards you come across.

 

That’s where GradRight steps in. 

 

Our financial experts are like your personal forex detectives. They constantly track every little change in the Indian forex card market. 

 

This means you always have access to the best possible card, tailored to your needs. We’ve helped over thousands of students maximize their savings and secure a forex card that perfectly supports their initial weeks abroad.

 

With the advice of a GradRight expert, you can rest assured that you’re getting the most out of your forex card.

 

So if you’re looking for the best forex cards and perks, contact GradRight today.

 

How to use a forex card?

Forex cards are very simple and straightforward to use. Their function is similar to debit and credit cards, but they offer extra convenience and flexibility for students studying abroad. 

 

Let’s see how to use a forex card

1. Obtain a forex card

Apply for a Forex card that supports multiple currencies besides USD, EUR, and GBP. Check whether the card is restricted to a single currency or supports multiple currencies, whether it has an online reload facility, and whether it has a low mark-up fee. 

2. Activate and load money in your card

Once you get the forex card, the bank will provide you with a PIN, which you can enter to activate your card. The PIN acts as an activation code for using the card. Once activated, you can transfer the desired amount from your local bank account to your forex card online or at the bank.

3. Understand your PIN and security features

You must always keep the PIN secured as it may be required to make transactions. You may also need one-time passwords to initiate transactions. 

4. Monitor your balance

Monitoring your balance is important, especially if you’ve loaded multiple currencies. You can do this online, using the card-issuer’s app, or by calling customer service.

 

By following these steps, you can efficiently use your forex card and manage your finances abroad. 

FAQs 

Can I withdraw money from my Forex card?
Yes, you can withdraw local currency from any Visa, Visa Plus, or Mastercard ATMs overseas. 

 

How do you choose the bank that best offers students a Forex card?
Check the forex card providers that offer low exchange fees, maximum currency options, top-notch customer support, and choose the one that fits your requirements. The best options for students are the HDFC Forex Cards range and ICICI and Axis Forex Cards range.

 

Is an Axis Bank Forex Card good for students?
Yes, the Axis Bank Forex card is widely recommended for students due to its broad acceptance and reliable customer care.

 

Can I load multiple currencies on a forex card?
Yes, you can load multiple currencies on Forex cards for students; however, this should be done on a multi-currency card, which is ideal for multi-country travel.

 

What should I do if I lose my forex card?
You must immediately contact the customer service of the Forex card issuer and request to block the card and request a replacement or emergency funds.

 

How do I check the balance on my forex card?
You can check your Forex card balance online through the bank’s net banking website or mobile app or by calling customer service.

 

Are there any charges for using a Forex card at POS terminals abroad?
Most Forex cards do not charge additional fees for POS transactions abroad.

Can a forex card be used for online purchases?
Yes, you can use a Forex card for online transactions using the currency loaded on the card. Make sure you know about security features such as OTP.

Picture of Anand Patinge

Anand Patinge

A master storyteller, Anand has enriched multiple entities with captivating designs, compelling messaging, and impactful media campaigns. Beyond work, you can find him feeding stray dogs, exploring art, and watching insiprational documentaries.

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