Learn all about an FCNR account with Bank of India: how to open an account, interest rates, currencies supported, and how to transfer funds.
RBL Bank offers FCNR accounts within its NRI banking services. Learn more about how FCNR accounts work and the features and benefits of getting one with RBL Bank. Also, check out how to open an account and ways to transfer money to India.
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A Foreign Currency Non-Resident account, or FCNR, is a term deposit account. That means you can deposit a lump sum of money, and it will earn interest until the term ends. The FCNR account is unique because it allows NRIs to hold a foreign currency interest-bearing account in India. FCNR accounts can be found at many Indian banks.
RBL Bank is unique in offering NRIs the option of eight different currencies to open an FCNR account. You are not required to have an existing relationship with the bank to open one.
There are two main ways to open an FCNR account at RBL Bank - in-person or by submitting an enquiry online. There is no method to submit your application entirely online.
Also, take a look at the section in this article about who can open an FCNR account to make sure you are eligible.
The way to open an account from abroad is to submit an NRI deposit enquiry form. The form will ask for your name, residence country and contact information. Once you have submitted the form, a representative from RBL Bank will reach out to you by phone or email.
You will need to submit an application form and supporting documents to complete the account opening process. The representative will provide instructions on where and how to send the documents.
If you need any help during this process, you can email RBL Bank at firstname.lastname@example.org or call NRI Banking at +91 22 61156300.
If you happen to be visiting India, you can open an account at an RBL Branch. You will need to have your documents with you and complete the account opening form. To officially open the account you will need to provide the funds for deposit. This can be by transfer or physical notes. Check out the section on transferring money to India later in the article.
The interest rates on FCNR accounts are often higher than those offered in the currency's home country. RBL Bank’s interest rates can be attractive for NRIs, especially for shorter term lengths. The interest rates vary by currency and term length and are subject to changes.
RBL offers FCNR accounts in US dollars (USD), British pounds (GBP), Euros (EUR), Australian dollars (AUD), Singapore dollars (SGD), Japanese yen (JPY), Canadian dollars (CAD) and Swiss Francs (CHF).
Here are the RBL Bank interest rates for FCNR accounts:¹
Rates checked on April 27, 2023.
- Rates are subject to change.
- Accounts can be fully withdrawn, but partial withdrawals are not allowed.
- There is a penalty fee of 1% for premature withdrawal from the account.
- Accounts held for less than 12 months forfeit the interest earned.
An FCNR account starts earning interest only after being funded. The money for an account must come from abroad, except if you have an NRE or an existing FCNR account.
The RBL representative will inform you of the best way to transfer money to a new FCNR account, but here are common ways to fund an account in India.
- Online money transfer: there are a number of popular online money transfer services that send money to India quickly and at a low cost. You can pay for the transfer with a bank transfer, debit or credit card. But shop around to compare transfer fees and exchange rates so you get the cheapest transfer.
- Wire transfers: most banks around the world are part of the SWIFT network, which allows banks to transfer money to each other. You can likely wire transfer money to RBL through your local residence country bank. Wire transfers can be slower and more expensive than online transfer services.
- Transfer from NRE account: if you have an existing NRE account in India, you can transfer Indian rupees to fund an FCNR account. RBL Bank will convert the money into your selected currency. This is the only option for domestic Indian rupee transfers for an FCNR account.
- Transfer from FCNR account: If you have an existing FCNR account in India, you can transfer the money to RBL Bank to open a new one. This makes the most sense if RBL Bank’s rates are higher than your current Indian bank or if you want to hold the funds in one of their eight currencies.
- Foreign currency notes or personal cheques: If you are opening an account in person in India, then you can also deposit your foreign currency notes or a personal cheque at the branch.
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One of the benefits of an FCNR account is that you can earn strong interest rates on your deposit without having to convert the funds to Indian rupees. It allows you to preserve its value in the foreign currency.
Here are a few additional features and benefits of an FCNR account with RBL Bank:²
- RBL Bank offers eight currencies to choose from, more than most other Indian banks.
- Principal and interest can be transferred back to your resident country.
- Interest grows tax-free in India.
- There is an automatic renewal option at maturity.
- The account can be used as collateral for a loan.
- Withdrawals are allowed at any time (a penalty may apply)
FCNR accounts are only available to NRIs and OCIs. RBL bank defines an NRI as an Indian citizen who is residing abroad for:
- Government appointment abroad.
This also includes any dependents like a spouse or children of NRIs that hold Indian passports and live outside of India. The government of India defines an NRI as someone who lives abroad for more than 182 days a year. ³
RBL also allows Persons of Indian Origin (PIO), now Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), to open FCNR accounts. These applicants hold a non-Indian passport and a PIO/OCI card.
You can open a joint FCNR account with another NRI or OCI.
Residents of India are not allowed to open FCNR accounts, even if they frequently travel abroad. Residents can, instead, open a Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) account.
To open an FCNR account, you will be asked to provide the following documents:
- Copy of your passport
- Copy of a work visa or resident permit
- Copy of OCI card, if applicable
- Proof of address, such as a utility bill
- Recent passport-size color photo
If you are opening the account from abroad, you will need to sign and scan the documents to your computer. A RBL Bank representative will guide you in how to send these to the bank.
If you are applying in person, you must bring these documents to the branch and complete the account opening form.
You can open an FCNR account at RBL Bank in eight currencies:
- US dollars
- Australian dollars
- Canadian dollars
- British pounds
- Japanese yen
- Singapore dollars
- Swiss francs
This is one of the largest varieties of currencies you can open an FCNR account at Indian banks.⁴
Sources used for this article:
- RBL Interest Rates
- NRE & NRO Savings account- FCNR
- Non-Resident Indian
- FCNR Deposits - Open a Foreign Currency Deposit at RBL Bank
Cover photo by Stanley Dai on Unsplash.
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