Tips for Using Leftover Foreign Currency After Returning to India from Your Trip Abroad

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Cost-efficient ways of making the most of your foreign currency spare change after your trip

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. 

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 be surrendered to a bank within 90 days and TCs within 180 days of return. Any amount in excess of US$ 2000 can be credited to 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.

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?

Tips to handle the leftover foreign currency

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 funds in INR. 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.

Keep the foreign currency for your next trip

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

Are you fond of coin collecting or do 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 mark up 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:


Niyo Global card

Forex card


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.


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.


There is no joining or account activation fee at the time of opening a Niyo Global account

Forex cards usually charge an activation fee


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


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


There are no charges for loading/unloading/transferring funds via NEFT/RTGS/IMPS

At the time of unloading any unused balance in the forex card, a currency conversion charge is levied to convert the amount back to INR


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


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. 


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


The Niyo Global card provides complimentary airport lounge access at international terminals across India


Niyo Global provides VISA Concierge services (powered by VISA Signature)–a digital personal assistant with access to world-class experiences and exclusive privileges


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 


Should you need cash any time while you are abroad, the in-app nearby ATM locator can come to your rescue


Should you need assistance with your account, you can connect with us  24×7 through our in-app live chat

Niyo Global aims to make your banking needs for travel, study, and beyond a smooth and hassle-free experience. 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!

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