A few months ago, my boss called me to his cabin and gave me the good news – I was being sent to the client’s site for two years. The client was a major American airline and wanted me in their office to keep the booking software in check. I had been working for over two years at TCS and now was my time to shine.
Before I would settle at the client’s office, I had to go for a week-long trip to get myself accustomed to everything. Then, I would come back and make my application for the shift. When I started thinking about the shorter trip, I thought about getting a forex card.
To be honest – I was not that financially well-versed. I thought it would take me a tremendous amount of time and paperwork to get a prepaid forex card. Quite contrary to that, when I visited my bank, they told me it was quite easy once I understood the process.
Forex cards are sold by most banks in India. It is highly recommended that you buy the forex card from a reputed financial institution that offers good terms on the card and has a global network. Once you have made an application for the forex card, you can choose a currency and the amount you want to have in that currency in your card. Then, you can give the amount in INR to the bank in India and they will convert it into your desired foreign currency. Your forex card will now have the amount in your desired currency.
The best thing about forex cards is that you don’t have to worry about the exchange rates. The exchange rate applicable here would be the rate prevailing on the date you make the payment to the bank. Most banks will not allow you to recharge your forex card from a foreign location. Hence, it is recommended that you submit paperwork in prior if you believe you might feel the need to recharge your forex card once you are in a foreign location. Here is the step-by-step process.
First of all, you should decide on the bank from which you would like to buy the forex card. Mind well, you don’t have to have an account at the bank to get a forex card from them. That said, if you have had a transactional history with the bank, it will only help you with the process of getting the forex card since you would already have a Relationship Manager at the bank.
After you have chosen a bank, all you have to do is make an application. Several banks allow you to make an application from their website. That said, I would personally recommend you to go in person since that will allow you to get your queries solved right there.
Most of the banks will ask for a copy of your passport-sized photo, your passport, PAN card and travel tickets. These will help them verify that you are going outside India for a legitimate purpose.
You are supposed to choose this amount right when you are making your application. Since you would not be able to change it for a while, you should put some thought into it. I made my calculation based on simple assumptions for food, accommodation, shopping, travel, sundry expenses and a backup fund. Then, I added 20% to this amount. This was the final amount I decided to fill my forex card with.
You can visit a travel agent or a visa consultant to understand how much amount you will need for the trip. Most of them will not even charge you to give you this information.
My trip was as smooth as I could’ve imagined. I will be shifting to the USA in a few months and while I am here, I recommend everyone around me to get a forex card because the process is really simple and the benefits are immense! Happy journey!