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Which is Better For International Travel, Niyo Global Card or Forex Card?

Forex Card Vs Niyo Global Card Full Compariosn Which is better For Indian Travellers

TL;DR, If you are a student who is going to study abroad or immigrating abroad, we recommend you get a Forex Travel Card.

They provide the best savings if you are staying abroad for a long period of time as the funds loaded in them are immune to exchange rate fluctuations.

They come loaded with a host of features like Emergency Cash Assist in case of losing the card abroad and also Complimentary Insurance coverage.

Niyo Global Card is better for casual travellers who are going abroad on short trips.

As it is a Rupee based card, you can use it in India once you are back from your trip abroad.

However, each transaction abroad comes with a flat 5% TCS (Tax collected at  Source) charge on it, which will be refunded only after 12 days (refunded only if you have spent less than Rs 7 Lakh on your foreign exchange transaction in that financial year).

Otherwise, a refund can be claimed on the TCS charged only at the time of filing tax returns.

Thus, if you are going abroad for a long period of time and most probably won’t be filing tax returns in India, it is better not to take this card.

Take a look at our quick comparison table for finding out which card works best for you.


Forex Card Niyo Card

Ease of getting the card

Card usage abroad

Reloading the card

If card is lost or stolen

App & features



Complimentary features

Fees & charges



Withdrawal Limit



Ease of closing the card

Long-term savings

Niyo Global Card has become quite popular among students and travellers going abroad from India. 

It is a Rupee denominated, VISA prepaid debit card that can be used within India, as well as abroad, in ATMs, PoS Machines, and for online transactions. 

A rupee-denominated card is simply a prepaid bank card in which we can load only Indian Rupee as the currency.

Whereas Forex Cards are prepaid travel cards in which multiple foreign currencies can be loaded and can be used abroad but cannot be used inside India.

The main reason why the Niyo Global card is popular is because of the “Zero forex markup” claim by Niyo, i.e., they are saying, when making a payment abroad with the card, no currency exchange margin will be added on top of the INR to foreign currency conversion.

Also, easy online booking of the card, an app to monitor the funds in it and complimentary airport lounge access are touted as some of the other conveniences of the Niyo Global card. 

So does Niyo really outshine forex cards when it comes to cost and usefulness for an International traveller?

Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

  1. Ease of getting the card
  2. Card usage abroad
  3. Reloading the card
  4. If card is lost or stolen
  5. App & features
  6. Complimentary features
  7. Fees & charges
  8. Withdrawal Limit
  9. Ease of closing/cancelling the card
  10. Long-term savings

Complete Comparison of Forex Card with Niyo Global Card

Here is a complete in-depth comparison between a typical Forex Card and Niyo Global card keeping in mind the practical aspects of owning and using both cards abroad.

1. Ease of getting the card


“Forex Card is easier and quicker to obtain”

Niyo Global Card

They mainly issue two cards, either DCB (Development Credit Bank) or SBM (State Bank of Mauritius, not a part or subsidiary of SBI).

In both cases, the card is provided only after opening a new DCB/SBM Niyo Current Account. 

For this, you’d have to complete personal KYC verification by the bank. 

Also from the time of KYC verification, it may take up to 7 to 15 days to receive the actual physical card. 

However, they mail the card to your given address which is convenient.

Forex Card

Forex cards are offered by many banks (SBI, HDFC, ICICI etc) and RBI authorised exchange houses (Unimoni, Thomas Cook, Ebixcash etc) in India. They are easily available across the length and breadth of the country.

You can book one with any provider, load foreign currencies in it and get it the same day itself.

Here too, you’d be required to complete KYC verification to get the card. 

Contrary to Niyo Global Card, a Forex Card does not require any account opening. 

Forex cards can be either picked up at the nearby branch of the provider you’ve chosen. You can also get it door delivered to your address within the same day of placing the order.

Verdict: Forex Card is easier and quicker to obtain.

Both Niyo Global Card and Forex Card need KYC verification to be done to receive the card. However, the process is faster in the case of a forex card (1 day vs 7-8 days). 

