Best International Debit Cards for Students

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Handling money in a foreign country can be quite a strenuous task. Although most people prefer to make use of international credit cards to settle their expenses and increase their credit score. There are various alternatives such as forex cards and debit cards. International Debit cards are extremely useful, they allow cashless transactions, help you control your purse strings, and provide exciting rewards and offers on transactions. In this blog, we will explore the best international debit cards that you should use while studying abroad!. 

Must Read: Best Apps to Manage Your Finances in a Foreign Country

Factors to Consider Before Applying

Not all international debit cards provide the same facilities and features. Features and rewards tend to vary based on the bank and the type of card issued. Hence, here are a few factors that you need to take into consideration before applying for an international debit card are :

  • Always check the coverage of your international debit card, especially before you travel for business or for vacation. Ensure that the international debit card that you’ve acquired can be used for withdrawals and transactions in the country that you’re travelling to, otherwise you may be charged an outrageous fee for every withdrawal or transaction. 
  • Be aware of the conversion fee. Since your card will be backed by your home currency, the conversion fee will kick in when you make a withdrawal or a transaction. Hence, ensure that you avail the best conversion rates with your respective international debit card. 
  • Also, you should be aware of the every-day withdrawal and spending limit. Since the withdrawal and spending will be given as per your home currency, make sure to calculate the limits as per the foreign currency. 
  • Also you must know the joining fee and annual fee before availing the international debit card. While some banks offer the debit card for no fees, other banks may provide the card at an expensive annual fee. 
  • Also, you should be familiar with insurance, personal accident cover and air travel accident cover facilities that come along with the international debit card.

Also Read: Difference Between Debit Card and Credit Card

How to Apply?

YouTube: TechnoFino

Many major banks and financial institutions provide the facility of using your debit card for international travel. Depending on the bank of your choice, you can either activate international facilities on your existing debit card or apply for a new specialized international debit card. Your bank can easily link your international debit card with your existing bank account which will enable you to carry out seamless transactions and withdrawals wherever you’re traveling. 

However, there are a few general steps that are involved if you want to activate international facilities on your debit card:

  • First, furnish your bank with necessary details such as foreign currency, the time period and daily usage limit. This will enable the bank to check for sufficient balance before activating the card.
  • Then, Logon to the netbanking page and enter your credentials.
  • Click the cards tab and go to the Debit Cards Menu, and select the request option.  
  • Then, select the ‘Set International/Domestic usage’ option.
  • Finally, select the ‘Card to be enabled for International and Domestic Use’ option. 

Please note that the procedure may not be the same for all banks and you must consult with your respective bank before applying. 

Must Read: Passive Income Ideas for Students

Best Debit Cards for International Students

You can find below the list of the best cards for traveling abroad :

  • SBI International Debit Card
  • Axis Bank International Debit Card
  • HDFC International Debit Card
  • ICICI International Debit Card

Explore: Best Health Insurance Plans for Students

SBI International Debit Cards

Source: Fintown

The State Bank of India provides two kinds of world cards which are, State Bank Silver International Debit Card and State Bank Platinum International Debit Card.

State Bank Silver International Debit Card

The State Bank Silver International Debit Card is a basic world card. Its features include :

  • The card can be used for shopping purposes at over 5 Lakh merchant outlets within India and at 30 million outlets abroad. Furthermore, the card can be used for withdrawal purposes from State Bank Group ATMs or other ATMs in India and worldwide ATMs with MasterCard/Maestro/Visa logo. 
  • SMS facilities is also available which keeps you informed about your transactions and withdrawals. 
  • There is also a 24/7 helpline available in case of any issue or problems. 

Rewards :

  • You will earn 1 FreedomRewardz point for every Rs.200 spent
  • You will earn 50 Bonus FreedomRewardz points for your first and second transactions, provided they are completed within 30 days of availing of the card. 
  • You will earn 100 Bonus FreedomRewardz Points for the third transaction, provided the transaction is made within 30 days of availing of the card. 
  • Also, your reward points will be tripled when you use the card for a minimum of three purchase transactions. 

Usage Limits and Charges: 

  • The daily domestic cash withdrawal limit is Rs. 40,000 and the daily limit for international cash withdrawal varies from country to country but is subject to a maximum limit of $1000 USD or equivalent. 
  • The daily domestic purchase limit is Rs.75,000 and the daily limit for international purchase varies from country to country but is subject to a maximum limit of $1,500 USD or equivalent.
  • While there are no charges while acquiring the card, there is an annual maintenance charge of Rs.150 plus GST which is levied from the second year. 

State Bank Platinum International Debit Card

The State Bank Platinum International Debit Card is a premium debit card that offers a higher transaction limit and insurance cover. 

Features of this card include:

  • The card can be used for shopping in more than 5 lakh merchant outlets within India and around 30 million outlets abroad. 
  • The card also provides a higher transaction limit as compared to its other variants such as State Bank Global International Debit Card and State Bank Silver International Debit Card. 
  • It also offers complimentary accidental insurance upto Rs.5 Lakhs. You also get purchase protection cover against theft and burglary upto Rs. 50,000. However, it is only valid if the loss is reported within 90 days of the incident. 

