THIS is why you may not have to repay your student debt
USD INR ₹ 85.00
GBP INR ₹ 105.33
CAD INR ₹ 61.38

Forgiving Student Debt: Implications For International Students

Updated on November 18, 2021 10:18 am
Student Loan Forgiveness

The federal program had previously failed to deliver on its promise of easing student loans to thousands of public workers, including teachers, police, and firefighters.

In October, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced overwhelming changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in a bid to make amends.

Thousands of borrowers applied for forgiveness, but nearly all the applications were turned down. What happened?

Let's understand the difference between forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge in student loans.

Loan forgiveness, cancellation, or repayment means that you no longer need to pay back part or all of the loan.

The terms forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge are similar but are used differently. When you no longer have to pay off a loan because of work, this is commonly referred to as forgiveness or cancellation.

When you no longer need to repay the loan because of a total and permanent disability or other circumstances, such as the closure of the school you applied to, which is commonly referred to as discharge.

International Student Loans In The USA

International student loans are available to non-US citizens studying at an institution in the United States. Since international students do not have a credit history in the US, most lenders mandate an American co-signer or a guarantor - someone who can legally sign a loan document or paperwork for your loan application.

The co-signer must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident with a strong credit history and income and should have lived in the United States for at least the preceding two years. The co-signer is jointly responsible for repaying the loan if the borrower is unable to repay it in time.

Alternatively, international students can also look for education loan options in their home country.

How Much Can International Students Borrow?

The maximum loan amount that international students can apply for is the full tuition (referred to as Total Cost of Attendance), including textbooks, health insurance, and other necessary education-related expenses. The specific amount depends on the school you attend and your lender.

What Is Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a Federal program launched in 2007 to nudge more graduates into public service. It promised to erase the remainder of its federal student loans as long as the first ten years of payments were made.

However, it has proved anything but forgiving. For years, the program has suffered from complex eligibility requirements, low approval rates, and poor oversight by the DOE.

Until the Biden administration rolled in the changes, only 16,000 borrowers had their debt forgiven via the program. About 1.3 million people are still trying to have their debts discharged.

The Current Scenario

  • The DOE announced that borrowers with complete and permanent disabilities would automatically receive Federal student loan statements in late August. This would mean nearly $5.8 billion in automatic student loan forgiveness.
  • Over 47,000 service members deployed to areas that qualify as hostile will have the interest on some federal loans retrospectively waived - for both current and former active-duty service members.
  • In August, the DOE announced extending student loan maturity and interest suspension until January 31, 2022. This administrative tolerance began in March 2020, meaning federal borrowers will receive nearly two years of grace until they resume repayment in February.

The Challenges

  1. Stringent Rules And Requirements Obstruct Relief

The Public Loan Forgiveness program witnesses failure because of multiple requirements that have to be met for relief. Borrowers seeking forgiveness must work in a job that the government considers public service and make 120 payments through an appropriate income-based repayment plan.

Only borrowers who take loans from the federal government, known as direct loans, qualify for debt relief assistance.

Tens of thousands of people presumed themselves as qualifying but probably missed one of those multiple criteria. They either paid the wrong type of loan, didn't sign up for an income-based repayment plan before paying, or worked for a job they later found out were ineligible.

2. Only Certain Loans Qualify For Forgiveness

One of the most troublesome aspects of canceling public service loans is that many borrowers do not realize they have the wrong type of loan and are not eligible for debt relief.

When the PSLF Program was first introduced, many loans offered by the Federal government were through Family Federal Education Loans or loans made through private agencies insured by the Federal government.

The government stopped rolling out these loans in 2010 and now relies on direct loans that can be forgiven. The Department of Education reported that approximately 60% of borrowers with approved employers have FFEL loans.


The Road Ahead

  1. Who Is Eligible For Student Loan Forgiveness?

Previously, the government limited eligibility for PSLF programs to only certain types of Federal student loans and specific repayment plans.

However, by October 2022, borrowers who have paid for ten years or more in an eligible occupation such as a Federal, state, or local government, non-profit, or US military positions are now eligible, irrespective of the type of loan or repayment plan.

Past loan repayments that were ineligible are now considered, thereby bringing some borrowers closer to forgiveness. This is expected to be especially helpful for borrowers who take out Federal Family Education Loans.

2. How Do I Know If My Past Or Current Employer Qualifies For PSLF?

To evaluate whether you work for a qualifying employer, you can use the Federal Student Aid website tools.

