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Submitted by Navin Pathak on Wed, 07/24/2019 - 11:46am.

I needed Rs. 10,000 for an immediate cash transaction at a shop in Delhi. Not having US dollars in cash to exchange to Indian rupees, I used my ATM debit card, issued by Bank of America in US, to withdraw the money.

On that day, June 6th 2019, with the exchange rate of Rs. 69 per dollar, if I had to exchange US dollars to Indian rupees, I would have to sell US dollars 144.92 only.

Citibank's ATM was next door and that I used to withdraw the Indian rupees.

After the transaction, I logged-in my bank account online to see how much I paid in fee and what exchange rate did I get. To my amazement, it was a total rip-off:


For Rs. 10,000 withdrawal that I did, the amount deducted from my bank account = $ 147.77

- This equivalent to the exchange rate of Rs. 67.67 per US dollar
- If I had used US dollars in cash, then $ 144.92 equals Rs.10,000 considering the exchange rate of Rs.69 per dollar.
- So, the difference in the exchange rate equals to the loss of = $ 1.33
- Citibank-Basant N,Delhi, International Fee I paid: $ 4.43
- Citibank-Basant N,Delhi, Fee I paid: $5

So, the total cost of this transaction of withdrawing Rs. 10,000: $ 1.33 + $ 4.43 + $ 5.00 = $ 10.76, which is my loss

NOTE: The picture on top is the actual receipt of my transaction of withdrawing rupees 10,000 using US ATM debit card in India.

Submitted by Navin Pathak on Thu, 06/29/2017 - 12:18pm.

Unless there is an absolute dire need, withdrawing cash using foreign debit cards at ATMs in India is like ‘penalty’ just because you need money.

Consider this: I withdrew $325  using my Bank of America’s debit card at Citibank’s ATM in New Delhi.

For this transaction, I paid the following charges:

  • $5.00: charged by Bank of America for using Citi’s ATM
  • $2.00 charged by Citibank
  • $3.25: this is 1% of $325 that Bank of America charged me as foreign transaction fee.

So, overall I paid $10.25 as charges and fees to withdraw just a small amount of $325.  This comes out to be 3.15% of the total transaction and have yet not accounted the exchange rate difference which I could have further saved if used some better alternate to transfer money.

For Indians, who reside abroad but have bank accounts in India, they can transfer money to India online from their foreign bank accounts to their bank accounts in India and easily withdraw the money when needed.

But for foreign nationals who don’t have bank account in India, alternate to ATM transaction is use of money transfer service providers like Western Union, Xoom, Moneydart, etc.  All these service providers have the mechanisms of transferring money to you within an hour or within 1 to 2 days either at your place of stay in India or at their nearby authorized agent.  There are charges associated with this kind of online transfer but by no means they amount to anywhere close to 3% in case of ATM transactions.  TransFast, Moneydart, XOOM, Western Union for example, can transfer few thousand dollars online while charging anywhere between $5 to $15 per transaction. You can get more details from their websites:,,,

The only thing you have to do with these service providers is to open up an account with them and link it with your bank account.  I strongly advise you to open up an account with these service providers before you travel to India as it might take 1-2 days before it is active.

Submitted by Navin Pathak on Sat, 10/17/2015 - 10:35am.

Atleast 3 banks have their ATMs in the T3 Arrival section of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport: Citibank, Kotak Mahindra and IndusInd Bank. There are 2 ATM kiosks before the customs and atleast 2 after.

Your foreign cards shall work at all the ATMs in the airport, atleast, unless your bank has imposed any restrictions on withdrawing cash in foreign countries.  Make sure that you call and inform your bank of your trip and I would recommend you to have some upper cash limit set on your ATM withdrawl.

ATM transactions certainly don’t give you better exchange rates and, additionally, they can be expensive due to ATM charges and transactional fees.