Banks and currency

Indian Rupee

The cooperative sector forms the bigger part of the banking system in India. There are 26 state, 25 private, 43 foreign, 56 regional rural, 1589 urban cooperative and 93 550 rural cooperative banks functioning in the country. The cooperative sector in the banking field undergoes the most dynamic development.


If it is not necessary and urgent it is better not to exchange currency at the airport. It is not at all profitable and is often related to big formalities. It is best to use a Forex card. There are several offices in Delhi working with Forex. The ATM’s work normally at least in the bigger cities.

The most secure banks where you can exchange currency are SBI (State Bank of India), PNB (Punjab National Bank), IOB (Indian Overseas bank), HDFC and ICICI. You can also exchange currency in the post offices. They also have Western Union offices. There is WU in the bigger hotel chains too. In most resort centers you can see specifically made currency exchange offices. Some of them are part of a touristic agency, but the exchange rate is quite elevated, and the commission is high.


The Indian Rupee (ISO: INR) is the currency of the second most populous country in the world.  It is emitted by the Reserve Bank of India, which is the local central bank. 1/100 of the Indian Rupee is called paisa. The bills are in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 2000. Their distinctive features are the UV lamp lighted pappuses and serial number. All of the bills have the same face – that of Mahatma Gandhi, called Father of the Nation. He is an Indian politician, advocate, spiritual leader and a fighter for human freedom in the Indian independence movement, which led to the end of the British rule in the country in 1947. It is important to know that bills without a date on the back are not in circulation and therefore cannot be purchased or offered. The old 500 and 1000, printed before 2005 are not in circulation.

Emissions in circulation:

  • 5 Indian Rupee bill – emitted in 2002 and in 2009
  • 10 Indian Rupee bill – emitted in 2006
  • 20 Indian Rupee bill – emitted in 2001 and in 2006
  • 50 Indian Rupee bill – emitted in 2005 and in 2017
  • 100 Indian Rupee bill – emitted in 2005
  • 200 Indian Rupee bill – emitted in 2017
  • 500 Indian Rupee bill – emitted in 2016
  • 2000 Indian Rupee bill – emitted in 2016

When you travel it is best to secure at least a small amount under the 2000 denomination, so that you can cover some daily needs. For the rest of the amount, even if it is only in 2000, you won’t have difficulty to change it. You can use the US dollar as a substitute currency in India, if you have not managed to get local currency before departure or if you have just decided to risk it and pay in the alternative. Anyways it is good to have local currency on you.

As a whole the Indian Rupee is one of the worst performing currencies in Asia for 2018, and its current exchange rate is around 69-70 Rupees for 1 US dollar.

Here are some of the average prices that every tourist should know before traveling to India:

  • Eating in a cheap restaurant – 150 INR
  • Food for 2 persons, middle class restaurant – 700 INR
  • McMeal in McDonalds – 250 INR
  • Local beer in a restaurant/pub (0.5-liter draft) – 120 INR
  • Imported beer in a restaurant/pub (0,33-liter bottle) – 200 INR
  • Coca-Cola/Pepsi a restaurant/pub (0,33-liter bottle) – 29 INR
  • Water in a restaurant/pub (0,33-liter bottle) – 14 INR
  • Espresso coffee in a restaurant/bar – 73 INR
  • Milk in the supermarket (1 liter) – 46 INR
  • Bread in the supermarket (500 g) – 29 INR
  • Bottle of wine in the supermarket (middle class) – 600 INR
  • Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) – 250 INR
  • Apples (1 kg) – 128 INR
  • Oranges (1 kg) – 65 INR
  • Cucumbers (1 kg) – 16 INR
  • Sausages (1 kg) – 491 INR
  • Public transportation ticket – 20 INR
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 77 INR