Also, a forex card does not require a bank account opening. 

Compare & Book Forex Cards With

Checkout Forex Cards

Take a look at the coverage of Forex Card services offered by ExTravelMoney on

ExTravelMoney: Consumers Can Use Travel Cards to Access Wholesale Rates from 25+ Forex Providers

2. Card usage abroad


“Forex Card for long-term travellers. Niyo Card for short-term travellers”

Niyo Global Card

Online Transactions

Niyo Global Card can be used both abroad and in India as well for online transactions since it’s a rupee based card. 

If you are making a payment in foreign currencies online, the INR balance in your Niyo card will be converted to the foreign currency and then the payment will be processed. 

Only VISA network exchange rates would apply (which are close to the interbank rates). 

However, please do note that as per a video posted by Youtuber Neeli’s Vlogs who has used Niyo Global Card in several countries, 5% TCS (Tax Collected at Source) is being levied on each transaction carried out using the card.

Niyo Global Card TCS Charge

Source: Neeli’s Vlogs

At the same time, this TCS charge is reversed within 12 days once it has been verified that the total foreign exchange used by you is below the Rs 7 Lakh limit in that financial year.

Niyo TCS Charge & Refund


However, this is a major disadvantage as you’ve to factor in 5% TCS on literally every transaction done using your card. A spend of $1000 would imply an upfront TCS payment of $50 which is a significant amount. You’d have to do meticulous expense management and manage the funds in your card carefully.

To know more about TCS charges on Foreign exchange transactions, read our informative blog post;

TCS on Money Transfer Abroad from India – Simple Guide

Also, note that in Niyo Global Card exchange rate on the day of the exchange is charged initially from the card. However, the real settlement of the transaction happens 2 days later at that day’s exchange rate. So sometimes the new exchange rate can be higher and further money would be charged from your Niyo Card. 


Niyo DCB Card

Niyo SBM Card

International ATM Cash Withdrawal 

Rs 149 + GST + charges
levied by the ATM network / ATM bank (if any)

Rs 100 + GST + charges
levied by the ATM network / ATM bank (if any)

International ATM Balance enquiry

Rs 100 + GST + charges
levied by the ATM network / ATM bank (if any)

Rs 100 + GST + charges
levied by the ATM network / ATM bank (if any)


Schedule of Charges DCB Niyo Global Card

Schedule of Charges SBM Niyo Global Card

Swiping in PoS (Point of Sale) Machines


Only VISA foreign exchange rates would apply.

Please note, the 5% TCS charge will be applicable on ATM and PoS transactions too for Niyo Global Card.

Forex Card

Online Transactions

Forex cards can be used online to pay for flight tickets, hotel reservations, tour bookings etc in foreign currency.

Since the forex card would already be loaded with the foreign currency in which you are trying to pay, there would be no currency conversion charge. 


International ATM Cash Withdrawal / non-Cash
Transaction Fee

USD 2 (check out USD – INR exchange rate),
No GST or other extra charges would apply

International ATM Balance enquiry
Transaction Fee

USD 0.5
No GST or other extra charges would apply

Swiping in PoS (Point of Sale) Machines


If you are trying to pay in the same foreign currency as loaded in your forex card then there would be no extra charges.

However, say you have USD in your forex card and are trying to pay for a purchase in Singapore in Singaporean Dollars, then apart from the exchange rate, there will also be a currency conversion fee of 1-3 %. The exact rate depends on the forex card provider.

So simply making sure to load the currency of the country you are going to will help you avoid cross-currency fees. 

Verdict: If you are travelling abroad for a short period of time, for example, a conference, or your honeymoon and would be returning to India soon, carrying a Niyo Global Card would make more sense. You’ll get “Visa exchange rates” which are close to the Interbank rate (Exchange rate you see on Google). Also, for the 2-3 weeks of your trip abroad, there won’t be many fluctuations in the exchange of Indian Rupee with other currencies. Also, you can use the balance funds in India as well. However, it comes with the added caveat that you’d have to pay 5% TCS upfront on every transaction abroad.   