It provides information on the employers that meet the requirements for the PSLF program.

3. How Do I Check Which Loan I Have?

According to Betsy Mayotte, president of the Institute of Student Loan Advisors, if you're not sure about the type of loan you have, you can ask your loan service provider for information or check the federal government website for further assistance. You can do this by logging into your account on Federal Student Aid, navigating to the My Aid page, and scrolling to the Loan Breakdown section.

4. If I Qualify For Relief, What Next?

The changes to the loan forgiveness program will be executed in two parts. The agency will first relax some of the rules that prevent eligible borrowers from repaying their loans through a limited waiver.

The Public Service Loan Waiver is available to borrowers with direct loans, Federal Family Education Loans, and Perkins Loans. Parent PLUS loans do not qualify for a limited waiver.

The DOE said it would automatically credit borrowers who have direct loans and have proved employment an eligible field. Others who haven't enrolled are ineligible will have to apply for forgiveness, which may require them to consolidate their loans. Borrowers must apply by October 2022, according to the Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education.

The DOE also plans to revisit forgiveness applications that were previously rejected and provide automatic relief loans to federal employees. Other changes will occur more slowly through the guidelines created by "rule-making," a long and complex bureaucratic exchange between the government and other stakeholders.

5. How Can You Receive Credit For Past Payments Under The New Rules?

You can get credit for payments made after October 1, 2007. This was when the Government Service Loan Forgiveness Program began. You must apply while you are eligible for additional qualifying benefits.

6. Who Should Consolidate Their Loans?

If you have any other type of loans such as Federal Family Education Loan Program loans, Federal Perkins Loans, or miscellaneous Federal student loans that aren't direct loans, it is imminent to consolidate them into a direct loan by October 31, 2022, under the Federal Student Aid Program. 

This is important to borrowers because they will not get any credit for payments made if the consolidation exceeds this date. After completing the consolidation process, you can submit the PSLF to the loan servicing agent.

Implications For International Students Seeking Loans

Many non-US citizens qualify for federal student aid. Check for your eligibility on the page for non-U.S. citizens of Federal Student Aid, the U.S. Department of Education.

Note that you are NOT an eligible non-citizen if:

  1. You have only a "Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence" (I-171 or I-464)
  2. You are in the U.S. on an F-1 or F-2 non-immigrant student visa, or a J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant Exchange Visitor Visa
  3. You hold a G series visa

However, there may be some scholarships and other financial aid available. Check with your country's U.S. embassy or consulate or with the appropriate government office in India to learn about their offerings. You can even try the U.S. Department of Labor's free online scholarship search. Additionally, the school you plan to attend may offer aid for students like you.

Final Word

Redesigning the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is President Joe Biden's latest effort to address the nation's rising $1.7 trillion in student loan debt and ease the burden of struggling borrowers.

Other student loan debts canceled under the Biden administration include:

  • $1 billion for additional borrowers who accuse schools of defrauding them under a principle known as "borrower defense."
  • $1.1 billion for borrowers who attended ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit school that is now defunct
  • $1.74 billion for public service employees, including teachers, first responders, nurses, and others.
  • $5.8 billion for borrowers with "total and permanent disability."
  • $55.6 million for borrowers who were misled by Westwood College, Marinello Schools of Beauty, and the Court Reporting Institute.

The latest overhaul also allows borrowers to correct mistakes and calculate the payments they were trying to make to the program. This will reduce the amount of time over 550,000 borrowers who had already consolidated their loans had to pay to qualify for forgiveness.

The change will immediately cancel 22,000 delinquent loans worth $1.7 billion. The government estimates that an additional 27,000 borrowers could get about $2.8 billion in debt relief if they could prove employment in eligible jobs.

Rate article:
Money Transfer FAQ's
Related Articles
Last Minute Diwali 2023
Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Diwali 2023

