Best Indian forex cards with zero markups to carry when traveling abroad

Gourav Goyal

Gourav Goyal

Oct 16, 2022

I did some research on forex cards when I was planning to do workation from Bali. My personal favorites are Fi Money and Niyo Global by SBM bank, as they offer the best deals with zero markups. Avoid using credit cards for international transactions, including flight tickets, as there will probably be hidden forex fees. Some sneaky banks won’t even show these charges in your account statement to keep it under the rug.

Pro tips:

  • Take more than one forex card with you in case of payment issues with one card, or you, unfortunately, bend one by putting it in your back pocket and going for adventure sports. Anecdote: When I was in Bali, I couldn’t connect my Fi Money card to GoJek app, but the Niyo Global card worked well.
  • Load money before your trip. It’ll save you some trouble in case of no internet connection or OTP not working upon arrival. Also, you can always transfer the remaining amount back to your bank account for free.

Fi Money

Create a free account without visiting the bank. Apply here: https://fi.money/

Underlying bank: Federal Bank

Charges:

  • Zero forex markup fee
  • Zero balance account
  • Zero annual charges on debit card
  • No Account opening or maintenance fee
  • ATM withdrawal fee
    • International: INR 100 per withdrawal (some ATMs may also have their own fee). All worldwide ATMs that accept Visa are supported.
    • Domestic: 5 free transactions every month. After that, it’s INR 21 per transaction. Withdrawals from any Federal Bank ATM are free.
  • see all charges: https://fi.money/fees

Card info:

  • Card type: Visa debit cum forex card
  • works in India as well as abroad
  • 100+ currencies supported w/o charges
  • no lounge access 👎

App features:

  • Load money via UPI / NEFT / IMPS. Also has a nice one-click option to mention the amount, launch an app (gpay, Paytm, banking apps, etc.), and load money. 👍
  • manage card from the app: block / unblock / set limits / disable “tap and pay” etc.
  • spend analytics: auto categorize your spends, monthly spends chart 👍

Support:

  • 24x7 live chat support from the app

Internet banking is also supported: 👍

Niyo Global

Create a free account without visiting the bank. Apply here: https://www.goniyo.com/global/

Underlying bank: SBM Bank

Charges:

  • Zero forex markup fee
  • Zero balance account
  • Zero annual charges on debit card
  • No Account opening or maintenance fee
  • ATM withdrawal fee
    • International: INR 100 per withdrawal (some ATMs may also have their own fee). All worldwide ATMs that accept Visa are supported.
    • Domestic: 5 free transactions every month. After that, it’s INR 20 per transaction. Withdrawals from any SBM bank ATM are free.
  • see all charges: https://static.goniyo.com/legal/Niyo_SBM_SOC.pdf

Card info:

  • Card type: Visa debit cum forex card
  • works in India as well as abroad
  • 100+ currencies supported w/o charges
  • Complimentary lounge access at domestic & international airports in India. 👍
  • Need to load INR 5000 before ordering the physical card. This is not a fee, and you can spend this amount.

App features:

  • Load money via UPI / NEFT / IMPS.
  • Built-in Live Currency Converter and ATM locator
  • manage card from the app: block / unblock / set limits / disable “tap and pay” etc

Support:

Internet banking is not supported. The account can only be accessed via mobile app. 👎

NiyoX

Create a free account without visiting the bank. Apply here: https://www.goniyo.com/niyox-equitas/

Underlying bank: Equitas bank

Charges:

  • Zero forex markup fee
  • Zero balance account
  • No Account opening or maintenance fee
  • Debit card fee (2nd yr onwards): INR 150 + GST 👎
  • ATM withdrawal fee
    • International: INR 100 per withdrawal (some ATMs may also have their fee). All worldwide ATMs that accept Visa are supported.
    • Domestic: 5 free transactions every month. After that, it’s INR 20 per transaction. Withdrawals from any Equitas bank ATM are free.
  • see all charges: https://static.goniyo.com/legal/Niyo_Equitas_SOC.pdf

Card info:

  • Card type: Visa debit cum forex card
  • works in India as well as abroad
  • 100+ currencies supported w/o charges
  • no lounge access 👎

App features:

  • Load money via UPI / NEFT / IMPS.
  • Built-in Live Currency Converter and ATM locator
  • manage card from the app: block / unblock / set limits / disable “tap and pay” etc

Support:

Internet banking is not supported. The account can only be accessed via mobile app. 👎

Jupiter Money

Create a free account without visiting the bank. Apply here: https://jupiter.money/

Underlying bank: Federal Bank

Charges:

  • One-time physical debit card fee of INR 199 + GST 👎
  • Forex markup fee 👎
    • Can spend INR 25K/month w/o forex fee (up to INR 1L/mo if you link salary to Jupiter)
    • 3.5% Forex Charges beyond the limits mentioned above
  • No minimum balance
  • No Account maintenance fee
  • Zero annual charges on debit card
  • ATM withdrawal fee
    • International: INR 100 + 3.5% Forex Charges 👎 (some ATMs may have their fee as well). All worldwide ATMs that accept Visa are supported.
    • Domestic: 5 free transactions every month. After that, it’s INR 21 per transaction. Withdrawals from any Federal bank ATM are free.
  • see all charges: https://jupiter.money/fees-rates-charges/

Card info:

  • Card type: Visa debit cum forex card
  • works in India as well as abroad
  • no lounge access 👎

App features:

  • Load money via UPI / NEFT / IMPS.
  • manage card from app: block / unblock / set limits / disable “tap and pay” etc

Support:

Internet banking is not supported. The account can only be accessed via mobile app. 👎

Niyo Global by DCB Bank (inactive)

Note: They have stopped onboarding new users now.

Website: https://www.goniyo.com/niyodcb

Underlying bank: DCB bank

Check live forex rates for Visa cards

Note: Forex rates for all visa cards are the same irrespective of the bank issuing the card.

Visit Currency Converter: https://www.visa.co.in/travel-with-visa/exchange-rate-calculator.html

  • Enter Bank Fee as 0 if there’s no forex markup fee.

🙏 If some information is outdated, please let me know at hey@gourav.io, and I’ll update the post.

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Gourav Goyal

Gourav Goyal