If you are planning to go abroad for a long period of time and will be coming to India only once in a while, we recommend carrying a forex card. It will provide more savings to you over the long run. The trend is that the exchange rate of the Indian Rupee is increasing with respect to foreign currencies over time. The foreign currency loaded in the forex card is impervious to the exchange rate fluctuations. Also, there is no 5% TCS being applied on forex card transactions abroad.

3. Reloading the card


“Reloading a Niyo Global Card is easier than reloading a Forex Card”

Niyo Global Card

You can load the card on the go, as it allows you to transfer funds to the bank account associated with it via IMPS / NEFT / RTGS / Online banking.

Money can be directly loaded as INR.

This is especially useful when you are abroad and the funds in your Niyo Global Card are about to run out. A quick re-load and you’ll have money to spend.

Forex Card

When it comes to reloading on the go, forex cards are a mixed bag. 

For one, the process is more complicated than the Niyo Global Card. Also, some forex card providers don’t provide the facility of re-loading on the go (SBI, where the customer or a close relative must visit the branch to do the process).

For reloading a forex card, money has to be loaded into it in foreign currency. This is only possible after converting from INR. Here exchange rate charges would apply. Also, the whole process may take about 2-4 hours. 

Another drawback is that the re-loading facility is not available 24*7. It is only possible during forex market hours in India, that is from morning 9:30 AM to evening 5:30 PM (barring Sundays).

Verdict: If you are a traveller going abroad who is not sure of how much money you would be needing, go for Niyo Global Card. Even if your funds run out, you can easily fund money in your card. 

4. If card is lost or stolen


“A Forex card provides more options in the case of card loss/theft abroad”

Niyo Global Card

This is an area where Niyo loses out to forex cards.

There is no backup card given by default in the welcome kit of your Niyo Global Card. 

You’ve just one card and if it’s lost there is no other card that can be activated.

That is a nightmarish situation to be in, especially when you are abroad and would be requiring uninterrupted access to your money. 

In the event of a card loss, this is what Niyo suggests doing;

  1. Card loss/theft must be reported immediately to SBM / DCB bank in India on their contact number.
  2. Make a police complaint and on return to India, submit a written request for getting a duplicate card along with the copy of the police complaint.

The bank will then decide whether to issue the replacement card. 

Obviously, this is not an ideal situation to be in and there is room for improvement with regards to Niyo’s response in the event of loss of card. 

Forex Card

Forex cars usually come with a backup card in the welcome kit and even if not, you can easily request one for a nominal fee before your trip abroad.

In the event of loss of card;

  1. Simply report the loss via your forex card app or through the International toll-free number given in your kit. The card will then be blocked.
  2. You can then use the app or phone banking to activate your backup card. The funds from your original card will be transferred to this backup card. 

Even if you have not opted for a backup card, there would be facilities such as Emergency Cash Delivery Assistance or Mailing the Backup Card to your hotel abroad. Also, Forex Cards are covered by insurance in the event of loss or theft of card.

In these ways, a forex card provides more comfort in handling a lost card issue abroad.

Verdict: As a forex card is designed with travellers in mind, when losing it abroad, you have many practical solutions to overcome the situation. However, the same can’t be said about the Niyo Global Card.

5. App & features


“Apps for both Forex Card and Niyo Global Card offer similar features”

Niyo Global Card

Niyo Global provides a dedicated app to manage your card.

The app has features such as currency converter, ATM locator, Lock/Block/Unblock the card, transaction history, balance enquiry and account statement etc.

Forex Card

Most forex card providers also provide a mobile app with almost the same functionality as that of the Niyo Global App.

Checking balance, account statement, changing the PIN, Blocking and Unblocking the card, all these options would be available.

Verdict: The app and features of both Niyo Global and most Forex cards offer similar features. This is not a distinguishing criterion on which to base your purchase decision.