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is a time of joy, celebration, and the exchange of gifts. As Diwali 2023 approaches, finding the perfect gift for your loved ones can be a delightful challenge. Whether you're running short on time or looking for thoughtful last-minute gift ideas for your sister for Bhai Dooj, we've got you covered. In this article, we'll explore the essence of Diwali, its significance, key dates, and suggest creative ways to send gifts using remittance services.What is Diwali? Diwali is a prominent Hindu festival celebrated with enthusiasm across India and among the global Indian diaspora. It symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and good over evil, with a rich cultural and spiritual heritage. A time full of vibrant rangoli, crackling firecrackers that light up the night, and aromatic food being passed around, Diwali spans five days of festivities, each with its own rituals and significance.Families illuminate their homes with diyas (oil lamps) and candles, create beautiful rangoli designs, and indulge in sweets and savories.Why is Diwali Celebrated?Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. It's a time to seek blessings for prosperity and happiness. The exchange of gifts during Diwali is a way to show love and appreciation for one another, enhancing the festive spirit.Key Dates for Diwali 2023:Dhanteras: November 10, 2023The first day of Diwali, dedicated to the worship of Lord Dhanvantari (the physician of the gods) and goddess Lakshmi. People buy gold, silver, and utensils on this day.Naraka Chaturdashi (Choti Diwali): November 11, 2023On this day, Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura, signifying the victory of good over evil. It's a day of cleansing and lighting lamps.Diwali (Main Day): November 12, 2023The most important day when families come together to perform Lakshmi Puja (worship) and light oil lamps or diyas to illuminate their homes.Govardhan Puja: November 13, 2023A day to worship Lord Krishna, who lifted the Govardhan Hill to protect the villagers from torrential rain.Bhai Dooj: November 14, 2023A day to celebrate the beautiful bond between brothers and sisters, with sisters applying tilak on their brothers' foreheads.Last-Minute Diwali Gift Ideas1. Digital Gift CardsConsider sending digital gift cards from popular online retailers. These cards allow your loved ones to choose their perfect gift, ensuring they get something they truly desire. Many remittance services offer the option to send digital gift cards along with money transfers, making it a convenient choice for last-minute gifts.2. Money TransfersSending money home for Diwali is a practical and thoughtful gift. Online remittance services like Wise, Instarem, Abound, Xe Money Transfer, Wo Transfer, etc. offer quick and secure transfers, enabling your family to make Diwali purchases, decorate their homes, and prepare delicious meals. It's a versatile gift that allows your loved ones the freedom to use the funds as they see fit.To find which money transfer service is the best one for you, check out our catalog of reviews and guides, all designed to help you see the complete ins and outs of the many remittance services on the market to make the best decision for your needs. We invite you to compare remittance providers using CompareRemit’s comparison tool today to find the best rates, lowest fees, and fastest turnaround times for your specific destination and transfer amount.3. Subscription ServicesGift subscriptions to streaming platforms, magazines, or online courses. These subscriptions offer entertainment and knowledge, making them valuable and enjoyable gifts for your loved ones.4. Personalized Diwali HampersPut together a personalized Diwali hamper with traditional sweets, homemade treats, and small decorative items. Include a heartfelt Diwali card to add a personal touch. Sending a picture of the hamper along with a digital money transfer can be a delightful surprise for your family.5. Online Shopping VouchersOnline shopping vouchers from popular e-commerce platforms allow your loved ones to pick their favorite items. These vouchers can often be emailed directly, making them an excellent last-minute gift option.In the spirit of Diwali, the joy of giving is unparalleled. Embrace the true essence of the festival by spreading happiness, love, and prosperity. Even in the last minutes leading up to Diwali, these thoughtful and practical gift ideas ensure your loved ones feel cherished and valued. Utilize reliable remittance services to make these gestures of love possible, bridging the distance and connecting hearts across the globe.For all of your money transfer needs, visit our homepage for more information on how to find the best option for you and your family this Diwali. Here you will be able to compare exchange rates between the top remittance companies, find the best rates, learn how to get started, receive exclusive offers, and more. This Diwali, let your gifts illuminate the lives of your dear ones, just like the radiant glow of diyas brightens the darkest of nights. Happy Diwali!

Best Ways to Transfer Money to India 2023
Best Ways to Transfer Money to India 2023

