1st trip to India, confused re: money issues

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#1 Oct 9th, 2009, 21:54
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#1
I have read the stickied threads regarding money exchange but still feel confused...

Should I take US$ cash or buy Travelers Checks before leaving the States? (for best exchange rates)

Also have heard conflicting reports re: using VISA debit cards in India...as in,
1) have been told that I can use my card but that there are exorbitant fees
2)that in many places I won't be able to use card at all

Bottom line questions:
cash or travelers checks?
ease of use/fees for VISA debit?

tia
#2 Oct 10th, 2009, 07:13
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#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by CFPhotoGrafie View Post cash or travelers checks?
ease of use/fees for VISA debit?
The best advice is to take your debit card, a little bit of cash as well as some travellers cheques.
#3 Oct 10th, 2009, 09:28
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I usually come with about USD100 and debit/credit cards. I stay anywhere from a few days to several months. The cities have ATMs where you can withdraw cash. I dont usually change the dollars and almost always take them back. They are just for emergencies.

Really small villages and remote primitive areas do not have ATms. If I am going there I just withdraw money and take it with me. You dont want to carry a wad of cash any way because of theft, loss etc.
#4 Oct 10th, 2009, 09:50
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Originally Posted by traveller.1 View Post I usually come with about USD100 and debit/credit cards. I stay anywhere from a few days to several months. The cities have ATMs where you can withdraw cash. I dont usually change the dollars and almost always take them back. They are just for emergencies.

Really small villages and remote primitive areas do not have ATms. If I am going there I just withdraw money and take it with me. You dont want to carry a wad of cash any way because of theft, loss etc.
That's about the best advice. I bring a few hundred U.S. $ also for emergencies. If you want to bring a few hundred in T-checks for emergencies (most any bank will change them), you can do that also. Nowadays, the best exchange rate is with ATM's.

Fees are related to your type of card & bank at home, as well as usually small fees from the ATM you use. You have to find out what your Visa debit card charges, if anything. My bank ATM card gives me 3 free withdrawals a month (they refund any fees from any ATM in the world).

There are many different kinds of ATM cards with different kinds of charges. Call your company.
#5 Oct 11th, 2009, 09:47
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#5
thanks for the replies
I must admit I have no idea because I have never used the card at an ATM only for online or in store purchases

I guess what I was asking is can I use it IN shops without paying enormous fees, I had not even thought to use it at an ATM

also, stupid question, so apologies in advance:
if I use it an an ATM how do I know how much I'm really withdrawing in USD? will it give me my balance in rupees?
#6 Oct 11th, 2009, 13:38
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Originally Posted by CFPhotoGrafie View Post
I guess what I was asking is can I use it IN shops without paying enormous fees, I had not even thought to use it at an ATM
Small to medium size shops in India accept cash only. The larger stores accept debit/credit cards but I will advise you to use cash or credit cards but not debit.
#7 Oct 11th, 2009, 13:45
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#7
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Originally Posted by GoanCanuck View Post Small to medium size shops in India accept cash only. The larger stores accept debit/credit cards but I will advise you to use cash or credit cards but not debit.
Well, really, unless you are in a remote area, even smaller shops/hotels/restaurants have started accepting cards. MASTER/VISA is universal..You will find ATMs even in smaller towns and villages too !!! Let me knowy you plan to go and I will advise you better. Good wishes.
#8 Oct 11th, 2009, 13:59
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Originally Posted by R Murli Dhar View Post You will find ATMs even in smaller towns and villages too !!!
Pretty much, yes; however, I still wouldn't advise to count on it. See also some recent thoughts of mine on it here: http://www.indiamike.com/india/money.../6/#post832278.
#9 Oct 11th, 2009, 14:09
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Originally Posted by R Murli Dhar View Post Well, really, unless you are in a remote area, even smaller shops/hotels/restaurants have started accepting cards.
Very very few restaurants in a major tourist hot spot like Goa accept debit cards. In the beach areas of Goa less than 5% of the restaurants accept debit cards. I have yet to come across a local bar in Goa that accepts debit or credit cards.
#10 Oct 11th, 2009, 14:13
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#10
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Originally Posted by GoanCanuck View Post Very very few restaurants in a major tourist hot spot like Goa accept debit cards. In the beach areas of Goa less than 5% of the restaurants accept debit cards. I have yet to come across a local bar in Goa that accepts debit or credit cards.
Thank you for updating me. If you see my posting in full, I have requested for place the person wants to travel, then we can advise better i think. In the north, south, west and east at smaller towns I have seen them in use. The bottom line is where the person is going to travel !!!!! Good wishes.
#11 Oct 11th, 2009, 17:52
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Machadinha - when were you last in India yourself?? You have much good advice - BUT - some of your responses are seriously out of date!
#12 Oct 11th, 2009, 18:00
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He was here just a few months ago!
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#13 Oct 11th, 2009, 18:24
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Yes, I was (and currently planning the next trip in just another few months); however I don't see why I would have to assert it either (not that it is, as such, an unfair question). This isn't a contest (one should hope) in who has the "coolest" India advice (that fatal flaw among some of the "traveler" scene).

