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Prepaid travel card

Prepaid travel card
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First Published: Tue, Mar 15 2011. 09 44 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Mar 15 2011. 09 44 PM IST
NAME OF THE PRODUCT
Axis Bank India Travel Card
WHAT IT OFFERS
This card is specifically meant for foreign nationals and non-resident Indians (NRIs) visiting India. It allows conversion of foreign currency notes or travellers’ cheques into Indian currency and is then loaded onto the card. You don’t need to have an account with Axis Bank Ltd or any other bank to avail the card. The maximum balance you can keep in it is Rs50,000 at any point of time. You can convert 13 major foreign currencies to rupees, but the acceptance of foreign currency may vary across money changer locations. You can reload the card up to the limit at any forex-enabled branch of Axis Bank and as frequently as you require. It is also available at the bank’s partner money changers. The card is valid for six months.
HOW IT WORKS
You need to either approach the forex-enabled branch of the bank that offers this facility or Reserve Bank of India-licensed money changers that have partnered with the bank to sell the product. Provide standard documentation, such as a copy of your passport and visa, along with the application form. Then the bank or money changers exchange your foreign currency notes or travellers’ cheques to rupees at the applicable rate for that day. The converted amount is then loaded on a prepaid card, which you get immediately over the counter. You get an automated teller machine (ATM) and Internet personal identification number (PIN), which you can use at ATMs or swipe at merchant outlets.
Before leaving India, you can return the card to the bank and reconvert the balance into the foreign currency of your choice.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS
At the time of purchase, you need to pay a fee of Rs250 plus taxes. For every withdrawal from an Axis Bank ATM, you will be charged Rs25 plus taxes. If you use the ATM of another bank, you will have to pay Rs50 plus taxes. A balance inquiry will cost you Rs10 plus taxes at all bank ATMs. If you wish to reload or refund, a fee of Rs150 plus taxes would be levied. In case of loss of card or PIN, the replacement card will cost you Rs250 plus taxes and a new PIN Rs50 plus taxes. There are no charges on swiping the card at merchant outlets.
MINT MONEY TAKE
For foreign nationals or NRIs, this travel card may work out cheaper than overseas debit or credit cards. Overseas credit or debit cards usually charge currency conversion as well as a transaction fee every time they are used at an ATM or swiped at a merchant outlet. But these charges vary from bank to bank and country to country. In this travel card, the currency needs to be converted only once; you can choose a suitable day to get maximum conversion value. When you use an overseas card, ATM charges can go up to $5 (Rs227) per withdrawal against Rs25 in this travel card. However, look at other options in the market in the same space.
—Sonali Chowdhury
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First Published: Tue, Mar 15 2011. 09 44 PM IST