Transferring money to India has never been easier than it is now, with a multitude of options that are fast, convenient, secure, and cost-effective. However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best option that fits your international money transfer needs.In this comprehensive guide, we will take a deep dive into the various ways to send money internationally including India, and explore their pros and cons. We'll also discuss the top reasons for sending money to India, including supporting family members, paying for education or medical expenses, and investing in businesses. Additionally, we'll cover essential considerations to keep in mind when selecting a service, such as transfer fees, exchange rates, and transfer speed.  Whether you're sending money internationally to family, paying for education, or investing in the country's growing economy, you'll have a better understanding of the best ways to send money to your loved ones in India in 2023 and be equipped to make an informed decision that suits your financial needs.Top Reasons Why People Transfer Money to IndiaSending money abroad has become increasingly common in today's interconnected world. Whether it's to support loved ones, invest in a foreign economy, or fund travel or education, people have numerous reasons to send money internationally. For those sending money to India, here are some of the top reasons why people transfer money to India:Supporting Family Members: For many people who live and work abroad, sending money back home is a way of supporting their families. This could include paying for their children's education, helping with medical expenses, or providing financial assistance to start a business.Investing in India: India's economy is one of the fastest-growing in the world, and many investors are keen to capitalize on this growth. Whether it's through stocks, real estate, or businesses, there are many opportunities for investment in India.Traveling to India: India is a popular destination for tourists from around the world, and travelers often need to send money internationally to pay for expenses like hotels, transportation, and food.Read our guide to currency exchange for tourists.Studying in India: India is home to many world-renowned universities, and students from all over the world come to study in the country. These students often need to send money internationally to pay for tuition fees, accommodations, and living expenses.Doing Business in India: India is a hub for international trade and commerce, and many businesses have operations in the country. If you are doing business in India, you may need to send money internationally to pay for expenses such as salaries, rent, and supplies.Whatever the reason for sending money to India, it's important to choose a reliable and trustworthy provider. With so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. That's why it's important to do your research and compare different providers to find the one that best meets your needs.Methods for Transferring Money to IndiaBank TransfersBank transfers are one of the most common ways to send money. This method is safe, secure, and fast. Most banks offer online banking services including sending money internationally. You can send money to any bank in India. However, the transfer costs and exchange rates can be high, and the processing time can take several days.Read more on online money transfer services vs bank transfers here.Remittance CompaniesRemittance companies are specialized companies that send money from one country to another. These companies offer a competitive exchange rate and low fees compared to banks. Some of the popular remittance companies in India are Wise, Remitly, and Xe among many others. The transfer time for these companies is fast, and the money can be deposited directly into the bank account of the recipient.Digital WalletsDigital wallets like Paytm, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay are becoming increasingly popular for money transfers. They are fast, secure, and convenient, and they offer a competitive exchange rate. These wallets can be used to pay for goods and services online and can also be used to send money to bank accounts. However, there may be limits on the amount that can be transferred, and fees may apply.CryptocurrencyCryptocurrency is a digital currency that can be used for money transfers. It is decentralized, which means that it is not controlled by any government or financial institution. Cryptocurrency transfers are fast and secure, and the fees are generally low. However, the value of cryptocurrencies can be volatile, and they may not be widely accepted in India.Key Factors to Keep in Mind When Transferring Money to IndiaWhen it comes to transferring money to India, there are several key factors that you should keep in mind to ensure that your transaction is smooth, secure, and cost-effective. Here are some of the most important factors to consider:Transfer Fees - The cost of transferring money can vary greatly depending on the service you choose. Comparing different money transfer providers' fees is crucial to finding the one that offers the lowest charges.Exchange Rates - The exchange rate determines how many Indian rupees you will get for your money. Different providers may offer different rates, so it's essential to shop around for the best deal.Transfer Speed - If you need to send money quickly, look for a service that offers fast transfers. Some providers offer same-day or next-day transfers, while others may take longer. Keep in mind that a faster transfer speed will be more expensive. Security - Your personal and financial information must be kept secure during