Moneycontrol
Oct 04, 2017 12:56 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Travelling smart: Why forex cards are a better travel companion than credit, debit cards

Before trying to answer the question, it is important to know what the terms mean.

Sudarshan Motwani

Everyone enjoys travelling. Seeing a new place in all of its uncertainties and exotic experiences is an exciting thought. However, there are some of us who enjoy the pre-trip planning process more. They become real-time encyclopedias for travel-related information, and one of the main questions they get pestered with is-which is better-forex cards or debit or credit cards.

Before trying to answer the question, it is important to know what the terms mean. Essentially, a forex card is a pre-loaded card with foreign currency which can be accessed as and when required. It is undoubtedly one of the easiest and most affordable ways of conducting forex transactions. It has been appreciated by many travelers and experts as the best way of conducting foreign transactions.

Enlisted below are certain differences between forex and credit or debit card transactions

1. Rate of exchange-Since the card is pre-loaded, buyers can fix the specific rate of exchange as per their convenience and then load the card with a higher amount of currency. The rates offered are also better for forex cards. The rate of exchange that one gets on debit or credit cards are pre-determined by banks and customers have little scope to negotiate.

2. ATM withdrawal fees-While credit or debit card charges a flat fee in the Rs. 250-300 bracket, with forex cards, a user receives three transactions completely free. Post these transactions, the user only needs to pay a maximum of $2 more to complete another one. Also, there are ATM charges which are levied only on credit or debit cards, to the tune of 3% of the transactions generally. Forex card, on the other hand, has zero ATM usage charges, offering greater flexibility to users.

3. Dynamic currency conversion-With credit and debit cards, the currency rate is not fixed and hence you can end up with the worst exchange rate, apart from swipe charges. With forex cards, none of this will happen as these cards are pre-loaded with currency and do not have any swipe charges.

4. Security-Forex cards can be blocked immediately in case of theft or loss of your prepaid travel card. The funds can also be transferred immediately to a new account, which is not so in the case of credit and debit cards.

5. Multiple currencies on a single source- Forex cards allow you to redeem the money loaded in multiple currencies, which makes them perfect for multi-city travel. This is an extremely beneficial feature because buying new currency in every place becomes tiring, apart from the fact that it is impossible to get the best exchange rate wherever you go.

6. Functionality- Forex cards provide a lot of flexibility and even though there are some places where it is difficult to find stores which accept them, overall they are accepted in countries across the world. With the benefit of no per-transaction charges and constant exchange rates, they can be considered to be far better a travel financial instrument rather than credit and debit cards.

(The writer is CEO & Co-founder of BookMyForex.com)
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