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When you are travelling abroad, you are always tempted to spend money on entertainment, shopping and various other leisure activities provided that you have included the cost of these activities in your budget. Yet many people often withdraw more cash than they can spend, leaving them with unspent foreign currency in India. As someone who recently returned from an international trip, you don’t want to draw unnecessary eyes towards you. Therefore it is wise to manage this unspent foreign currency in India on return to India before it leads to any mishaps. 

It is quite difficult to complete an entire trip abroad without spending in cash. You’ll often find yourself in situations where you accumulate foreign currency in notes or coins, either because you withdrew more than you could spend, or received gifts from friends or family abroad, etc. After every trip abroad, there is a high possibility that you’re left with some unused foreign currency. Therefore you should know how to exchange currency in India that you didn’t spend in the foreign country you visited.

As per the Reserve Bank of India, you can indefinitely retain foreign exchange up to US$ 2,000 in the form of foreign currency notes or travellers’ cheques (TCs) for future use. Any foreign exchange in cash in excess of this sum is required to deposit the unspent foreign currency on return to India to the bank within 90 days and TCs within 180 days of return. Any amount in excess of US$ 2000 can be credited to the Resident Foreign Currency (Domestic) [RFC(D)] account.”

There’s no limit on the foreign currency brought into India. However, if the value of the foreign currency in cash exceeds US$ 5,000 and/or the cash plus TCs exceeds US$ 10,000, it should be declared to the customs authorities at the airport in the Currency Declaration Form (CDF), on arrival in India.

Tips to handle the leftover foreign currency

If you have any foreign currency that you didn’t spend during your trip, you should know how to exchange foreign currency in India.  It will help you manage the currency and get the best exchange value on it. Here are a few ways to tackle the unspent foreign currency you brought back home:

Encash Forex Card Or Exchange Foreign Currency Notes

You can simply connect with the company that issued the forex card to encash the leftover currency funds in INR. But there’s a catch. The only drawback is that you’ll again have to spend on foreign exchange fees during the process.

Any unspent currency notes and coins can be exchanged for INR in a bank or with companies that deal with foreign exchange.

Don’t Wait For Currency Value To Rise

Foreign currency value fluctuates continuously. So there’s a high probability that waiting for it to rise before you encash your unspent notes and coins might be a bit dicey. You may or may not get a better value for it with time. So it’s best to use currency in India rather than wait for its value to rise. Because the foreign exchange value keeps fluctuating.

Keep The Foreign Currency For Your Next Trip

If you don’t plan to exchange leftover foreign currency, there are other ways to manage that currency. You can surely use the currency for your future trips. In case you plan on visiting the same country in the near future, keep the foreign currency aside to use then. It’ll save you the costs of exchanging INR for that currency later. Just make sure it’s within the RBI limits. If not, encash the excess amount.

Keep As A Souvenir Or Gift To Family And Friends

Many people love collecting foreign currencies and coins. It is a great way to accumulate foreign currency from different countries and surely an interesting hobby to collect unique exotic notes and coins. Are you fond of coin collecting, or do you have family or friends who are into it? Save some as keepsakes or gift them as souvenirs. The RBI says, “You can retain foreign coins indefinitely without any limit.“

Niyo Global – Your Global Travel Partner

To save you from all the hassle of dealing in foreign currency and everything around it, Niyo in partnership with State Bank of Mauritius (India) Ltd. brings you a DIY INR-based interest-earning digital savings account that comes with a ZERO forex markup VISA Signature Debit Card. The no forex markup card is integrated with the light and fast Niyo Global app for a seamless banking experience on the go through your travels abroad. 

A few of the most compelling features of Niyo Global include:

  • ZERO forex markup 
  • VISA Signature Debit Card 
  • Complimentary domestic and international airport lounge access in India
  • 5% Interest* p.a. on savings with monthly payout
  • Works at VISA-accepting merchants in 150+ countries
  • Load in INR and spend anywhere
  • Integrated Niyo Global app
  • Real-time in-app currency converter
  • In-app nearby ATM locator
  • 24×7 Support
  • Concierge services (powered by VISA Signature)

Advantages of a Niyo Global card as compared to a forex card

Niyo Global card has all the features and benefits of a forex card, only better! Here’s how:

Unless you’re a frequent traveller to the same country, you wouldn’t need the leftover currency from that particular country for your next trip. What are your options in such a scenario?

