India is very much still a cash economy, and in the smaller towns and cities, you’ll find that many shops do not accept card payments. Naturally, this means that you’ll always need a certain amount of cash on you to cover payments from food and drink, or to your cab driver. Hotels and larger establishments usually have card paying facilities, but you’ll need cash in your pocket if you’re exploring the area around you as a tourist, shopping in a market, stopping for a fresh coconut water by the side of the road and so on.
What is the currency in India?
India’s official currency is the Indian Rupee, or INR, and it’s subdivided into 100 paise. The Reserve Bank of India controls the issuing of the currency throughout the country.
A couple of years back, in November of 2016, India’s government made the announcement that they were demonetising 500 INR and 1000 INR banknotes, and on the same day as the announcement was made, the notes became invalid. As you can imagine, this caused innumerable issues for residents and foreigners alike, and there was a long wait before a newly designed series of 500 INR and a wholly new denomination of 200 INR banknotes came into circulation later that year.
Can you take Indian currency into India?
There are several restrictions in place with regards to bringing Indian rupees into India, in fact visitors, including tourists, are not allowed by law to bring more than 25,000 INR per person without any need of declaration. However, bringing cash or travellers cheques in any currency into India is permitted, and if you have your bank card with you, you can simply draw out some cash from an ATM when you arrive – an option that may prove cheaper than exchanging your currency at the airport.
Are there any limits on foreign currency being brought into India?
If you’re travelling to India from abroad, then there is no limit on the amount of foreign currency that you can bring in with you, however, if the total amount in currency notes, banknotes or traveller’s cheques exceeds $10,000 or its equivalent, then it must be declared to the customs authorities at the airport and noted on the Currency Declaration Form that you’ll be given when you land.
To get the most out of your trip to India, be sure to have adequate funds in the case of an emergency (as with travel to any foreign country) and access to cash should you need it, and you probably will!