Best banks for NRI accounts: Compared and reviewed

Aman Saxena

When looking for NRI bank accounts, there are a lot of options to choose from in India.

A good way to decide is by comparing a look the top 10 NRE and NRO bank accounts by their interest rate and minimum balance.

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Most Indian banks provide NRI services which include banking accounts, but also investments, loans and deposits.

ℹ️ Since they are no longer residents, the Reserve Bank of India requires that all NRIs change their regular savings or checking accounts into NRI accounts.

There are two different types of NRI accounts- NRE and NRO. Each is for a different source of income, either from outside or inside India.

NRE, or Non Resident External, is for income that is earned outside India, such as employment salaries abroad. It is typically repatriable to India.

⚠️ While this list details different options for your money, it is not to be taken as professional financial advice. Seek out a professional advisor or accountant to make sure you use the financial products that best suit your needs.

Top 10 NRE accounts in India

NRE AccountsInterest RateMinimum Balance
axis bank Axis Bank5.10%-5.40% depending on your existing banking relationship with them₹10,000-₹10 lakhs
rbl nri account RBL4.25%₹50,000
yes bank nri account Yes Bank4.00%₹10,000
kotak bank nri account Kotak Bank3.50%₹10,000
dbs bank nri account DBS3.00%₹5,00,000
hdfc nri account HDFC Bank3.00%₹10,000 metro area/ ₹5,000 semi urban
icici nri account ICICI Bank3.00%₹10,000
bank of baroda nri account Bank of Baroda2.75%₹1,000
sbi nri account SBI2.70%₹1,00,000
citi bank nri account Citibank2.50%₹2,00,000

If you are earning income in India, whether from a pension, dividends or rental income, you would need to open a Non Resident Ordinary or (NRO) account.

Top 10 NRO accounts in India

NRO AccountsInterest RateMinimum Balance
axis bank Axis Bank4.40-5.40% depending on your existing banking relationship with them₹10,000-₹10 lakhs
rbl nri account RBL4.25%₹50,000
yes bank nri account Yes Bank4.00%₹10,000
kotak bank nri account Kotak Bank3.50%₹10,000
hdfc nri account HDFC Bank3.00%₹10,000 metro area/ ₹5,000 semi urban
icici nri account ICICI Bank3.00%₹10,000
dbs bank nri account DBS3.00%₹5,00,000 total value
bank of baroda nri account Bank of Baroda2.75%₹1,000
sbi nri account SBI2.70%₹1,00,000
citi bank nri account Citibank2.50%₹2,00,000
⚠️ Interest rates and minimum balances can differ depending on your overall relationship with the bank. Check with a representative for clarity on what you can expect with your NRE or NRO account.

How to choose the right NRI bank account?

With so many options for NRI accounts, how do you make the best choice? Here is a list of factors to consider when you are looking at NRI bank accounts.

NRO vs NRE account

First, identify where you will have income coming from. That will help you decide the next question- whether you need an NRE or NRO account, or maybe both? Learn more in this guide to NRI accounts.

Interest Rate

You can earn on your NRE and NRO savings accounts, with each bank offering different interest rates. But make sure to look at the full picture- a higher interest rate may come with its own strings attached.

Minimum balance

Maintaining the required minimum balance in your account can help you avoid fees with the bank. So ensure that you find an account that matches your ability to maintain the required minimum balance.

Convenience

Convenience is key to being on top of your account. Does the bank have an app? Do they have a nearby branch? Is online banking easy? All questions to answer when deciding on a bank.

Remittances

If you need to send money back and forth to India, or fund your NRI account, check the remittance facility at the bank’s NRI services. And to save money, keep an eye on the transfer fee and compare the exchange rate with the non-marked up rate on Google or Wise.

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Axis Bank NRI account

Digital-friendly Axis Bank offers multiple options for both NRE & NRO accounts for those that want a simple account or premium features

  • 10 offices outside of India
  • Premium Burgundy account for high net worth individuals
  • Easy to use app and website

Axis Bank makes it easy to manage your NRI accounts abroad with options for banking online or with their app.

With accounts for Indians planning to go abroad and for those returning to India, and an online application, it can be a good choice for the modern Indian traveller.²¹

SBI NRI account

State Bank of India is a trusted brand with offices globally, but is not as digitally native as other Indian banks.

  • Salary specific NRI accounts available
  • SBI offers loan, remittance and investment services
  • Account opening requires mailing physical documents

SBI offers NRI accounts, especially for those converting their regular accounts into NRO. With a minimum balance of ₹1,00,000 for metro areas and low interest rates, it may not be for everyone.