the transfer. Look for a service with strong security measures in place to protect your information.Payment Methods - Not all providers accept the same payment methods. Check to see if the service you're considering accepts the payment method you prefer, whether it's a bank transfer, credit card, or other options.Delivery Methods - Consider how you want the recipient to receive the money. Different services offer various delivery methods, including direct deposit, digital wallets, cash pickup, and home delivery. Choose the most convenient option for your recipient.Customer Support - Reliable customer support is essential if you have any issues or questions about your transfer. Look for a provider that offers excellent customer service, whether it's through phone, email, or chat support.By considering these factors when choosing an international money transfer service, you can ensure that your money is transferred to India quickly, securely, and cost-effectively.Best Ways to Send Money to India in 2023To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled a list of the top remittance companies for sending money to India in 2023. RemitlyRemitly is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to remit money to India quickly, securely, and cost-effectively. With a competitive exchange rate, low fees, and flexible payment options, many people choose Remitly for their international money transfers.One of the standout features of Remitly is its fast transfer speeds. With two different transfer options (Economy and Express), you can choose the speed that works best for you. If you need the money delivered quickly, the Express Transfer option can deliver funds within minutes.Another great feature of Remitly is its user-friendly mobile app. The app is available for download on the App Store and Google Play. With the app, you can make transfers on the go and track the status of your transfer in real-time. And if you need more money with Remitly, you can increase your sending limits by providing additional information.Remitly offer multiple payment options including debit/credit cards and bank account transfers, while delivery options include a direct deposit to a bank account, cash pickup, home delivery, and mobile wallet. The transfer limits for sending money to India from the US are $2,999 in 24 hours, $10,000 in 30 days, and $18,000 in 180 days. The transfer costs for sending money to India from the US are based on the transfer amount, with zero fees for transfers of $1,000 and above and a fee of $3.99 for transfers less than $1,000.WiseWise, formerly known as TransferWise, is an online money transfer company headquartered in the UK. For people without borders, Wise is one of the best alternatives to the traditional wire transfer system used by normal banks.Wise provides a real-time exchange rate, low and upfront fees based on the transfer amount, and fast transfer times. Usually, it takes 1 working day to receive a wire transfer, and 1-3 working days to receive money sent via ACH transfer.With multiple payment options, including bank account transfers, debit cards, and credit cards, and delivery options such as sending INR to the recipient's bank account in India, Wise is a versatile platform for transferring money globally. Additionally, the Wise mobile app is one of the most popular international money transfer apps. The platform offers a multi-currency bank account, allowing users to hold and send money in multiple currencies. Wise also provides high transfer limits, with users able to send up to 1 million GBP per transfer to a private individual or up to 1.5 million INR per working day to businesses. Furthermore, Wise offers excellent customer support, with a dedicated team available to answer questions and resolve issues that users may encounter.PassToPassTo is a digital money transfer company based in the UK that specializes in providing quick and secure money transfers abroad.The company's key features include a user-friendly mobile app, a competitive exchange rate, transparent pricing, and low fees, making it a cost-effective option for transferring money. The company's mobile app makes the process of transferring money quick and easy. PassTo also boasts fast transfer times, with most transfers completed within minutes. Multiple payment options such as bank account transfers and debit/credit card payments are available. It offers different ways to receive money, such as bank deposits, mobile wallet credits, airtime top-ups, and cash pickups. PassTo is licensed and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, and it uses advanced security measures to safeguard transactions and personal information. Transfer limits vary depending on the country, with most instances having a maximum of GBP 3,000 per day, GBP 8,000 per month, and GBP 50,000 per yearXeXe Money Transfer is an online currency exchange company based in Canada that provides low-cost international money transfers and a highly competitive exchange rate. The company has a user-friendly website and a mobile app and offers various transfer options, including bank transfers and mobile transfers. Xe offers a range of features that include live exchange rate tracking through the XE Currency Converter, free of charge. Additionally, customers can set alerts for any currency pair to stay informed of rate fluctuations. Transfer fees depend on the destination country and the transfer amount.With Xe, most transfers are completed within 1 to 4 business days. The company offers a variety of payment methods, including bank account transfers, debit cards, and credit cards, and supports international wire transfers and ACH transfers. Customers can transfer