November 2016 saw the India Govt “Demonetise” the Rs 500 and the Rs 1000 notes. Fancy way of saying that these notes are no longer legal tender.
These are the old Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes. Do not accept them, they are no longer legal tender!
In place of these old notes, the government has issued a new Rs 500 note and a new Rs 2,000 note (see pictures below). There is no longer a Rs 1,000 note. Make sure that the notes issued say Reserve Bank of India where shown on these notes.
Since November, the economy has certainly become more e-payment friendly, so debit and credit cards are more widely accepted. This is certainly the case in big cities like Delhi and Mumbai.
The other option is to use e-wallets like the PayTm App. PayTm is accepted at many corner stores now and it is also used for cashless transactions with Uber.
Now, demonetisation has not led to any change in prices. Things are neither more expensive nor are they cheaper. Again, this is the case in big cities like Delhi and Mumbai. I cannot be sure for the rest of the country.
There has also been a certain amount of inconvenience caused by demonetization. Meaning there is still a slight shortage in supply of currency notes and ATM’s still run out of cash. Thus where possible, spend by card or by the PayTm E-wallet app on your phone, and hold the physical cash for out station taxis or for spending in smaller towns if you are going there.
One last piece of financial advice before coming to India.
Wherever you are from in the world, check with your bank/ inform your bank that you will be in India and ask if you need to have your credit card activated. Check what your credit limit while in India will be. Also check what your daily spending limit on debit card will be while in India and how much you can withdraw in cash from your debit card per day while in India.
As a precaution, I would strongly recommend that you have some cash in hand before you reach India. As I mentioned before, demonitisation has lead to some shortage of cash at ATMs and while this is temporary, I would still advise travelers to carry a suitable amount of Indian currency from wherever you are in the world to India just so you have no problem paying a taxi from the airport to your hotel etc.
As always, please contact me via email for more specific advice.