6. Complimentary features


“The complimentary features of a Forex Card outweigh the ones provided by Niyo Global Card”

Niyo Global Card

  1. Airport lounge access at select airports within India
  2. Concierge services powered by the VISA Network
  3. 5% interest per annum* on the account balance. However, terms and conditions apply here as indicated in the image below;

Niyo Interest Rate

Forex Card

Forex cards also come with scores of complimentary features and services;

  1. *Airport lounge access at select airports within and outside India
  2. *Concierge services powered by Visa Network
  3. Free international SIM card with a few hours of talk-time (provided by some vendors like HDFC)
  4. Emergency Cash Delivery service in the case of theft or loss of forex card abroad 
  5. Complimentary insurance in the case of loss or theft of forex card which differs as per each card provider

Forex Card Complimentary Insurance Typical Coverage Amounts

Misuse due to counterfeiting/skimming

Up to INR 5,00,000

Loss of checked-in baggage

Up to INR 20,000

Loss of travel documents (Passport, Visa, Tickets)

Up to INR 50,000

Loss of Cash in Transit

INR 60,000

Missing of Connecting International Flight During Transit

USD 300

Plane Hijacking

Up to USD 3,000


Concierge services are essentially like a customer support service for travellers. You can avail this when travelling abroad and get recommendations for good hotels, car rentals, hospitals or other medical services as well as assistance in case of losing your passport or personal belongings.

*The airport lounge access and concierge services provided by both Niyo and Forex cards are powered by the VISA network.

Verdict: While the interest rate offered by Niyo Global does seem interesting, you must remember that in India, inflation is over 6% per year. This can’t be matched by their interest rates. Also, for a traveller, the complimentary features of a forex card outweigh the ones provided by Niyo Global Card, especially with useful features such as Forex Card Insurance and Emergency cash assistance in case you lose your card abroad. This is a more practical scenario you may encounter while travelling.

7. Fees & Charges


“Both have somewhat similar charges”

Niyo Global Card

Joining Fees INR 200 at the time of issuance
Reissue of Lost, Stolen or Damaged Card INR 200 – 250
Annual Maintenance Charges INR 500
ATM Cash Withdrawal (other bank ATM) INR 20 per transaction
ATM Balance Enquiry (other bank ATM) INR 10 – 20 per transaction
International ATM Cash Withdrawal/non-Cash Transaction at ATM INR 100 – 149 + GST + charges levied by the ATM network / ATM bank (if any)
International ATM Balance enquiry Transaction Fee INR 100 + GST + charges levied by the ATM network / ATM bank (if any)

To know the exact charge of Niyo DCB / SBM card refer to the links below.

Schedule of Charges – DCB Niyo Global Card

Schedule of Charges – SBM Niyo Global Card

Forex Card

*The figures shown below are for a typical forex card

Issuance Fee INR 150 -175
Re-load Fee INR 75 – 100
Reissue of Lost, Stolen or Damaged Card INR 100 – 250 (USD 20 if card to be couriered abroad)
Annual Maintenance Charges INR Zero
Inactivity Fees* (levied on 180 days of inactivity) USD 3 – 5 (check out today’s USD – INR rate)
International ATM Cash Withdrawal/non-Cash Transaction at ATM USD 2
International ATM Balance enquiry Transaction Fee USD 0.5

*A forex card is classified as inactive if it has not been used for re-loading, ATM withdrawal, Merchant transaction or online transaction within the last 180 days. Some forex card providers even allow inactivity for up to 18 months before any fee is levied.

Verdict: There is not much of a significant difference between Niyo Global Card and Forex Card charges. This is not a distinguishing difference to consider.

8. Withdrawal Limit


“Both offer nearly similar withdrawal and usage limits”

Niyo Global Card

ATM Cash Withdrawal  INR 1,00,000
PoS Transactions INR 7,50,000
Contactless Payments INR 5,000 / transaction
Online Transactions INR 7,50,000

Forex Card

*The Withdrawal limit is different for each forex card vendor. These figures are representative of a typical forex card.