up to $500,000 per transaction, making Xe an excellent option for large transfers.Panda RemitPanda Remit is a digital money transfer company based in Hong Kong that specializes in providing fast and secure international money transfers at a competitive exchange rate.It is an excellent option for those seeking fast, secure, and cost-effective international money transfers.Its key features include zero fees for the first transfer, low fees with no hidden fees, and fast transfer times, with most transfers completed within 1 to 2 business days. Panda Remit also provides real-time transfer notifications via SMS, WeChat, or email, ensuring customers are kept informed throughout the process. Payment methods include bank transfers, debit cards, and ATM transfers, with multiple delivery options such as a direct deposit to digital wallets, bank cards, or cash pickup. The company guarantees 100% satisfaction, and its user-friendly PandaRemit mobile app makes it easy for customers to transfer money internationally conveniently.State Bank of India CaliforniaThe State Bank of India California, a subsidiary of India's largest bank, the State Bank of India, provides a range of money transfer services, including international wire transfers, ACH transfers, and online transfers.The bank is known for its fast and cost-effective option of sending USD to INR, offering a competitive exchange rate. Customers can send money online for free within a few hours to any bank in India, making it a convenient option. The bank also provides three different ways to send money: online, via the SBIC mobile app, and in-branch. Online transfers and transfers above $50,000 have zero fees, and the in-branch fee for transfers below $50,000 is $15.The transfer limit varies depending on the method and account type; for example, for bank accounts opened online, the limit is $25,000 per day and $50,000 per month. For bank accounts opened in-branch, the limit is $50,000 per day, and there is no monthly limit, while the mobile transfer limit is $25,000 per day and $50,000 per month. InstaremInstarem is a Singapore-based online remittance service provider that offers fast, affordable, and secure transfers to multiple countries, including India. The company stands out with its real exchange rates (inter-bank rate), low fees, and transparent pricing, making it an attractive option for customers looking to send money abroad. Most transfers are completed almost instantly or within 1 to 2 business days. Instarem supports multiple payment options, including bank account transfers, wire transfers, and debit or credit cards, offering flexibility to its customers. In addition, the company has a referral program that allows customers to earn rewards for referring friends to the service, making it even more attractive. Instarem also offers a loyalty program where customers can earn InstaPoints with each transaction, with bigger transactions earning higher points. Importantly, Instarem does not have a maximum transfer limit, offering a great deal of flexibility to its customers.Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is the best online money transfer to India in 2023?The best way to send money will depend on your individual needs, such as transfer speed, fees, and exchange rate. Some of the popular options in 2023 include Remitly, Wise, PassTo, Xe, Panda Remit, State Bank of India California, and Instarem.Are online money transfer companies safe for transferring money to India?Online money transfer companies are generally safe for transferring money to India. However, it is important to do your research and choose a reputable company that is licensed and regulated.What is the cost of transferring money to India?The cost of transferring money to India will vary depending on the company you use and the amount you are transferring. Some companies charge a flat fee, while others charge a percentage of the transfer amount. It is important to compare the fees and the exchange rate to find the best deal.How long does it take to transfer money to India?Transfer times will depend on the company you use and the transfer method. Some companies offer instant transfers, while others may take several business days. It is important to check the transfer time before making a transfer.Do I need to provide identification for international money transfers to India?Yes, most companies will require you to provide identification before transferring money to India. This is to comply with anti-money laundering regulations and to ensure the safety and security of your transfer.Are money transfer apps safe to use?Most money transfer apps provide strong security measures to safeguard your money. Nevertheless, it is crucial to understand that in the event you mistakenly transfer funds to the wrong recipient, there is a possibility that you may not retrieve your money. Service providers may decline to assist you in retrieving misplaced funds. Make sure that the money transfer app has high user ratings in the app store and that you send money to people you know and trust.ConclusionThe choice of the best money transfer service to India may depend on various factors such as exchange rates, fees, transfer speed, convenience, payment method, and other features that suit your specific needs. It is recommended to do some research and compare the different options available to find the one that best suits your requirements.You can consider reading reviews and ratings, checking the features and benefits offered by each service, and comparing the exchange rate and fees to make an informed decision.To remit money to India online with ease, start on CompareRemit to find the best provider for your needs!

