On arrival at the airport in India, foreigners may exchange currency at the currency exchange booths located inside the airport. These booths are usually available before you leave the customs area. If you walk out of the airport you may not be allowed back in to exchange foreign currency.
Some points to remember when exchanging currency in India.
Always exchange foreign currency at authorized dealers such as American express or Thomas cook outlets. Most banks also are authorized to deal in foreign exchange.
Insist on a currency exchange receipt. This proves the source of your funds in India.
Currency exchange receipts clearly show the amount of foreign currency exchanged for Indian currency and the rate of exchange you were given.
Please be aware that fake Indian currency notes
like Rupee 500 notes are said to be circulating in India. This is
another reason it makes sense to get your currency from banks. Some
stores are reluctant
to accept Rupees 500 notes because of various news reports of fake
currency. This year I found that there were news reports of even the
1000 Rupee note being suspected as fakes were floating around.
Do not fall victim to people trying to entice you by saying they will give you a better exchange rate than what the banks may offer you.
If you save your currency exchange receipt you will be able to reconvert your left over Indian currency back to foreign currency at the airport where you fly out from.
When buying rail tickets etc that are available on a priority basis for tourists only. If you have proof of currency exchange receipt you will be allowed to pay for the tickets in Indian rupees. Other wise you will have to pay in foreign currency only.
Do not purchase foreign currency form local residents. Buying foreign currency from unauthorized places is also illegal. Fake foreign currency is not uncommon in tourist areas.
Many banks and money exchange dealers offer a slight premium for traveler’s cheques than they do for cash.
When paying by an international credit card save your invoices. I prefer to write Indian Rupees also where the amount is filled on the invoice before signing it.
Do not buy anything online when using a computer in a cyber café.
Use only a secure computer when logging on to do your banking.
Complete details on India's Foreign Currency rules and regulations are provided in a question answer format at nriinformation.com.
HIGHER RATES OF EXCHANGE FROM PRIVATE DEALERS (Update)
Currency value for the United States dollar has fallen over the past few months. During my visit to India in Jan 2008, I found that exchange rates offered by banks were much lower than what most private money exchangers were offering.
For instance where the bank was offering only Rupees 38 for a US$, private exchangers located all over Cannaught Place in Delhi (I visited three of them) were offering Rupees 39.25 per US$. They even provide a receipt.
The only problem here is that in case you have money left over to reconvert back to US$, then you have to go back to these people with your receipt.
AMERICAN EXPRESS TRAVELER CHEQUES: Strangely enough the Amex bank located in Cannaught Place refused to cash American Express travelers cheques. I had purchased these American Express Traveler Cheques in Seattle. When I inquired why they would not cash them as they were issued by their own company, I was told that Amex bank in India will only cash travelers cheques if you already have an account at their bank. So how and why would tourists visiting India from abroad have local bank accounts in India?
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