Travel Card for USA?

Raghuram Sukumar Uncategorized 13 Comments

Which is the best travel card to use in USA – SBI / HDFC / ICICI or any other?

A travel card is an ATM card issued by a bank in India which can then be used to withdraw money in the USA, and to be honest, you really don’t need one.

A travel card is recommended for those on short-term business trips to the USA. For students, it is best to pursue other options:

  • Bring cash to have on hand for the first few days of expenses.
  • Open a bank account in the US (You will get an ATM debit card immediately when you open the account)
  • Deposit a DD or bank check into your account (Remember: DD will take 10 days to be credited to the account, so you will need to use your on hand cash).

Refer to How to Transfer Money from India to USA for more details.



  1. Hi all,
    I want to know which one will be better option whether travelers cheque or Forex card for cash withdrawal. Could anybody tell me what documents bank people in USA ask for using a travelers cheque. I personally think Forex card can be a better option if nearby ATM vending machine is there. What do you suggest?
    Can we use International debit cards (VISA/MasterCard) issued by banks in India?

    1. For every Cash Withdrawl from a Forex card banks charge from $1.5 to $2. So it may not be possible to use it frequently. But TC are easy for swiping as there is no charge on it.

      I am not sure about International debit cards … but the normal debit cards issued by Indian banks attract a particular transaction fee (arnd Rs 200, i think not sure) + 3% of the transaction amount.

    2. To HSB as your article says: You really dont need one. I would disagree with the statement.
      as its more safer than carrying liquid cash or travellers cheque.
      Recently i had loaded 1000$ to ICICI travel card taking Rs.55.15=1$
      in which i had got a scheme of no extra commission (usually charged Rs.150/ Transaction) + conversion charges i paid is Just Rs.67 for 1000$ USD..its really cheaper than international debit cards.

      1. I never recommended debit card during travel. What you had suggested is good idea too. But, for those who are depended on loan, bank will not give cash to your parents right? In such case, they will bring DD or TC.

        1. When it comes to loan , i agree banks will not provide cash they will issue DD or TC. ! or some like My univ accepts wire transfer from PEER TRANSFER now a days most of the univ are getting tied up with this. While travelling i would suggest keep some 100-200$ cash for immediate payments if the vendor doesn’t have a swiping machine or atm are unavailable. Or when it comes to stay there for 2 year. i would suggest go for ICICI Travels Card cost Rs.200/- ( 2yr valid + 1 extra card if you lose, Not to worry much about the conversion charges,) The best part can be used as ATM as sponsors re load back in India. No hassle No Tension. GO for it.

  2. I used SBI VishwaYatra (travel)card which was quite useful in my early days.
    Before i left India I deposited around ($3000 dollars) Rs.1,50,000 in the bank and they converted to its equivalent.
    The only thing is it charges u $2 it u want to know how much balance you have in the card.They told me to check my balance by logging to the website and not to check in any ATM as it would subtract by $2.

    You can add as much you want until it reaches Rs.10,00,000(equivalent in $$$$)

    1. How are you handling your finances now? Are you still using the travel card? When did you come to USA?

      1. I did use the card for the first 3 months.Then I got an checking account from Bank of America advised from HSB blogs and I save my funding in that account.I use the SBI card for my personal expenses.I came to US for Spring 2012 for Phd in Electrical & Computer engg in University of New Mexico. You are Raghu right?

          1. Yeah now I have started using all my expenses only from BOA as my SBI cash is done.For the past 2 months it is simply BOA!!!

  3. It is good option to get travel card(icici)

    But, somebody told me each transaction costs3.5$ if we withdraw money from
    Is that true?
    How about transaction cost if you use it swiping machine?

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