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Sudarshan Motwani | Kolkata |

Admitting kids in the finest of schools, enrolling them in bestin-class coaching centres, and providing them with most-relevant learning aides to boost performance — Indian parents leave no stone unturned when it comes to their child's education.

In fact, India ranks only behind China when it comes to sending students abroad for academic purposes, but the “forex problem” bothers countless students and parents every year. The stringent policies, rupee-valuation variables, non-transparent operations of forex providers and the presence of third-party brokers and agents makes acquiring foreign exchange a tiring and convoluted process.

First-time travellers cannot hope to land a good deal only through their own efforts, and the help of an expert is essential to understand the intricacies. Here are some areas in which a foreign exchange centred organisation can help to attain the best deal:

  • Double-check the fee structure: Go through the prospectus once again, as some universities have module-wise courses which require individual payments for each module and standalone fee to be paid during examinations. Communicate your doubts to the relevant authorities in order to avoid any unwanted situation that can leave you in a veritable tizzy. This exercise can also help you to come across and apply for scholarships that are available.
  • The government policy: The Liberalised Remittance Scheme allows you to make remittances up to a certain sum for educational purpose in a financial year. Anyone who wishes to send money to his or her kids will need to provide their proof of identity, proof of residence, source of funds, as well as PAN details. If the money has to be transferred to the institution, it can be done under the “education” category by providing a copy of invitation letter having fee structure defined, photo cum identity proof and source of funds. An I-20 Form is required in case of American universities. Funds must be received directly from remitter’s savings account through NEFT/IMPS/RTGS/cheque to partnering bank in case you are using a fin-tech. However, all payment methods are subject to clearance to initiate the remittances. Students can also pay fees directly using their savings account. The policies also keep changing, stressing the need for expert assistance even more.
  • Make the most out of your money: You'd rather want your kid to make good use of your money than burn it in currency exchange. Global currencies are very dynamic in nature and are subject to constant deviations. A change of 10 paisa in conversion rate will cost you about $400 for an outward remittance of $ 250,000. However, there are a few online RBIauthorised forex platforms, which despite facilitating lowest possible price through their tech-driven approach, also allow you to hold a particular price for up to three working days. Such platforms enable you to save as much as 6.5 per cent on your standard bank transactions, which can result in savings of up to $16,000.
  • Choose the right forex: The traditional wire transfer, also known as Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication transfer is the most popular method of transferring funds from India to abroad. But this involves dual charges levied by the home branch as well as the receiving branch, which needlessly increases the overall cost of education. An innovative alternate method to transfer money abroad through traditional bank remittance products is by using a forex card which can be carried abroad. These cards are Visa/MasterCard powered alternatives which can be used as an international credit or debit card. Forex marketplaces offer these cards, with zero charge whatsoever.

All of the charges associated with using plastic money abroad get instantly obviated by choosing the correct service provider. They, moreover, eliminate all of the charges for issuing, reloading, and unloading of the card and even for using them in stores, online transactions, and even at ATMs for first three instances. But as great an alternative as they are, such cards also have a drawback – – they must be carried in person by the student and do not provide overseas delivery. Also, a few universities charge additionally for accepting tuition fee via MasterCard/Visa and forex cards.

Foreign exchange is one of the prime factors which affect your financial health while abroad and must be arranged in advance. Travelling to a distant land and an unknown culture is a daunting thought in itself. By keeping the aforementioned tips in mind, one can largely reduce the anxiety specifically corresponding to finances, thus ensuring that the goodbye is a happy and a hopeful one, not marred by worrisome thoughts of lack of security.

The writer is chief executive officer and co-founder, BookMyForex