The Indian currency is called the Indian Rupee and the coins are called paise. One Rupee consists of 100 paise. There are multiple ways in which you can exchange your foreign currency to Indian rupees, such as banks, money changers, and ATMs.
Ensure your foreign currency bills are clean and not damaged, in order for the money changers or banks to accept them. Your international credit cards such as Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted in India.
However, be warned that using your credit card overseas will incur international transaction fees. Check with your bank the fees that will be charged before leaving your country.
- Banknotes in India are currently being issued in the denomination of Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 200, Rs 500, and Rs 2000.
- The six largest banks in India are the State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank, Axis Bank, and Canara Bank.
- Generally, banks are opened from 9 am to 4:30 pm on weekdays, and from 9 am. to 2 pm on Saturdays.
- Most ATMs accept Cirrus, Maestro, and Plus which are the most common card networks worldwide.
- There is a maximum withdrawal limit of 15,000 rupees when using ATMs.
The Indian Rupee is the official currency of India. The rupee can be subdivided into 100 paise. The coins are available in 50 paise, also 1, 2, 5, and 10 rupees.
Most of the coins are made of stainless steel, but some are also made of copper, nickel, brass, and bimetallic. All the coins are circular in shape, except the 5 rupee coin made of nickel. It has an eleven-sided shape.
Banknotes in India are currently being issued in the denomination of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 rupees. These notes are issued by the Reserve Bank of India.
Beware of accepting torn or damaged notes. Shops, hotels, and banks will not accept or exchange them. Banks often give notes stapled together in large packs. Ask them to remove the staples for you so that the notes will not get damaged.
How to Change Money in India
India provides a range of accessible banking facilities and money exchange services. They are equipped with English-speaking staff at the counters. These facilities are available in all large cities, international airports, major banks, hotels, travel agencies, and registered money changers.
Bring some cash with you before you arrive in India. When you bring cash, ensure the bills are clean and not damaged, as banks and money changers will not accept them. Bring cash with smaller denominations, as some exchange services will not accept large denominations.
When you arrive at the airport, you can go to an ATM to get money or you can exchange your foreign currency at one of the currency exchange counters.
Money changers are the best way to get currency quickly. You will find them in major shopping centers and towns. Most banks in India will also provide currency exchange services. Banks are opened from 9 am to 5 pm.
In resort or tourist areas, many shops will change money, but avoid exchanging on the black market. Scams and fake currency are not uncommon, so be very careful.
It is advisable to bring money in a variety of denominations on a vacation which includes a mix of cash and credit cards. Be sure to bring more than one kind of credit card since certain cards may not work in smaller towns or at certain ATMs.
Dollar to Rupee
As of June 8, 2019, US$1 is equal to 69.39 Indian rupees. When you arrive in India, the easiest way to exchange money is at the currency exchange counters at the airport.
When you do find a currency exchange counter, be aware of where it's located, as there are some booths that are not legal, giving tourists bad exchanges or counterfeit money.
ATMs are a great way to avoid the currency exchange counters and get Indian rupees directly. You can find them at airports, businesses, urban areas or outside of banks.
Keep in mind that Indian ATMs typically ask for a 4-digit pin code, so if your card has a pin that is longer than 4-digits, contact your bank to check how you can use your credit card in India, as well as check on international transaction fees for using your debit or credit cards.
Pound to Rupee
As of June 8, 2019, 1 Pound sterling is equal to 88.40 Indian Rupees. You can exchange your pounds at many Indian banks, however there maybe a very high transaction fee. Some of these banks may not exchange foreign currency to you if you do not hold an account with them.
Ask for the exchange rate of the foreign currency with respect to the rupee and the service fee quoted by your bank.
You can also exchange your pounds at an RBI approved money changers. Examples of money changers are Muthoot Forex, Unimoni, and Cox & Kings.
Their advantage is that unlike banks you need not have an account with them to sell foreign currency. Also, money changers are more competitive than banks. Thus they offer attractive exchange rates to grab customers.
Banks and Banking Hours in India
International banks are available in India. Some of them include Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC Bank, Deutsche Bank, Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, and The Bank of America. These international banks have branches in all cities across the country.
State Bank of India is the largest commercial bank in India. The bank has 14,000 branches including 190 international branches in 36 countries. Other major banks in India include Bank of Baroda, ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank, and Bank of India.
These banks provide fairly basic products, including deposits and withdrawals with a bank book and cash cards, transferring funds, and foreign currency exchange.
Banks now are not only open on weekdays but also on Saturdays. They are opened from 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday, and from 9 am to 2 pm on Saturday.
All scheduled and non-scheduled banks have to observe a public holiday on the second and fourth Saturday of the month and full working days on Saturdays other than second and fourth Saturdays.
India ATM Services
ATMs are widely used in India. You will find them at airports or in large urban areas. They are usually the best way for you to take out money. Most large cities will have 24-hour ATMs. The instructions are displayed in English, and cash is dispensed in rupees.
Before your trip, you should check with your bank whether your card can access banking networks in India and ask for details of charges. Notify your bank that you will be using your card in India to avoid having it blocked.
Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus Bank, and Maestro are the most commonly accepted cards. ATMs at Axis Bank, Citibank, HDFC, HSBC, ICICI and State Bank of India will recognize and accept these international bank cards.
There are 2 catches to using ATMs in India. Firstly, there is often a maximum withdrawal limit of 15000 rupees. The second catch is that the bank will give you a bad exchange rate and your card-issuing bank will undoubtedly charge you an interantional withdrawal fee as well.
Debit Cards, Credit Cards, and Traveler’s Checks
MasterCard and Visa are the most widely accepted cards. Many credit cards will charge between 3% and 5% international banking fee on all transactions in India. It is best to bring both a credit card and a debit card, in case one of them does not work for you.
You won’t have much luck using traveler’s checks in India. Many banks refuse to process them since they are becoming quite uncommon. If you do find someone to process your check, your exchange rate will be marked up.
Tips for Changing Money, Using ATM and Making Payment
You can exchange money, usually without commission, at the money changers, at some banks, as well as at some hotels. The fastest way is exchanging at the money changes. Also, make sure you keep a retain all currency exchange and ATM receipts.
When using the ATM, be aware of "shoulder surfers" who can peep at your PIN as you enter it. So stand close to the ATM machine and use your body and hand to shield the keypad as you enter the PIN.
Most modern hotels and restaurants in the large cities will accept Visa and MasterCard debit and credit card payments, with charges likely to be between 2 to 5%. Credit cards are good because you may get some protection in case of fraud.
In less modern establishments, markets, and small family businesses, you will need to use cash.
Explore India with Asia Highlights
If you are planning a trip to India, then you need to know the different ways of getting Indian rupees as well as the exchange rate on foreign currencies. Get an accurate banking and currency guide for India from Asia Highlights, so currency won’t be a problem during your trip.