Travel Currencies

Journey in India: Currencies to Detect and Avoid

Introducing India
Ranging from the popular Holi festival, the city of Mumbai, center of Bollywood, and the history revolving the great pacifist Mahatma Gandhi who played a major role in India’s history, this Asian country has plenty to offer. Are you looking for a mesmerizing adventure that dives into history, culture, and religion?

If you are reading this blog, then chances are that you seek such an adventure.

Based on my experience visiting India for four months, the Northern part and the Southern part of India are very different, religion being one example. In northern cities such as Delhi and Agra, the main religion was Hinduism, whereas in the South, especially once in Goa, I saw that Christian churches were much more present. The local cuisine was very different from north to South as well. India is really inexpensive and the locals are very welcoming. Should you choose to stay in India, I would recommend the rental of an Airbnb so that you may immerse yourself fully in its culture and meet India's people.

Why you should buy Indian currency before departure?
There are a number of reasons to change your currency before departing for India, and here are some of them:

  • To familiarize yourself with the Indian Rupees beforehand. 
  • To save time and be better prepared. You are going there to enjoy, not to wait in line in a currency exchange office.
  • To ensure you get the right bills needed for the trip.
  • To get the best rate available. Once in India, keep in mind that many exchange offices will try to charge you more to get a good deal out of you. This is especially true if they see that you are a tourist and unless you know the local language, it will be hard to get out of it with a great deal. (I recommend using language applications like Memrise to learn some of the basic Hindi phrases that will allow you to better interact and communicate with locals. Even just the basics helped a lot in my experience.)
  • To eliminate some travel stress. It can be stressful to find a currency exchange in a foreign country like India. Reserve your currency with Click & CollectWe will be waiving all fees for you and giving you the best possible rate we can offer. No negotiations needed and no headaches!

Bills to avoid
In 2016, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, banned two major bills in order to fight corruption and counterfeit money. He issued the ban in the entire country for the 500 and the 1000 note bills. It did not take long until the Reserve Bank of India announced new 500 and 2000 notes (almost $40 CAD) in late 2016. The following year, they announced a new 50 note and afterwards, they added a new 10, 20 and 100 notes to their brand new series that include improved security details on the bills, making it harder to counterfeit. Despite this, counterfeit currency still exists and one should take the time to learn how to detect one.

Avoid taking any remaining 500 or 1000 notes and avoid bringing back any coins, as you won't be able to exchange them back in Canada. Of course, you could always keep them as a souvenir or give them to a local as a much appreciated tip.

Detecting fake bills
As mentioned previously, you should familiarize yourself with the newest bills beforehand, buy some bills in advance and get to know your new notes!

No need to become an expert, but you should know at least the basics. Here are some quick points to pay attention to:

  • Quality of the bill, textures and details on a bill should feel the same. Pay attention to them.
  • Security threads should look like the original and should not look as if it was drawn on top of it.
  • Lettering printed on the bills should not look different than usual and all the details should be there. The year the bill was issued should also be present.
  • The numbers on the notes should not look thicker or different in any way. Ensure that the serial number is present as well.

New 50 note besides old 50 note.
Note: Keep in mind that old 10, 20, 50 and 100 Rupees notes are still in circulation but ONLY if they have their issued year indicated on the back.

We hope that these tips will be of use to all travelers. Safe travels!

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Yuri SchmalhausYuri Schmalhaus

Having traveled in many countries during his life, Yuri is passionate about different cultures, travels and foreign languages. He started working at ICE in Quebec city in 2015 and he is currently working downtown Montreal city. He loves the contact he has with tourists who come to exchange their currencies and he always take good care of giving the best advises and information.