• Currency

The currency used in India is the rupee, which is divided into 100 paise. Rupees are available in the following denominations: Notes: Rs 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000. Coins: 5, 10, 20, 25, and 50 paise now a days no working paiseand Rs 1, 2,5 and 10.

One lakh is Rs 100,000, written 1,00,000. One crore is Rs 10,000,000, written 1,00,00,000. You are unlikely to come across paise, but conversely you will find that many people will have difficulty giving change for notes larger than Rs 100.

Strictly speaking, you can neither import nor export Indian currency, but you can get some at the airport straight away to at least get you transport to your accommodation. There are Authorized Foreign Exchange dealers in most big cities, and banks will also change your currency at a fair rate if you have time for the paperwork.

A good way of getting your travellers currency is via an ATM but beware of hidden bank charges, both from the bank providing the ATM and the card-issuing bank - you also do not know what exchange rate you are getting. In the UK, it is worth checking charges with your bank as fees differ. Putting a credit balence onto yourcredit card before you leave and then using ATMs  is a good way of avoiding the automatic interest charges.

As with any country, it is not a good idea to rely solely on taking your bank card as, if this gets lost or stolen, you could be stuck without funds far from home. Travel insurance tends to insure you only for £200-worth of lost currency so it is safer to take the rest in travelers cheques, as these are insured (certainly American Express ones) and will be replaced (usually) in 24 hours of reporting the loss. However, except in western style hotels and banks in larger cities travellers cheques can be difficult or impossible to change. This means a balance of cash and debit/credit card. UK pounds and USA dollars are very easily exchanged almost anywhere in India.

New Rupee Symbol The new symbol for the Rupee


  • ATMs

ATMs are found in most towns and are recommended for cash withdrawals. The average daily limit for withdrawal of money from an ATM is Rs 10,000 (about 130 pounds sterling as at March 2012). You can go to another bank to withdraw money up to your daily limited. Some banks charge a hefty fee and/or load the exchange rate to their benefit. It is far more convenient and safer than cash and cheaper than travelers' cheques. Do note that unlike some countries where you leave your card in when using an ATM. In India when using as ATM insert your card and then take it out (in most cases) You will be then asked to enter your pin and carry on with your transaction. Although note that in some older ATMs you will have to insert your card and keep it in until the end of the transaction. 

  • Western Union and Travelers Cheques

Another option is Western Union. You can receive money this way via any Western Union office.

Travelers cheques are cashed at almost all money exchange counters, but avoid hotels and airports as they do not give the best rates.

  • Credit and debit cards

Visa, MasterCard and American Express are usually accepted in tourist hotels and many other shops. Debit cards are also widely accepted. 


  • Multi-Currency Bank Account

A multi-currency account is a new type of bank account that allows you to convert currency online before your trip and then when you are traveling you use a global debit card to make purchases using rupees in your online bank account, or you can withdraw rupees from any ATM that accepts Visa or MasterCard.  A multi-currency account seperates the currency exchange from the act of spending, which is different than credit cards or regular debit cards.  This gives you more control over the exchange rate as you can wait until rates are more favourable and then exchange rather than at the time of purchase or need when you have no choice and pay an outrageous fee and get shorted on the rate. 

Institutions that Offer Multi-Currency Accounts:

  • Citi - Residents of UK
  • Zenbanx - Residents of USA and Canada.  
  • HSBC - Resdients of Australia