 Niyo Global cardForex card
1.The Niyo Global digital savings account and card are linked, so funds are available instantly. Reloading funds to your account is a matter of minutes.Prepaid forex cards could take up to 3 days to make funds available in them after reloading. This could be a problem when you are out of money abroad.
2.Niyo Global is an interest-earning savings account. Your money earns up to 5% interest* p.a. and gives monthly interest payout.The money available in a forex card is not linked to any bank account and it doesn’t earn any interest for you.
3.There is no joining or account activation fee at the time of opening a Niyo Global accountForex cards usually charge an activation fee
4.Only the amount that is utilized to make payments goes through currency conversion. The remaining amount in the account continues to earn interest.The entire amount loaded on a forex card is charged with conversion charges at the time of loading irrespective of whether you use it or not
5.Only the VISA exchange rate is applied to all currency conversions. Niyo doesn’t charge any fee.Exchange rates vary across different forex cards. It is recommended to check with the service provider
6.There are no charges for loading/unloading/transferring funds via NEFT/RTGS/IMPSAt the time of unloading any unused balance in the forex card, a currency conversion charge is levied to convert the amount back to INR
7.Niyo Global is an INR-based card that auto-converts the transaction amount into the local currency at the time of purchase. There’s no need to load different currencies. The in-app currency convertor can do the math for you!Forex cards come with a limitation of the number of currencies that can be loaded into them
8.Niyo Global is a zero balance account that comes with a promise to not charge a fee for not maintaining a balance in your account.Forex cards usually charge an inactivity fee to keep your card active

The Niyo Global account comes with a virtual VISA Signature debit card that’s issued instantly at the time of account opening to use for all online purchases.

A physical card can be ordered for use at POS, ATM transactions, accessing airport lounges, etc.

Forex card comes with only one card. Occasionally, some may offer a backup card too. 
10.As the Niyo Global card is loaded with INR, it works in India too Forex cards work only in countries depending on the currencies loaded on it
11.The Niyo Global card provides complimentary airport lounge access at international terminals across India
12.Niyo Global provides VISA Concierge services (powered by VISA Signature)–a digital personal assistant with access to world-class experiences and exclusive privileges
13.In-app exclusive offers on flight, hotel and car rental bookings, etc. can save you a lot so you can enjoy the other finer things in life 
14.Should you need cash any time while you are abroad, the in-app nearby ATM locator can come to your rescue
15.Should you need assistance with your account, you can connect with us  24×7 through our in-app live chat

Niyo Global is undoubtedly a great way to deal with leftover foreign currency in India. It not only aims to offer a seamless banking experience for travel study, but it is also an effective way to manage your expenses during your international trips. You don’t have to go through the hassle of carrying cash or pay hefty fees on regular debit or credit cards. If you’re looking for the best forex card in India, look no further. All you have to do is download the Niyo Global App for Android or iOS and you can onboard yourself right away.

The Niyo Global card can be your best friend during international trips. Happy travels!


What is the easiest way to exchange currency?

Your bank can be an efficient place to exchange currency. You can visit your home brand where you have an account, and they will exchange the native currency for the currency you need and, in return, will charge a small fee. If you want to avoid that fee, you can use a global travel card like Niyo Global, which allows you to load local currency and use it in more than 15 countries in foreign currency without any forex markup fees. 

What documents do you need to exchange money?

You might need the following documents if you plan to exchange currency at your bank. 

  • A valid passport.
  • A valid VISA for the country you plan to travel to.
  • Confirmed ticket 
  • PAN card
  • Aadhar card

Can a bank refuse to exchange currency?

Yes, banks have the full right to deny exchanging your currency. Their internal policies define whether they can accept the foreign currency exchange application or not. To avoid such last-minute problems, it’s best to get a global travel card which allows you to exchange currency in real-time without any hassle.

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