Guide to Exchanging Currency for Overseas Travel
Guide to Exchanging Currency for Overseas Travel

Ready for the adventure of a lifetime? You've booked your tickets, planned your itinerary, and packed your bags. But wait, have you thought about managing your money abroad? The last thing you want is to be caught in a foreign country with no local currency or struggling to find an ATM that accepts your card. Navigating the world of currency exchange can be daunting, but fear not! In this comprehensive guide on how to exchange currency for overseas travel, we'll take you through everything you need to know about exchanging currency for overseas travel. From deciding whether to exchange before you go, to finding the best exchange rates and managing your money once you're abroad, we've got you covered. So sit back, relax, and let's dive into the world of currency exchange!The first step in making sure you don't end up paying more fees than necessary is to understand currency exchange rates. Exchange rates are constantly changing, so it's important to monitor them or simply use CompareRemit, a free exchange rate comparison platform. By doing so, you can exchange your money at the best time and at the best exchange rate every single time. What is an Exchange Rate?Exchange rates can make or break your international travel plans, and understanding them is the key to saving money while you travel.Simply put, an exchange rate is the value of one currency in comparison to another currency. It determines how much money you will receive when you exchange your home currency for the currency of the country you are visiting. For example, at the time of writing, the exchange rate of USD to INR is 81.71, which means 1 USD equals 81.71 INR.Exchange rates are not fixed and are subject to fluctuation based on supply and demand in the foreign currency market. However, some countries may fix or peg their currency to a specific value. For example, the Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US dollar. Understanding exchange rates and how they work can help you make informed decisions about when and where to exchange your money for the best value.How Does Currency Exchange Work?The exchange rate is technically called the mid-market exchange rate between any two currencies. It is the mid-point between the buying and selling prices of the two currencies in question at a given point in time.The rate you see on Google searches or from independent sources like Reuters is the mid-market rate, which is also known as the interbank rate (because banks trade currencies at this rate with one another).The currency exchange rate between two countries is influenced by each country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), interest rate, imports, exports, economic conditions, inflation rates, and even geopolitical situations, among other factors.Since the rates tend to rise and fall as per market conditions, the value fluctuates. So when you are exchanging currency, say, US dollars for another foreign currency, you want to make sure you get the most foreign currency for your US dollars, which means getting the best possible currency exchange rate and limiting the fees you have to pay.Read more on exchange rates.Do You Need to Exchange Currency for International Travel?You will need to exchange currency at some point while on a trip abroad. If you are unaware of the tricks, you can find yourself paying more than necessary.What you want to avoid is - exchanging currencies at poor exchange rates and paying high currency exchange fees. Get familiar with exchange rates. It can be fun and interesting.You can start by finding out the real and fair exchange rate of the currency of the country or countries you are visiting.Because of high currency exchange fees, you should exchange currency before traveling and know where to go to save on the fees once you are abroad.Read the tips below so you can exchange your money at the best rates while saving money on your international trip.Where to Exchange Currency in the USBanks, Credit Union, & OnlineThe cheapest place to exchange currency is at your home bank or credit union. They offer competitive rates and possibly the lowest fees.Most major US banks or financial institutions will have foreign currency ready to sell to you without charging an additional fee above the exchange rate, depending on which country (or countries) you are traveling to. If you exchange less than a certain amount, there can be a small fee.You can order currency in cash at your local bank branch, or you can order currency online or by phone to be delivered to your home or picked up at a branch.Although ordering cash online will probably come with delivery fees and the exchange rate won't be as favorable as it would be at your bank, this is still a better choice than the alternatives you really must avoid.Certain currencies may be available for same-day exchange or the following day, depending on your bank, where you live, and which country's currency you need. With less popular currencies, it can take a few days or longer.Withdraw Local Currency from ATMsOnce in a foreign country, the best way to get foreign cash or the local currency at competitive exchange rates is to use a foreign ATM.Pro tip: Check to see whether your bank has an international ATM or banking affiliates in the country you're visiting if you don't have time to get the foreign currency before leaving or don't want to carry a lot of cash.Big US banks such as Chase, and Bank of America, often have the added benefit of having ATMs overseas. Use an ATM inside the airport as soon as you land in your destination country.Where NOT to Exchange CurrencyAvoid Airport Kiosks for Currency ExchangeAirport kiosks may be tempting and convenient if you didn't have time to get cash at your home bank. But they should be your last resort because they offer poor rates and charge high fees.For example, if you are leaving for the US from India and your bank offers you an exchange rate of 82 INR per US dollar, but the airport kiosks only offer you INR 77,  it costs you more in the form of fewer rupees for your dollars. You would have received an extra 5 USD in cash if you had made the exchange at your home bank.Airport kiosks may also charge higher currency exchange fees, which are sometimes hidden within the poorer exchange rates they offer for converting your dollars to another currency.But, it can be worth it to spend a little bit more for convenience if you have a last-minute trip and require foreign currency in cash at the airport currency exchange counter.To avoid using airport kiosks and other exchange counters, exchange