Use cards not cash, British travellers in India are warned
British holidaymakers in India have been advised to use debit and credit cards instead of cash to avoid the chaos of the country’s ongoing rupee crisis.
The Foreign Office has warned travellers that they face difficulties exchanging currency, withdrawing money and gaining change from small businesses, in the wake of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s shock move earlier this month to declare all 500 (£6) and 1,000 (£12) rupee notes invalid.
New 500 and 2,000 notes are in circulation but in short supply, while there is a 2,500 rupee per card per day limit on ATM (automatic teller machine) withdrawals.
“If you have debit or credit cards, use them instead of cash where possible,” said the Foreign Office, adding that tourists should be able to exchange “foreign currency or old notes of not more than 5,000 rupees into legal tender”.
“If you’re exchanging money at a bank, take a form of photographic identification and expect long queues,” its updated advice stated.
“If you’re exchanging money don’t accept any denomination higher than 100 rupees.”
The move by the prime minister to scrap the 500 and 1,000 denominations was intended to crack down on corruption and illegal cash holdings but instead has spread panic across the country as millions of Indians found their money to be worthless within hours.
People flocked to banks and ATMs to withdraw cash and exchange the old notes, with police called in some areas to manage crowds.
Tourists in the country have described the situation to be “an absolute shambles”.