India Travel – Tips for using Credit Cards in India for Foreigners

India is a land of rich culture and diversity since ages. Although India is not as developed as EU and North America, people in India is people are so kind to foreigners and are welcome everywhere.

Before Travelling to India

1. Always take a VISA or Mastercard with you. VISA or Mastercard is accepted in most parts of the world including India. Though AMEX cards are popular, it is still not accepted everywhere in India, except in high profile places.

2. Before you depart from your home country, call your bank and inform them you are traveling abroad and ask them to permit ATM cash withdrawals abroad (India) AND allow online transactions (to book tickets) in your card while in travel.

Foreign Issued Credit/Debit Cards

Using credit card has become one of the most common way of doing electronic money transactions, no matter where you are in the World. Be it for shopping or ATM withdrawals

You will find that if you are from europe or other countries, most VISA/Mastercards are issued with a smart chip in the credit card. Be aware if you are a foreigner using those cards in India can cause inconvenience as most shops use a swipe machine that are still not equipped to handle credit card using with those chips. This is because indian banks only rely on magnetic strips in the credit/debit cards and the technology is yet to come with smart chips. This is a nasty situation and can be sometimes embarrassing. So before you buy anything, make sure you ask the owner of the shop in India, whether they can accept international credit cards like VISA/Master card with those smart chips. If their swipe machine doesnt have a chip processor, you credit card will be declined. As a foreigner this can be ridiculous!

If their swipe machine has chip processor in their swipe machine, ask the owner of the shop to insert the credit card to the chip reader in the swipe machine, pull out and then swipe the magnetic strip of the card once and then enter the billing amount. This way most foreign issued credit cards work in the swipe machines used in India.

If you carry AMEX (American Express) card still many small and medium sized shops in India still cant accept amex cards. As a foreigner it is a good idea to take a VISA/Mastercard issued cards. Ask your bank to issue one of them.

On the other hand, if you are Indian travelling to europe or elsewhere, most hotels and shops decline those credit cards without those smart chips. So make sure you do your research beforehand than getting embarrased.

ATM Withdrawals

With your international credit or debit card (with or without smart chips), you can easily do a cash withdrawal at over any ATM with Visa or Mastercard or AMEX logo. Most often the card PIN is about 6 digits long and most bank ATMs very well accept PINs of 6 digits. The following bank ATMs are very much recommended to do a cash withdrawals for foreigners….Look for the logo for VISA, Mastercard and AMEX!

HDFC Bank
HSBC Bank
ICICI Bank
IDBI Bank
Citibank India

You should be able to find ATMs of these banks almost in every corner of the city. It is a good idea to use online ATM locator using these links

http://visa.via.infonow.net/locator/global/
http://www.mastercard.com/us/personal/en/cardholderservices/atmlocations/index.html

Most proabably if you are from EU country, you will have a Maestro, PLUS or Cirrus logo if its a debit card. You will have a proper VISA or Mastercard logo if its a credit card.

The maximum withdrawal limit for most ATMs in India is about Rs.15’000. In most cases if you carry a foreign issued debit card you will be charged for USD 5.- for withdrawals abroad by your Bank. Using credit cards for cash withdrawals can be still expensive and the minimum is most proabably 3% + $5. Call your bank and check for these exact charges.

Safety Advice:  Keep your cash safely do not carry around your cash visible to outside people, when you exit the ATM room to prevent any theft.

Online Safety Tips

If you are a foreigner, travelling abroad and using paypal for online payments, dont login into paypal account from other country. Paypal might suspect that your account is misused and might limit your account. So before you depart call paypal and inform them that you will be travelling abroad and you might be logging in from other country.

If you are foreigner doing online purchasing for air/train tickets, most indian online sites ask for scanned copy of credit card and credit card statement. While doing so never in any case reveal CCV number of your credit card under any circumstances to anyone.

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Prabhu Balakrishnan

I am cool and friendly internet entreprenur blogging since 2005. My interests are wordpress, PHP, linux servers, SEO and travel. Besides computers, i am crazy for video games, travel and a cup of hot coffee! I am born in Coimbatore, India but i currently live in Budapest, Hungary. Feel free to contact me folks!

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