Indian Rupees ₹ , Rs or INR are the currency in India.
Unfortunately actual Indian Rupees cannot be taken out of India so you are unable to convert pounds to Indian rupee notes prior to travelling. On arrival at the airport purchase approx £50 of rupees and exchange more later when you find a better rate . Larger hotels will exchange for you. Visit a bank or currency changer for the best rates.
Larger outlets accept debit and credit cards. However it is likely you will need a fair amount of cash for stalls, smaller shops, food, cabs, buses, markets and tips. Try and keep hold of as much small change as possible as you will often need it. For example – a bus fare a few years ago was 30 rupees – it’s a lot easier to have the correct fare. Buses don’t like to hang about. Often it’s more of a slow down than a stop. You might be ‘encouraged’ to make your way down the bus fairly quickly and be given your change later.
At the time of writing there are approximately 83 rupees to a £. As a very rough guide to converting indian prices and notes to pounds while I am in India – as I am useless with foreign currency – I divide Indian rupees by 100 so a Rs 500 note is approximately £5 and a Rs 2000 is approximately £20. (Actually £6 and £24 currently ). For small amounts of money this is a good enough indication – for larger figures I would use a conversion site on my phone.
Debit and credit card providers are best prewarned that you are travelling.
Indian Rupees – denominations
Coins Coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10 rupees.
Banknotes Banknote denominations Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100 ( out soon ), Rs 500 and Rs 2000.
Coins now replace Rs 2 and Rs 5 notes.
New notes for 500 and 2000 Indian Rupees
New Indian Rupees with enhanced security features are being introduced. Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes were withdrawn by the Indian government on 8 November 2016. Rs 500 were reissued with a new design and a new Rs 2000 note was introduced. Newly designed Rs 1000, Rs 100 and Rs 50 notes are due 2017. Old notes will not be valid currency so don’t get stuck with any – unless you collect old bank notes !
New 1 Rupee note 2017
After 22 years the 1 Rupee note is to be relaunched sometime later in 2017
Prepaid travel cards for Indian Rupees
Buy Indian Rupees loaded onto a prepaid travel card via ICICI bank in the UK via www.icicibank.co.uk . Cards are valid for 180 days from first use when it is activated in India. Money remaining on the card after 180 days is transferred back to your bank account.
Keeping your Indian Rupees and bank cards safe
Lastly think about keeping your money and cards safe. And your passport. A neck pouch is ideal for travelling. I use an RFID blocking passport holder – everything essential is round my neck close to me and accessible – with the added bonus of RFID blocking for extra security. Radio frequency shielding material blocks any attempts to steal your passport data or debit/credit card details.