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What is FCNR Full Form in Banking? (FCNR Account explained)

All you need to know about Foreign Currency Non-Resident (FCNR) account, account opening & more. Learn more to seamless open your FCNR account.
6
min read
February 3, 2024
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Content overview:

1. Introduction to FCNR

2. Delving Deeper into FCNR Accounts

3. Advantages of FCNR Accounts

4. Opening an FCNR Account: A Step-by-Step Guide

5. FCNR Account Currencies

6. FCNR Deposit Rates

7. FCNR FAQs

Introduction to FCNR

FCNR, an acronym for Foreign Currency Non-Resident, is a type of deposit account that Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) can open with banks in India. The distinguishing feature of FCNR accounts is that the deposit is maintained in a foreign currency, not in Indian Rupees, providing a shield against exchange rate fluctuations.

Example: Suppose you're an NRI residing in the USA. In that case, you can open an FCNR account in India and maintain your deposit in US Dollars, ensuring that the value of your deposit remains stable in terms of US Dollars, irrespective of the exchange rate variations between the US Dollar and Indian Rupee.

Delving Deeper into FCNR Accounts

An FCNR account is essentially a term deposit account, implying that the money is deposited for a fixed term and cannot be withdrawn before the term's conclusion without incurring a penalty. The term for an FCNR account can range anywhere between one to five years.

Example: If you open an FCNR account with a term of 3 years, you will not be able to withdraw your deposit without penalty until the end of these 3 years.

Advantages of FCNR Accounts

FCNR accounts offer a plethora of benefits for NRIs:

  • Shield Against Exchange Rate Risk: As the deposit is maintained in a foreign currency, it is safeguarded against exchange rate fluctuations.
  • Tax Benefits: The interest earned on FCNR accounts is exempt from tax in India.
  • Easy Repatriation: The principal amount and the interest earned on FCNR accounts are fully repatriable, meaning they can be easily transferred back to the NRI's home country.

Example: If you have an FCNR account in India with a deposit in US Dollars, the interest you earn on this deposit is not subject to tax in India. Moreover, you can effortlessly transfer both the principal and the interest back to the USA.

Opening an FCNR Account: A Step-by-Step Guide

The process of opening an FCNR account is straightforward:

  • Choose a Bank: The first step is to select a bank in India that offers FCNR accounts.
  • Fill Out the Application Form: The application form can typically be downloaded from the bank's website. Fill out the form with the necessary details.
  • Submit Required Documents: You will need to submit certain documents, such as proof of NRI status and identity proof.
  • Make the Deposit: Once your application is approved, you can make the deposit in the foreign currency of your choice.

Example: If you are an NRI living in the UK and wish to open an FCNR account, you can select a bank in India that offers FCNR accounts, download and fill out the application form, submit the required documents, and make your deposit in British Pounds.

FCNR Account Currencies

FCNR accounts can be opened in various foreign currencies. The choice of currency depends on the NRI's preference and the currencies offered by the bank. Some of the most commonly offered currencies include US Dollars, British Pounds, Euros, Japanese Yen, Australian Dollars, and Canadian Dollars.

Example: If you are an NRI living in Australia, you can open an FCNR account in India and choose to maintain your deposit in Australian Dollars, provided your chosen bank offers this option.

FCNR Deposit Rates

The interest rates for FCNR deposits vary from bank to bank and also depend on the term of the deposit. Typically, longer-term deposits have higher interest rates. It's important to compare the rates offered by different banks before making a decision.

Here are some of the top FCNR rates in India as of July 14, 2023:

FCNR_Deposit_Rates

Please note that these rates are subject to change, so it is always best to check with the bank before you invest. Here are some of the factors that you should consider when choosing an FCNR account:

  • The interest rate offered
  • The currency in which you want to deposit your money
  • The maturity period
  • The terms and conditions of the account

FCNR accounts can be a good option for NRIs who want to retain their money in foreign currencies and earn a higher interest rate than they would on a savings account in India. However, it is important to compare the rates offered by different banks before you make a decision. FCNR accounts present a secure and convenient investment option for NRIs, offering protection from exchange rate risk and tax benefits. By understanding what FCNR accounts are and how they operate, NRIs can make informed decisions about their investments in India.

