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Use of International Debit Cards/Store Value Cards/Charge Cards/Smart Cards by Resident Indians while on a visit outside India

Reserve Bank of India in June 2005 has issued clarifications to the banks on the usage of International Debit Cards by Resident Indians while on a visit outside India

A. International Debit Cards

2. It is understood that banks authorised to deal in foreign exchange (AD banks) are issuing International Debit Cards (IDCs) which can be used by a resident for drawing cash or making payment to a merchant establishment overseas during his visit abroad. It is clarified that IDCs can be used only for permissible current account transactions and the item-wise limits as as amended from time to time, are equally applicable to payments made through use of these cards.

3. It is further clarified that the IDCs cannot be used on internet for purchase of prohibited items like lottery tickets, banned or proscribed magazines, participation in sweepstakes, payment for call-back services etc., i.e. for such items/activities for which drawal of foreign exchange is not permitted.

4. Documentation and Reporting

While issuing IDCs, the AD banks may ensure that the extant procedures and documentation required for release of foreign exchange are followed. Further, the International Banking Divisions/Foreign Exchange Departments of AD banks may submit a statement as on December 31, each year (as per proforma annexed) in case the aggregate forex utilization by the IDC holders exceeds USD 100,000 in a calendar year

B. Store Value Cards/ Charge Cards/Smart Cards etc.

5. It has come to RBI notice that certain AD banks are also issuing Store Value Card/Charge Card/Smart Card to residents traveling on private/business visit abroad which are used for making payments at overseas merchant establishments and also for drawing cash from ATM terminals. It is clarified that no prior permission from Reserve Bank is required for issue of such cards. However, the use of such cards is limited to permissible current account transactions and subject to the prescribed limits under the Foreign Exchange Management (Current Account Transactions) Rules, 2000, as amended from time to time.

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