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What is the period for redemption of unutilized balance on prepaid travel cards?

In terms of para 3.4.5 of RBI master Direction-Other Remittance Facilities dated January 1, 2016, Resident Indians who purchase their travel cards, are permitted refund of the unutilized foreign exchange balance only after 10 days from the date of last transaction and accordingly, this condition is stated in the "user guide". Since these cards are expected to act as substitutes for cash / Travellers Cheques, the facilities available to the user will have to be similar. Accordingly, all such Authorised Persons shall redeem the unutilized balance outstanding in the cards immediately upon request by the resident Indians to whom the cards are issued subject to retention of:

  1. Amounts that are authorized and remain unclaimed / not settled by the acquirers as of the date of redemption till the completion of the respective settlement cycle
  2. A small balance not exceeding US$ 100, for meeting any pipeline transactions till the completion of the respective settlement cycle; and
  3. Transaction fees / service tax payable in India in Rupees
  4. For the amount that are authorized but unclaimed / not settled by the acquirer, the issuer of such cards can hold such amounts until such transactions are processed / settled by the acquirers within the prescribed settlement timeframe.

In terms of section 2(c) of Foreign exchange management Act, 1999, "authorised person" means an authorised dealer, money changer, off-shore banking unit or any other person for the time being authorised under sub-section (1) of section 10 to deal in foreign exchange or foreign securities.