How to access money in India following the abolishment of 500 & 1000 Rupee notes


“Overnight, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes will be withdrawn from circulation as part of a crackdown on rampant corruption and counterfeit currency.”

Unfortunately, these notes are among some of the only notes you can obtain in Australia prior to your departure to India – so you will now find that there are limited options to exchange your funds before you reach India. You may also find difficulty using an ATM in India, as the country deals with such a large change on such short notice. Don’t worry, our team have come up with an option for you to access money and have a back up source of funds on hand should you be travelling in the next 8 weeks.

1. Take Australian Dollar or US Dollar cash with you

Having Australian Dollar or US Dollar cash on hand means that you can visit a local currency exchange to obtain current and legal Indian Rupee notes. Bear in mind that some local currency exchanges may run low on notes due to the current situation, however residents are only able to swap the old 500/1000 notes to current notes at banks – so this should lessen the impact on the currency exchange kiosks. You may also find that some tour operators or merchants will accept your foreign currency without the need to exchange it, so this also serves as a secondary payment source. 

2. Take a Mastercard Multi-currency Cash Passport Card

We can issue you a Cash Passport travel card on the spot in-store. This card is not linked to your bank account and can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted in India. We suggest having this card as a back-up source of funds as it can also be used via EFTPOS in stores free of charge – and in this case, no cash notes need to change hands. You can also use this card to withdraw funds from an ATM should you come across the opportunity to do so, although you may find long queues or ATM’s out of cash. Either way it is best to have a range of ways to access money so that you aren’t caught with no way to make a purchase. 

Please feel welcome to contact us if you would like to talk more about the travel card or accessing money in India. The situation is very new however we will continue to bring you updates as we have them.