Exchange Currency in India - Must Read Before Traveling

User By Mabel Collins

Currency exchange plays a crucial role in facilitating international trade, travel, and investments. In a diverse and culturally rich country like India, with its booming economy and vast international connections, exchange currency is an integral aspect of daily life. India's currency exchange landscape has evolved significantly over the years, with various regulations and reforms shaping the way transactions are conducted. 

This article aims to provide information about exchange currency in India, covering its history, regulatory framework, major players, challenges, and future prospects.

Back To The History

The history of currency in India can be traced back to the old times when trade routes connected the Indian subcontinent to various parts of the world. Coins from different civilizations, such as Roman, Greek, and Persian, were used for transactions, making India a melting pot of diverse currencies.

In the modern era, India's monetary system underwent significant changes during British colonial rule. The British introduced the rupee as the official currency, and the Indian currency was linked to the British pound. However, India gained independence in 1947, and the country began issuing its own currency, the Indian Rupee (INR). From this time, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued and regulated the INR.

The Advent of the Rupee

The term "rupee" has its roots in the Sanskrit word "rūpyakam," which means "a silver coin." The use of the term "rupee" for currency in India can be traced back to the Sultanate of Delhi (13th-16th century) when the silver coin called "Rupiya" was first introduced. The Mughal Empire, which succeeded the Sultanate, further popularized the rupee as the dominant currency in India.

During British colonial rule, the Indian rupee was officially introduced in 1835 by the British East India Company as the standardized currency across the territories under its control. The rupee's value was pegged to the British pound, following the gold standard, which made it an integral part of the global monetary system.

The currency in India

The currency in India

Currency Exchange in India and Security Features

Currency Denominations

The Indian rupee is available in various denominations of banknotes and coins, catering to the diverse needs of the population. The Indian currency denominations included:

  • Banknotes: ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹200, ₹500, and ₹2,000

  • Coins: ₹1, ₹2, ₹5, and ₹10

Additionally, coins of smaller denominations, such as 50 paise (₹0.50) and 25 paise (₹0.25), were available but have become less commonly used due to inflation.

Indian currency notes incorporate several security features to prevent counterfeiting and ensure their authenticity. These features include watermarks, security threads, latent images, micro-lettering, and color-changing ink, among others. The RBI continually updates these security features to stay ahead of counterfeiters and maintain public confidence in the currency.

Exchange rate in India

Exchange rate in India are determined by the exchange market, where currencies are sold & bought. The exchange rate indicates the value of one currency in terms of another currency. For instance, if the exchange rate between the US Dollar to Indian Rupee is: 1 USD = 82.30 INR, it means that 1 US Dollar can be exchanged for 82.30 Indian Rupees (According to August 2023).

Travelers must exchange your currency before traveling to India

Travelers must exchange your currency before traveling to India

Exchange Currency in India Information For Travelers

How to exchange foreign currency in India?

Exchanging foreign currency in India is a straightforward process, and there are several authorized entities that can assist you with the currency exchange. Today, the Indian Rupee (INR) is the official currency, and its exchange rate against other major currencies fluctuates daily. 

Various authorized entities, such as banks, authorized dealers, and licensed money changers, offer currency exchange services across the country. To exchange foreign currency in India, individuals need to provide valid identification documents, be aware of the prevailing exchange rate, and choose a reputable authorized entity. 

With the country's ongoing push towards digitalization, online platforms and mobile apps are also becoming popular options for currency exchange. Whether for travel, trade, or investment, exchanging foreign currency in India is a straightforward and essential process that helps facilitate global financial interactions.

Where to exchange foreign currency in India?

In India, you can exchange foreign currency at various authorized entities that are regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Here are some common places where you can exchange currency in India:

  • Banks

Most major banks in India offer currency exchange services. You can visit any bank branch authorized by the RBI to conduct foreign exchange transactions. Banks are considered safe and reliable for currency exchange, and they often provide a wide range of foreign currencies.

  • Authorized Dealers (ADs)

Apart from banks, there are authorized dealers (ADs) that are non-banking financial institutions licensed by the RBI to provide currency exchange services. These entities include currency exchange agencies and other financial institutions.

  • Airport Exchange Counters

International airports in India have currency exchange counters where you can exchange foreign currency. Travelers arriving or departing from India may find these exchange counters, but they should be aware that they may have higher service fees and less favorable exchange rates than other options.

  • Money Changers

Licensed money changers are authorized by the RBI to offer foreign currency exchange services. They are often found at popular tourist destinations, commercial areas, and shopping malls. Money changers may offer competitive rates and may be a convenient option for currency exchange.

  • Online Platforms

With the rise of digitalization, several online platforms and mobile apps offer currency exchange services in India. These platforms allow you to exchange currency online, and some may offer competitive rates and added convenience.

  • Prepaid Travel Cards (Forex Cards)

Forex cards - prepaid travel cards, can be obtained from banks and authorized dealers. These cards are pre-loaded with foreign currency and can be used for transactions abroad. Forex cards are a secure and convenient option, especially for travelers.

There are many options for you to exchange currency in India

There are many options for you to exchange currency in India

Which bank is best for currency exchange in India?

Exchange currency in India rates can vary daily and may differ between banks based on factors like service charges, fees, and foreign exchange market conditions. However, several major banks in India are well-established and reputable when it comes to currency exchange services. Some of these banks include:

  • State Bank of India (SBI): SBI is the largest and one of the most trusted banks in India. They offer currency exchange services at various branches and have a significant presence across the country.

  • HDFC Bank: HDFC Bank is one of India's leading private sector banks and provides currency exchange services for a wide range of foreign currencies.

  • ICICI Bank: ICICI Bank is another prominent private sector bank in India, offering currency exchange services for travelers and businesses.

Travel to India - Visa Is Necessary

Before traveling, besides exchange currency in India, travelers must remember that a visa is required when visiting India. Let’s apply for an India visa right away and prepare to visit this country in a few days. Checking your eligibility to make sure that you are qualified for an e-visa is the first thing you need to do. 

If you have any questions, please contact us by completing the form or directly call us at +1 917 397 7487 for more information about visa procedures, add-on services or India status.