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How To Exchange Foreign Currency In India – A Complete Guide

Exchanging foreign currency in India falls into two categories;

  1. Buying foreign currency – When you are going abroad for a trip, you’d need the currency of the country you are going to. Here you would be exchanging your Indian Rupee for that particular foreign currency.Ex: Going to the USA, you’d be buying the US dollar by exchanging your Indian Rupee in hand.This is called buying foreign currency.
  2. Selling foreign currency – Coming back from a business trip or leisure foreign tour, you may have balance foreign currency in your wallet. Here you would be looking to exchange the foreign currency in hand for Indian Rupee. This is called selling foreign currency.

Both Buying + Selling foreign currency broadly falls under the category, “Currency Exchange”.

In this post, we present to you the complete guide on how to exchange foreign currency in India easily.

How to exchange foreign currency in India


Currency exchange in India can be done through Banks (AD-I licence by RBI), and Money Changers(Both AD-II and FFMC licence holders).

1. Exchange foreign currency in Indian banks

With the foreign currency in hand visit your bank where you hold an account. For example, if you are an SBI bank account holder, you can exchange foreign currency in SBI.

Please Note: You won’t be able to do the exchange in a bank where you don’t hold an account 

Ask for the exchange rate of the foreign currency with respect to the rupee and the service fee quoted by your bank. If you are satisfied with the rate you can complete the money exchange in your bank itself. Produce the required documents (mentioned in the section below).

Tip: Usually, the exchange rate given by banks is not the best in the market. Because for banks, buying and selling foreign currency is not the main business and it is just an extra service they provide. Thus they are not very bothered about giving attractive rates to customers.

2. Exchange foreign currency with RBI approved money changers (AD-II, FFMC)

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Approach an RBI approved money changer holding “Authorised Dealers Category – II or Full Fledged Money Changers (FFMCs) licence.

Examples of such money changers are Unimoni (formerly UAE Exchange), Muthoot Forex, Thomas Cook, Cox & Kings etc.

Their advantage is that unlike banks a person does not need to have an account with them to buy/sell foreign currency. Also, money changers are more competitive than banks. Thus they offer attractive exchange rates to grab customers.

In India, almost every major town/city will have a money changer store. But do take care as not at all money changers are RBI licenced. Ensure that you are doing the transaction at a licenced forex store.

The procedure to exchange currency with them is the same as that of banks.

  1. Go to a forex store and initiate your buy/sell currency transaction.
  2. Produce the required documents.
  3. Get the currency exchanged

3. Exchange foreign currency at the Airport

Airport inside people shops currency exchange counters

Source: Career Employer

Airports are the last place where a traveller going abroad has the chance to buy foreign currency (if flying out). Similarly, it is the first place for selling foreign currency when flying into the country.

The currency exchange counters at airports around the world know this fact. They know that travellers always come to them out of urgency in buying/selling foreign currency.

Thus they do forex transactions at outrageous exchange rates!

Also, everything inside an airport is pretty costly. Ever had a cup of coffee in an airport and paid more than 4x what you pay outside?  Yeah well, forex counters there are also like that.

Pro Tip: Avoid doing currency exchange at airports unless you have no other option. Plan ahead and buy forex early on or sell forex at your bank or any RBI licenced money changers after coming out of the airport.

4. Produce documents required for money exchange in India


Documents-required-for-currency-exchange-passport India

When buying/ selling forex through your bank or a chosen money changer, you’d be required to provide KYC (Know your customer) documents. This is in compliance with RBI rules and all banks and authorized exchange houses must adhere to this rule.

Buying Forex

The documents required for buying foreign currency in India are ;

  1.  Indian Passport
  2. Confirmed Air Ticket showing travel within 60 days
  3. PAN Card
  4. Valid Visa (Mandatory for some countries)

Selling Forex

The documents required for selling foreign currency in India are ;

  1. Indian Passport (Mandatory for transactions above Rs.25,000)
  2. Copy of your Driving License
  3. Voters ID
  4. Aadhar Card
  5. PAN Card (If required)

Please Note: Any 1 of the above documents is enough

Is there an easy way to buy/sell foreign currency in India (online)?


Well, there is! ExTravelMoney’s online foreign exchange portal.

Physically visiting or calling your bank or each and every money changer in your locality to find out their currency rates is a tedious process. It’ll drain your time, energy and is not an efficient way to do things.

Instead try out, online currency exchange in India. It is a simple and easy way of doing money exchange in India. Rather than combing through banks and money changers for the best rate, simply head here! Our web portal helps you find the best forex rate in India from among many banks and money changers.

You can compare the rates of forex stores and their service charges through ExTravelMoney, place currency exchange order online and even request door pickup of your forex.

How does ExTravelMoney work?

1. Simply visit the website, select the currency you want and enter the amount of currency you want to buy/sell.

2. Enter your location and get the list of RBI licensed forex centres near you. Their exchange rates and service fees will be shown to you in the portal. Just select the forex store offering the best exchange rate (displayed on top of the list) and place your order online itself.

3. Once the order is placed, ExTravelMoney’s customer care executives will get in touch with you via your provided mobile number to facilitate the transaction.

The forex stores in the portal have an agreement with ExTravelMoney to sell forex at market-beating exchange rates. In total there are more than 6500+ forex stores in ExTravelMoney, spread across India.

By following these simple steps you can convert foreign currency to Indian rupees or vice-versa. With ExTravelMoney, exchange foreign currency in India in a matter of minutes and with just a couple of mouse clicks! It’s that simple.

ExTravelMoney’s Services
Buying Foreign Currency
Selling Foreign Currency
Forex Card

Do try us out!