Money in India - Tourist Basics

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#1 Jan 25th, 2014, 15:36
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This post is an attempt to summarise matters as they stand in January 2014. The contents apply to tourist visitors to India. If you can see any way to improve this piece please post on the thread.

Common sense – Exercise care when handling large sums of cash. If somewhere looks dodgy avoid it. There will be somewhere else. Don't leave your card in a machine.

Indian Rupees. - Tourists cannot legally take rupees into or out of India. Common denomination notes are 10, 20 , 50 , 100 , 500 and 1,000. There are a few 5 rupee notes around. Coinage includes 1, 2 , 5 and 10 rupees. The official abbreviation for rupees is ₹ although Rs is often seen

Be prepared to carry more bank notes than you probably would at home.

From April 2014 notes that do not have a year of issue on the reverse will be withdrawn from circulation. See Pre 2005 banknotes to be withdrawn

Many people will refuse to accept damaged or marked notes. If you are given a torn or otherwise damaged note in your change, you can hand it back to the shopkeeper or cashier and they will change it for you. Otherwise torn or mutilated notes can be changed at any branch of State of India, Bank of India and a couple of other banks.

Debit Cards - Probably the most common way for tourists to access rupees is by using debit cards in ATMs. These are found in many places across the country, often in a small cabin or kiosk which may be air conditioned. It is normal to wait outside the door until the person at the ATM has concluded their business. When you insert your card you will be offered the option of transacting in English. The normal daily transaction limit is ₹ 10,000 and there may be a small charge levied by the ATM owner.

Your card issuer may also charge a transaction fee as well as taking a cut on the exchange rate that you are charged. Some banks offer better deals than others. Debit cards can also be used in some retail outlets as described below. You will be required to use your PIN.

Credit Cards - Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted by hotels as well as some shops and restaurants. American Express is less widely seen. You may be asked to enter your PIN number into the card terminal. Smaller businesses such as local shops, smaller restaurants and taxis are unlikely to have credit card facilities. Again notify your card issuer that you will be in India. Many cards charge a transaction fee but there are a few that don't.

Non – Indian Cash - Sterling, US dollars, euros can be changed in many places. Other currencies such as Australian and Canadian dollars appear to be easy to get changed also. Banks will change money but have a reputation for being slow and bureaucratic. Bureaux de Change outlets are very common in tourist resorts and normally list their rates on a board outside.

Travellers' Cheques – Not very fashionable these days but do have the advantage that they can be replaced if lost or stolen. Banks, Bureaux de Change and larger hotels will change but check the rate before committing.

Pre-Loaded Rupee Cards - A relatively new innovation and as yet there has been little feedback on the forum. One such is available from ICICI bank who have outlets throughout India. See http://www.icicibank.co.uk/personal/travel_card.html

Pleas feel free to post any questions that you may have below.
Last edited by Dave W; Jan 26th, 2014 at 13:11.. Reason: Clarification
#2 Jan 25th, 2014, 16:26
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Quote:
Common denomination notes are 10, 20 , 50 , 100 and 1,000.
And 500! Actually, 1,000 is not very common, although inflation is making it more so, and ATMs seem to be giving them more often now.

Debit/Credit cards... debit cards are also widely accepted in shops etc. bank charges, as mentioned, also apply.

A recent change is that PIN numbers are required to be entered at Point of Sale. The foreign bank may well require this anyway; mine does.
#3 Jan 25th, 2014, 16:29
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Thank you. I have amended the post.

We were once issued 10,000 - all in 100 notes at an ATM in Jaipur
#4 Jan 25th, 2014, 16:31
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I added a bit more
#5 Jan 26th, 2014, 09:39
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Pre 2005 notes will continue to be legal tender, exchangeable at banks. 10,000 Rs. and above will require ID.

GoanGoan......here & there..Goa
#6 Jan 26th, 2014, 12:31
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post A recent change is that PIN numbers are required to be entered at Point of Sale.
As of now it is a must for debit card transactions. Entering PIN numbers for credit cards will take some more time.

If you get a torn or mutilated note you can change it at any branch of State of India, Bank of India and a couple of other banks.
#7 Jan 26th, 2014, 13:12
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Thanks aarosh and goangoangone. The post has been edited to reflect this information.
#8 May 26th, 2014, 00:27
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#8
Can anybody answer these questions:

1) I have a MasterCard backed Capital One 360 debit card. It does NOT have a "chip and pin" (I'm in the US, where these are not common yet). It is a magnetic strip type ATM/debit card. Will I be able to use this in India? I'm hoping so, as it has a 0% foreign transaction fee!

2) Same basic question with CC: I've googled, and read a few threads here, and it seems that the "pin and chip" type credit card are common/required in India? Is that true? Do I need a CC with a "chip" in it, or can I use a magnetic strip CC as we use here in the US?
#9 May 26th, 2014, 00:38
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#9
Might also encourage the idea of beginning to hoard small notes, coins whenever possible. Many shops/stalls don't have change . . .
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#10 May 26th, 2014, 00:42
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Yes, just did this #8. Be careful of where you do this for security sake. But, works fine with the strip. US cards will switch over as no business wants to be "Targeted".

And number 9 is so right. In Bangladesh they appear to be phasing out small bills in recognition of the realities of inflation..
#11 Aug 28th, 2014, 13:12
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#11
Morning folks... my trip is very close, and this forum has been amazing in helping me plan so far...

At the moment i have one money question.
Initially I was to change 500 into rupees on arrival. I'm thinking of withdrawing the cash at heathrow and using a tavelex or similar on arrival at Dehli airport.

Is this a good or bad idea. I'm trying to avoid my banks rediculous overseas ATM charges.

My only other option would be to change the cash on arrival in Agra, but by the time I get there i'll be tired etc and just want to rest, then up at dawn the next day for the Taj.

Does anyone have expericne of changing money at Dehli airport?
#12 Aug 29th, 2014, 06:44
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Dave W, is it worth adding to your post that it is safer to ask to enter the PIN yourself during a card transaction at a shop/restaurant? Many waiters/staff think nothing of asking you for your PIN so that they can enter it in the machine. I always insist on entering it myself, going into their "office room" if needed.
#13 Aug 29th, 2014, 08:34
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#13

Thumbs down

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenears View Post Dave W, is it worth adding to your post that it is safer to ask to enter the PIN yourself during a card transaction at a shop/restaurant? Many waiters/staff think nothing of asking you for your PIN so that they can enter it in the machine. I always insist on entering it myself, going into their "office room" if needed.
Rule no. 1. NEVER give your PIN to anybody, whatever their reason.

#14 Aug 29th, 2014, 23:02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenears View Post is it worth adding to your post that it is safer to ask to enter the PIN yourself during a card transaction at a shop/restaurant?
Safer? Absolutely essential.

Rule No. 1, as above.
#15 Aug 30th, 2014, 01:19
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About 15 years ago, banks did not do Forex transactions on Saturdays as major Forex markets were closed on Saturday. Bank Of America in Connaught Place, New Delhi refused to exchange USD to INR on a Saturday.

Do banks still shy away from Forex transactions on Saturday.

I was carrying around over US$5000 and a thousand Dutch Guilders in my small bag, which also contained my airline ticket, passport, a pocket medical device and month's supply for medicines. The bag was lifted in Palika Bazaar. I found the bag abandoned in the subway from Palika Bazar to Parliament Street, with everything but money present.

I am not blaming the bank for the loss. It was due to letting my guard down in familiar territory.
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