Rewards :

  • Cashless Shopping will earn you FreedomRewardz Points. You earn 1 point for a transaction of Rs.200. 
  • You earn fifty State Bank Rewardz bonus points on your first and second purchase transactions, provided that these transactions are completed within 30 days of availing the card.
  • A minimum of three purchases on this card results in the rewards point being tripled. These points can be redeemed for exciting gifts and vouchers. 

Usage Limit and Charges :

  • The daily domestic cash withdrawal limit is Rs.1 Lakh and the limit for international cash withdrawal varies from country to country but is subject to a maximum limit of  $2,000 USD.
  • The daily domestic purchase limit is Rs.2 Lakh and the limit for international purchase varies from country to country but is subject to a maximum limit of $4,000 USD.

Also Read: Unique Ways to Fund Your Higher Education Abroad

Axis Bank International Debit Card

international debit cards
Source: CardExpert

Axis bank offers the Axis Bank Burgundy Debit Card wherein you reap the benefits of higher withdrawals and purchase limits. 

Features include:

  • The card offers free ATM withdrawals from any bank’s ATM across the world. 
  • It offers the advantage of a higher transaction limit.
  • It also offers a contactless feature and a safer shopping experience. 
  • You also enjoy access to free movie tickets and exclusive airport lounges. 
  • It also offers personal accident insurance cover up to Rs.15 lakhs and air accident cover up to Rs. 1 crore.

Rewards :

  • Through the Axis Bank Burgundy Debit Card, you get accelerated rewards through the EDGE Reward Program. 
  • For every transaction of Rs.200, you get 2-6 Points. 
  • For international purchases, you get 10 points. 
  • Through the EDGE Reward Program, you can redeem the points to avail of instant E-vouchers across many categories such as electronics, books, utilities and many more. 

Usage Limit and Charges :

  • You can enjoy a cash withdrawal up to Rs. 3 lakhs and purchase limit of Rs.6 lakhs.
  • Although there are no annual fees for this international debit card, there is a cross-currency markup of 3.5 % which will be levied on all international cash withdrawals and purchase transactions.

Also Read: What is Financial Goal Setting?

Yes Bank International Debit Card

international debit cards
Source: Yes Bank

Yes Bank offers the Yes First World Debit Card which allows you to enjoy premium benefits and rewards. 

Features of Yes First World Debit Card include:

  • This card offers benefits such as complimentary access to airport lounges, discount on movie tickets, passes on golf courses etc. 
  • It also offers YES reward points on domestic purchases and accelerated rewards points on international purchases. 
  • Also, there are free and unlimited ATM withdrawals at all Mastercard accepting ATMs in India and globally.
  • You also get to enjoy a preferential Cross Currency Markup of only 1.99% on all international transactions.
  • Additionally, the card also covers insurance for personal accidents and fraudulent transactions. 

Rewards :

  • You get complimentary reward points while transacting with this card. 
  • Green fee waiver for accessing selected premium golf courses in India.
  • Special offers on Fine Dining, Shopping, Travel, Entertainment and more.

Usage Limit and Charges

  • The daily Domestic and International Cash withdrawal limit is Rs.1 Lakh
  • The daily Domestic Purchase limit is up to Rs.5 Lakh and for international purchases, the limit is up to Rs. 1 Lakh.
  • The International Debit Card comes with an annual fee of Rs.2499 per annum. 

Must Read: Best Way to Use Credit Cards for International Students

ICICI Bank International Debit Card

Source: Card Survey

The ICICI Bank Sapphiro International Debit Card is designed to benefit and provide the best value to you with the help of its numerous rewards programs. 

Here are the features:

  • Buy 1 Get 1 free on movie tickets purchased at Carnival Cinemas multiplexes, BookMyShow or INOX Movie multiplexes. 
  • Save a minimum of 15 % on well-known restaurants in India. 
  • Avail of complimentary insurance on purchase protection, personal accident and air accident.
  • Kaya gift voucher worth Rs. 1,000. 
  • Rs. 500 Central vouchers with a minimum spend of Rs. 2,500. 
  • Zero surcharges on fuel purchases.

Rewards :

  • You can earn 4 ICICI Bank Reward Points on domestic transactions and 8 ICICI Bank Reward Points on international transactions on every transaction of Rs.200 using your ICICI Bank Sapphiro Debit Card. 
  • The rewards points can be redeemed for exciting gifts and vouchers. 

Usage Limit and Charges

  • Daily domestic and international cash withdrawal is up to Rs. 2,50,000.
  • The daily domestic purchase limit is up to Rs. 3,50,000 and for international purchases, it is up to Rs.3 Lakh.
  • The bank charges a joining fee of Rs.1999 plus 18% GST only for the first year. The annual fee will be charged from the second year, Rs.1499 plus 18% GST. 

Also Read: Best International Money Transfer Apps in 2021

This was all about the best international debit cards for your study abroad travel. We hope that you found this blog insightful and informative. For more interesting and educational content like this, you can always check out our other blogs at Leverage Edu. 

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