The only way for me or anyone here to learn anything in the answers they give, is to be pointed to flaws therein of course, or possible nuances, or we may persist in the same.

My monetary advice just above is based on my experiences just earlier this year though. I think I normally and when I think of it or find it necessary specify what timeframe my answers are based on (and I did so in the post I pointed to just above).

With any answers here, one should keep in mind there'll be as many travel experiences there as there are travelers (domestic and foreign), of course. But so anyway Obione: What struck you as being seriously outdated? There is, of course, always room for improvement. Remember too people may travel in different modes or areas though. Even within big and supposedly fully modern cities, a lot may depend on what route you choose to take; or what experiences you seek, so to speak. (While I try to keep as many perspectives in mind as possible, mine is certainly the budget traveler's and perhaps having come to a stage of wanting to go off the trail just a little more one. Another thing I try to not make a secret of, btw.)

To shed a little more light on that, this was my first return after over a decade, and I'd been told for long and by many how much the country had changed. All I can say is certainly underneath the surface, and quite often right above it, I didn't really find it so. It was still just very much India, in all its myriad guises, to me.
Last edited by machadinha; Oct 11th, 2009 at 21:39..
#14 Oct 11th, 2009, 19:32
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You take your cardto an ATM and at the ATM withdraw cash. Then you pay with cash. Keep it simple. Little guys dont take cards, not in village, not in ci ties, and not for little amounts. Withdraw about Rs5000 the first time thats USD100 approx, and then see how you spend it and then withdraw accordingly, just enough for 3 or 4 days or however you feel comfortable. Donk keep the cash in one spot . Spread it around on you and your bags. Have fun. It not that big a deal to worry about.
#15 Oct 11th, 2009, 22:53
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#15

Not Stupid Question--Banking is Complex

Quote:
Originally Posted by CFPhotoGrafie View Post thanks for the replies
I must admit I have no idea because I have never used the card at an ATM only for online or in store purchases

I guess what I was asking is can I use it IN shops without paying enormous fees, I had not even thought to use it at an ATM

also, stupid question, so apologies in advance:
if I use it an an ATM how do I know how much I'm really withdrawing in USD? will it give me my balance in rupees?
You still need to call your bank or whomever issued your card. They will tell you what the fees are for charging something. It's usually 1% or 2% BUT you have to call customer service and ASK THEM! There is no possible way for anyone here on IM to have this information!

You will not be told how much you have withdrawn in U.S. Dollars. You will not get your balance, only your withdrawal amount. You will only be told how many rupees you have paid or withdrawn from an ATM. To find out, you can do some quick math (approx. 50 rupees to the dollar, i.e., you withdrew 5000 rupees from ATM, which is about $100.) What I do, is go online to my bank & see what has been debited in dollars. (Just got back from Europe & used ATMs for money. Took out 250 Euros which cost $370 (the dollar is worthless in Europe )

Just to make it more clear--I hope--if someone from France who has all their money in Euros came to the U.S. & withdrew money from an ATM or charged something they bought, the receipt would only have dollars on it, just like any receipt in the U.S. It would not show Euros (or rupees or any other currency).

Traveler.1 is right. You'll get the hang of it.
Last edited by camelgirl; Oct 12th, 2009 at 23:02.. Reason: fixed mistake
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