But it can be a good option for existing customers who haven’t left India yet and can go to a local branch to get started.²⁹

HDFC Bank NRI account

HDFC Bank has the most options when it comes to types of NRI accounts and easy digital banking.

  • One of India’s top banks for NRI services
  • Whatsapp, mobile and online banking available globally
  • Options for Premiere and Private accounts

The popular Indian bank HDFC offers a suite of NRI services customized for different financial situations. HDFC also has an easy outward remittance process through their own online banking.²⁵

ICICI Bank NRI account

ICICI Bank is a popular choice, with the additional bonus of specific NRI accounts for students and health care professionals abroad.

  • Interest rates start from 3%
  • Easy banking options online or through the app
  • Investments, loans, deposits and money transfers available

ICICI has a wide assortment of NRI services to fit specialized needs. Plus with the SPARSH account and Student NRE account, health care professionals and students can have their needs met for their NRI accounts. ²⁶

Bank of Baroda NRI account

Bank of Baroda offers NRI accounts, loans and deposits, and with low fees but also, low interest rates.

  • One of the lowest minimum balances required
  • Low fees can be attractive for existing customers
  • Regular accounts come with cheque book facilities

If you are looking for simple NRI accounts and services with a low minimum balance, Bank of Baroda can be a good option, especially if you are an existing customer. But it does lack specialized accounts and strong digital services.²²

Kotak Bank NRI account

Kotak Bank offers attractive low minimum balances for NRI accounts, and has a specific account for mariners.

  • Interest rates up to 3.5%
  • No transaction or monthly account fees
  • Platina accounts with dedicated relationship manager

Kotak Bank has 5 different options for NRI savings accounts. If you are not sure what services you may need, Kotak Bank also has an easy quiz to identify the right account for you.²⁷

Citibank NRI account

Citibank has a strong global presence that can make travelling and changing residences easier, but watch out for the minimum balances.

  • Zero fee remittances or funds transfers to India
  • Minimum balance from ₹2,00,000 - $100,000
  • Easy online or app banking

Citibank offers NRI accounts and a debit card in both a Preferred and a Gold level. The bank is a good option for frequent transfers and remittances but requires a higher balance to ward off fees.²³

DBS Bank NRI account

DBS Bank offers DBS Treasures for NRIs looking for high value NRI services with benefits.

  • Requires a ₹5 lakhs total relationship value
  • Attractive interest rates up to 3%
  • 40+ benefits & privileges

DBS Bank has 2 basic options for savings accounts for NRE and NRO each.

With remote application opening, DBS Bank can be a good option for those who are looking to maintain a large amount, and open an account outside of India. ²⁴

RBL NRI account

RBL has a higher minimum balance for most NRI accounts versus other banks, but can be an option for existing customers.

  • NRO premium accounts come with free ATM withdrawals
  • Certain accounts have no charge for inward and outward remittances
  • RBL bank can be opened with power of attorney in India

RBL has a minimum balance requirement of ₹50,000 for its NRE and NRO Savings Account, but attractive interest rates.

RBL can be a strong option for those with an existing relationship or looking to transfer money often, but do not require special accounts.²⁸

Yes Bank NRI account

Yes Bank has 2 NRI savings account options but come with attractive interest rates and a low minimum balance

  • Free checkbook and ATM card
  • Specialized Seafarer account
  • Free utility bill payments with certain accounts

Yes Bank does not have the extensive savings account options of other banks, but makes up for it with free or low cost benefits. Yes Bank also offers investment, loan, deposits and remittance services to NRIs.³⁰

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Sources used for this article:

  1. Axis Bank interest rates
  2. Axis Bank Minimum Balance
  3. Bank of Baroda Interest rates
  4. Bank of Baroda Minimum Balance
  5. Citibank NRI interest rates
  6. Citibank NRI minimum balance
  7. DBS interest rates
  8. DBS minimum balance
  9. HDFC Interest rates
  10. HDFC minimum balance
  11. ICICI interest rates
  12. ICICI minimum balance
  13. Kotak interest rate
  14. Kotak minimum balance
  15. RBL interest rate
  16. RBL minimum balance
  17. SBI Interest Rates
  18. SBI minimum balance
  19. Yes bank interest rate
  20. Yes bank minimum balance
  21. Axis Bank
  22. Bank of Baroda
  23. Citibank
  24. DBS Bank
  25. HDFC Bank
  26. ICICI Bank
  27. Kotak Bank
  28. RBL Bank
  29. SBI
  30. Yes Bank

All sources checked as of 11 September, 2021


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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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