ATM Cash Withdrawal  USD 1,000 – 5000
PoS Transactions Upto INR 7,00,000 (sometimes US $10,000)
Online Transactions Upto INR 7,50,000

Verdict: Both offer similar withdrawal limits. Both of them don’t have any specific advantages over each other in this regard.

9. Ease of closing/cancelling the card


“A Forex Card is easier to close/cancel”

Niyo Global Card

If you have done full KYC, cancelling the Niyo Global Card involves sending an email to with a copy of your PAN / Aadhar card along with a cancelled cheque of any of your bank accounts. Any balance will be credited to the bank account number mentioned in your cancelled cheque. 

However, if you have not completed the full KYC, then you must visit the respective SBM / DCB bank branch to close your account. There are only a very limited number of branches across India for these two banks. 

Forex Card

Closing a forex card is quite easy.

Simply drafting an email to the concerned forex vendor (from whom you’ve taken the card) will suffice. Mention that you want to unload the forex card along with the card number. Also, attach a copy of a cancelled cheque of any one of your bank accounts. 

The balance funds in your forex card will be converted and deposited into your bank account number mentioned in the cancelled cheque.

Verdict: When it comes to cancelling/closing, a forex card is easier to do so than Niyo Global Card. This is because there is no extra bank account associated with a forex card unlike in the case of the Niyo Global Card. Also, sometimes you may have to visit the bank branch in the case of Niyo and the branches are few and far apart in India. 

10. Long-term savings


“Forex Card is better for long term usage and savings”

Niyo Global Card

Let’s take an example; 

On 29 May 2021, 1 USD = 72.39 Rs (refer image below)

USD INR Rate 29 May 2021

Which means 1000 USD = 72,390 Rs

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that if you have 72,390 Rs in your Niyo Global Card on that day, it can get you 1000 USD equivalent abroad (there will be some paise difference when comparing the Niyo exchange rate with Google rate)

Now, imagine the same scenario after 8 months;

In the image below, we can see that on 7 Mar 2022, 1 USD = 77.08 Rs (an increase of Rs 4.69 in the exchange rate)

USD INR Rate 07 Mar 2022

Which means 1000 USD on this date = 77,130 Rs

That is a difference of Rs 4,690

That means, 8 months down the line, you’d have to pay nearly Rs 5K more for getting 1000 USD equivalent in your Niyo Global Card because of the increasing exchange rate over time. 

Forex Card

Now let’s take a look at how a Forex Card will be under the same scenario; 

29 May 2021, 1 USD = 72.39 Rs

USD INR Rate 29 May 2021

Forex cards from typically have a margin of 30 paise on top of the prevailing exchange rate.

72.39+30 paise = 72.69

Thus purchasing 1000 USD = 72,690 Rs

That is Rs 300 more than the Niyo Global Card rate for 1000 USD on the same day.

Now let’s compare after 8 months;

On 7 Mar 2022, 1 USD = 77.08 Rs, 1000 USD = 77,130 Rs

USD INR Rate 07 Mar 2022

However, since the money in your forex card is already loaded as US Dollars, this change in exchange rate does not affect your it

At this point in time, you’d have saved up Rs 4,440 [ Niyo Rate (77,130) – Forex Card Initial Rate (72,690) ]

Which is 6% more savings on the total amount loaded in your forex card vs when it is used in the Niyo Global Card!

Verdict: If you are a student going to study abroad or otherwise immigrating abroad, then getting a forex card by loading it with a large number of funds would be a better savings option for you in the long run. 

Hope this post has helped you determine what you need to carry as an instrument for storing and using money when travelling abroad. We would love to get your thoughts on using these two cards or even any queries about them in the comments section below.

Disclaimer; The information contained in this blog has been sourced from Niyo’s and Forex Card provider’s websites. Also, we have taken into consideration the first-hand accounts of users of these respective cards. Please note that Forex Cards are issued by different banks and money changers. Likewise, the features and charges of each card are different. We have mentioned here the general features and cost you can expect to pay for using a forex card.

Also Read: 

7 Advantages of Forex Card and Its Benefits for Travellers

Comparison of Forex Card vs Credit Card, Debit Card, and Cash