FAQs

Q1: What is FCNR? 

FCNR stands for Foreign Currency Non-Resident. It is a type of deposit account that NRIs can open with banks in India. The deposit in an FCNR account is held in a foreign currency.

Q2: Who can open an FCNR account? 

FCNR accounts can be opened by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs).

Q3: What is an FCNR deposit? 

An FCNR deposit is a fixed term deposit held in an FCNR account. The deposit is held in a foreign currency and is protected from fluctuations in the exchange rate.

Q4: What are the benefits of an FCNR account? 

FCNR accounts offer several benefits, including protection from exchange rate risk, tax-free interest in India, and easy repatriation of the principal and interest.

Q5: How can I open an FCNR account? 

To open an FCNR account, you need to choose a bank in India that offers FCNR accounts, fill out the application form, submit the required documents, and make the deposit in the foreign currency of your choice.

Q6: Is the interest earned on FCNR accounts taxable in India? 

No, the interest earned on FCNR accounts is not taxable in India.

Q7: What currencies can I hold in an FCNR account? 

FCNR accounts can be opened in various foreign currencies, including US Dollars, British Pounds, Euros, Japanese Yen, Australian Dollars, and Canadian Dollars, depending on the bank's offerings.

Q8: What are FCNR deposit rates?

The interest rates for FCNR deposits vary from bank to bank and depend on the term of the deposit. It's advisable to compare the rates offered by different banks before opening an FCNR account.

Q9: Can the money in an FCNR account be repatriated? 

Yes, both the principal amount and the interest earned on FCNR accounts can be fully repatriated.

Q10: Can an FCNR account be opened jointly? 

Yes, an FCNR account can be opened jointly with other NRIs.

Q11: Can I convert my existing NRE/FCNR(B) account into a resident account on my return to India? 

Yes, when an NRI/PIO/OCI returns to India and becomes a resident, the existing NRE/FCNR(B) account needs to be redesignated as resident or transferred to the RFC account.

Q12: Can I avail of a loan against my FCNR(B) account? 

Yes, loans can be granted against the security of funds held in FCNR(B) deposit accounts, subject to certain terms and conditions.

Q13: What happens to the FCNR account upon the death of the account holder? 

In the event of the death of the account holder, the amount can be paid to the nominee or legal heir.

Q14: What is the minimum maturity period for an FCNR account? 

The minimum maturity period for an FCNR account is one year.

Q15: Can I transfer funds from an FCNR account to an NRE account? 

Yes, funds from an FCNR account can be freely transferred to an NRE account.

Q16: Can I renew my FCNR deposit? 

Yes, FCNR deposits can be renewed on maturity, and the renewed deposit will be treated as a new deposit.

Q17: Can I add funds to my existing FCNR deposit? 

No, additional funds cannot be added to an existing FCNR deposit. However, you can open a new FCNR deposit with the additional funds.

Q18: What happens if I withdraw my FCNR deposit before maturity? 

If you withdraw your FCNR deposit before maturity, you may have to pay a penalty, and the interest will be paid at the rate applicable for the period the deposit was maintained with the bank.

Q19: Can I open an FCNR account in any currency? 

The choice of currency for an FCNR account depends on the currencies offered by the bank. Some of the most commonly offered currencies include US Dollars, British Pounds, Euros, Japanese Yen, Australian Dollars, and Canadian Dollars.

Q20: Can I change the currency of my FCNR account?

No, once an FCNR account is opened in a particular currency, the currency cannot be changed. However, you can open a new FCNR account in a different currency.

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Tejas is an accomplished Chartered Accountant with a passion for finance. With a decade's worth of extensive experience in the banking and credit domain, he has a deep understanding of the financial landscape across consulting and start-ups. In his time away from work, Tejas enjoys sharing his knowledge and helping others understand the intricacies of this complex domain.

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