money in advance at a bank or credit union if you have the time.Travelers' Checks and Prepaid Debit CardsTraveler's checks are no longer widely used due to their inefficiency and high transaction costs. Instead, people use more efficient credit cards. When compared to cash, they offer only a little benefit in terms of security.Moreover, prepaid debit cards have transaction fees, foreign transaction costs, and ATM usage fees.Tips For Exchanging Foreign Currency & Managing Money AbroadKnow Your ATM Fees and LimitsIt is best to be aware of the ATM withdrawal fees and daily withdrawal limit before using the machine.If you feel that the daily withdrawal limit is too low, contact your bank to increase it.Withdraw larger amounts all at once to save money from paying withdrawal fees repeatedly. Instead, use a bank that reimburses overseas ATM fees.Moreover, be aware of any charges your bank might impose if you use an out-of-network ATM outside of your country.Keep in mind that the foreign ATM's daily withdrawal limit may be lower than the one set by your home bank.Plan to make sure you have enough cash during your trip.Use a No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Card or Debit CardRemember that using a credit or debit card may be handy, but there may be foreign transaction costs. Thus, it makes sense to bring a credit card and debit card with no international transaction fees.Your card may charge a foreign transaction fee of up to 3% on each purchase you make abroad, depending on your bank and the card you use.Specific cards with no overseas transaction fees are available from major US banks like Bank of America, Capital One, and other major credit card issuers.Read the fine print on your bank's or credit card's website before your travel to check if they charge foreign transaction fees or you can contact your bank and ask if they charge foreign transaction fees with the type of card or account you have.Many credit card companies offer good travel rewards credit cards where you can earn points and miles.Also, credit cards are likely to offer fraud protection on an overseas trip. In a way, it is better than carrying a huge amount of cash. You can replace a lost or stolen credit card, but lost cash can never be replaced.However, don't use a credit card for a cash advance to get foreign currency. You will need to pay a cash advance fee and a high-interest rate that starts accruing immediately.You also need to inform your credit card companies to let them know which country you are traveling to so that they do not flag your transaction as fraud and block your usage.Pay in the Local Currency to Avoid Currency Conversion FeesTo save money on foreign transaction fees, choose to pay in local currency because you will be charged an extra currency conversion fee and likely get a poor exchange rate.Keeping some local currency is also convenient in case you need to take an airport taxi into town, book a local guesthouse, or buy some snacks.Use a Multi-Currency AccountConsider using an international banking app, like Wise, Revolut, or others, to manage your money abroad if you frequently travel abroad.These apps provide multi-currency accounts, allowing you to store different currencies and send money to accounts in several countries. You could avoid the fluctuation in currency exchange rates by doing this.Exchange Foreign Currency for FreeAsk your bank if they exchange foreign currency for free and if there are any conditions you must complete to avoid paying foreign exchange costs.Remember that unless you have a premium account or are exchanging at least $1,000, some banking institutions may charge a fee for currency exchanges.Watch Out for Hidden FeesEnsure that you are not spending more than necessary when you exchange money. Request upfront fees, or seek out a foreign currency source that offers transparent pricing.Don't Put All of Your Money in One PlaceConsider your options for carrying your money if you travel abroad. Take some local currency with you to pay for travel, food, and taxis. or load money onto a travel card for large purchases like hotels and reservations. Also, don't forget to bring your debit or credit card as a backup or in case of emergencies.Also, bring US dollars (or your home currency) with you on your trip in case your credit card or ATM card malfunctions.Have Multiple Credit CardsThere are various levels of credit card acceptance. Visa is the most widely accepted worldwide. While American Express and Mastercard are somewhat accepted. But it is always good to have multiple credit cards so that you have another one available if one gets declined.What Should You Do With Leftover Foreign Currency?Travelers who have returned to India are required to surrender foreign exchange held in the form of currency notes and traveler's cheques within 180 days of their return.However, you are free to keep US currency exchange up to 2,000 USD in the form of foreign currency notes or TCS for future use or credit to their Resident Foreign Current (Domestic) Accounts.On the other way around, if you are back in the US from an overseas trip, you can go to your bank or credit union to transfer any foreign currency to US dollars. Remember that banks may not buy back all types of currencies. If this happens, the best option is to exchange money at a currency converter counter or an airport kiosk, even though the rates are not that favorable.Enjoy Your Travels!If you do a little homework before leaving for your trip by knowing about exchange rates and tips on managing money overseas, you’re likely to save money. To avoid high exchange rates and fees, remember to stick to ATMs when you are abroad, no-transaction-fee credit card purchases, and paying in local currency whenever possible, and refrain from converting money at airport kiosks, and hotels, and paying for purchases in U.S. dollars.To learn more about the currency exchange rates for the country you are visiting, use the CompareRemit online exchange rate comparison tool today!

Download the CompareRemit App
Download the CompareRemit App
Personalize your CompareRemit experience with your preferred corridor and receive target exchange rate notifications, seamless transitions to partner apps, and real-time comparisons of top remittance providers at your fingertips.
Personalize your CompareRemit experience with your preferred corridor and receive target exchange rate notifications, seamless transitions to partner apps, and real-time comparisons of top remittance providers at your fingertips.

Get Listed or Advertise

Download Our Free App

Try our faster, enhanced mobile app for a better experience

CompareRemit App