India is undergoing a revolution. The Indian government as part of a crackdown on corruption, counterfeit currency and black money, have banned old 500 and 1000 rupee notes. As every revolution demands a price, this revolutionary change i.e. the currency ban in India has left people confused, short of money and certainly a little hassled.
However, the government has made some wonderful plans to help everyone out. The currency situation in India might scare you, but have no worries. If you are visiting India or are making holiday plans for India, go ahead. Get ready for a wonderful experience even with the currency situation.
For a foreign tourist, the situation might seem a little difficult to comprehend, so we provide you with tips on the currency ban situation in India.
How to deal with demonetization in India if you are a traveler
- If you have currency in the banned denominations, get the money exchanged. All banks, post offices and Airports are providing an exchange option for amount up to INR 2000 daily till the 24th November 2016. If you still have denominations after the date aforesaid, you can visit the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to get the currency exchanged.
- Foreign citizens will be permitted to exchange foreign currency up to INR 5000 per week. Necessary entry to this effect will be made in their passports.
- Use your credit card as much as possible. Pay ahead of time for hotels, train tickets, airplane tickets etc. with your bank cards.
- Use traveler’s cheques for payments rather than dealing in cash. If you are planning to come to India, bring some traveler’s cheques from your bank.
- Bring the currency of your own nation for exchange at the international airport. If you are planning to travel in India in the next month, bring money in small denominations. You can get 100 Indian rupee notes in exchange at airport.
- The Airport Authority of India (AAI) recently announced that it would allow the opening of currency exchange counters by scheduled commercial banks at its airports across the country until December 31.
- Try finding ATMs in small towns and even villages near tourist centres. A foreign tourist can take out 2500 per day from the ATM which is the current daily limit.
- State Bank of India main branches have NRI Lounges for exchanging money. Try to locate one right near your location.
- Open a PayTM account. As a foreigner, you cannot add money to your account, and your limit is 10,000 rupees. If you have a friend in India, you can give them money, and they can transfer money into the PayTM account. Of course, the challenge will be giving them the money, but if you can find a way to do it, PayTM is very useful for paying for train tickets, and mobile recharge and many other things.
- Download taxi apps like Uber, Ola and Meru. These apps accept payments via my foreign credit card. Other apps let you pay with various mobile wallets.
- Ask the guard at the ATM what time the machine is reloaded with cash, so you can be on time to withdraw currency.
- Follow the hashtag #ATMswithCash and try downloading Walnut App (@getwalnutapp on Twitter). It has a function that apparently shows ATMs that have cash.
- Western Union acts as a lifesaver in these times. If you are running short of money and fail to queue up in the ATMs or banks go for this options. Ask your family of friends to send you money online. You will get the new currency notes in your hand without much hassle.
- Foreign tourists are not allowed to take the Indian currency offshore. Kindly do not take any currency while you return to your homeland as they will be of no use to you and is an illegal act.
- There is a helpline for the situation on demonetization in India. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a toll-free number to solve your queries. In Mumbai you can call at, 022-226602201 or 022-22602944. In Delhi the number is 011-23093230.
Do not be alarmed with the recent move of government regarding demonetization in India if you are a traveler from overseas. You can have a great time in India even without much cash. Have a great holiday!