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NRI Savings account benefits: Know How it's different from Regular Savings Account

Know the benefits of NRI Savings Accounts in India. Understand the major differences between NRI and regular savings account.
8
min read
February 7, 2024
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Content Overview:

1. What is an NRI Savings Account?

2. What are benefits of NRI Savings Account

3. Differences between a regular savings account and an NRI savings account

4. Benefits of NRI Savings Account with Vance

5. Can NRIs hold a savings account in India?

6. FAQs about NRI Savings Account

In today's age of globalisation, people migrate across borders for various reasons - be it education, employment, or a myriad of other compelling motivations. Consequently, financial and banking requirements of these individuals change, giving rise to unique financial products and services. For Indians residing abroad, one of these specific financial instruments is the NRI Savings Account. 

While Raj, an IT professional in San Francisco, might need to send money back home for his parents or perhaps make an investment in Indian real estate, Priya, a researcher in London, might want to save her earnings from her apartment rented out in Mumbai. For them and many like them, understanding the nuances of the NRI Savings Account is crucial.

What is an NRI Savings Account?

An NRI (Non-Resident Indian) Savings Account is a specialized banking service offered to Indians residing outside the country. Its primary design caters to the unique financial and banking needs that arise when an Indian citizen earns or accumulates wealth outside of India but still has financial connections and commitments within the country.

An NRI Savings Account allows Indians residing abroad to safely deposit their income, earned either in India or abroad, in Indian Rupees (INR). The essence of this account is to provide a conduit for Non-Resident Indians to seamlessly integrate their financial activities across borders.

Examples for Clarification:

  • Smita, a software engineer, has been working in the USA for the past five years. Every month, she wants to send a portion of her earnings to support her family in Pune. With an NRI Savings Account, she can effortlessly transfer her US dollars, which get converted and deposited as INR, allowing her family to access the funds without the need for currency conversion.
  • Rohan, an architect in London, recently sold his ancestral property in Jaipur. The proceeds from the sale can be deposited directly into his NRI Savings Account without the hassle of currency conversion or international transfer fees.

Benefits of NRI Savings Account

For Indians residing overseas, the financial landscape brings a mix of opportunities and complexities. At the intersection of these, the NRI Savings Account stands out as a tailored banking solution. Let's delve into the manifold benefits of this specialized account.

  1. Seamless Management of Indian Income: Any income generated within India, such as rent from a property, dividends from Indian shares, or returns from other investments, can be easily deposited into the NRI Savings Account.

Example: Varun, settled in the UK, rents out his apartment in Mumbai. The monthly rent is directly credited to his NRI Savings Account, ensuring he doesn’t have to manage multiple banking channels.

  1. Tax Exemptions: One of the standout advantages of an NRI Savings Account is that the interest earned is exempt from Indian Income Tax. This makes it an attractive proposition for those looking to accumulate savings.

Example: Riya has a significant sum in her NRE Savings Account. The interest she accrues over the year isn't subjected to tax, allowing her wealth to grow faster.

  1. Repatriation Benefits: NRI Savings Accounts offer high repatriation flexibility. This means that the money can be easily transferred back to the country of residence without facing cumbersome processes.

Example: Deepak, living in Dubai, plans to buy a car. He can effortlessly transfer funds from his NRI Savings Account to Dubai to facilitate this purchase.

  1. Currency Flexibility: While the account operates in INR, it provides the flexibility to deposit foreign currency. The bank seamlessly manages the conversion, reducing currency risk for the account holder.

Example: Anjali, earning Euros in Berlin, sends money to her NRI Savings Account. The bank handles the Euro to INR conversion, ensuring she gets a competitive exchange rate.

  1. Maintenance of Financial Footprint in India: The account allows NRIs to maintain a financial presence in India, making it easier for them to invest, purchase property, or engage in other financial activities.

Example: Arjun wishes to invest in Indian mutual funds. With his NRI Savings Account, he can easily fund his investments without needing intermediate transfers or conversions.

  1. Access to Superior Banking Facilities: Many banks offer premium services to NRI account holders, such as preferential rates on loans, dedicated relationship managers, and special investment advice tailored to their unique situation.

Comparison: Benefits of NRI Savings Account vs. Regular Savings Account:

Benefits_of_NRI_Savings_Account_vs_Regular_Savings_Account

In conclusion, an NRI Savings Account isn’t just another bank account – it’s a strategic tool for financial management for Indians living abroad. With its bouquet of benefits, it ensures that, geographically, while one might be miles away from India, financially, home is just a transaction away.

Benefits of NRI Savings Account with Vance

Vance, in collaboration with Yes Bank, offers an enhanced NRI Savings Account experience that stands out from the competition. If you're an NRI considering a savings account tailored to your needs, here's why Vance might be your best bet:

  • Swift Account Activation: With Vance, you can experience one of the fastest account opening procedures, minimizing the usual wait times associated with banking formalities. Example: Rather than waiting for weeks, with Vance, you could potentially have your account up and running within just a few days.
  • Zero Account Maintenance Charges: Enjoy a cost-effective banking experience with no hidden fees. Vance promises a zero-cost NRI savings account, making it financially friendly. Example: Other banks might charge for monthly maintenance or fall-below fees, but Vance ensures your savings remain intact.
  • Hassle-free KYC Process: Documentation can be daunting, especially from overseas. Vance streamlines the KYC process, making it both fast and free. Example: Instead of mailing hard copies and waiting, Vance offer digital uploads and instant verifications.
  • Highest Interest Rates: Your money deserves the best returns. Vance, in collaboration with Yes Bank, promises some of the highest interest rates on both Fixed Deposits and Savings Accounts. Example: If most banks offer a 4% interest rate on savings, Vance provides 6% or even more, maximising your earnings.
  • Efficient Remittance Services: Vance shines in the remittance arena. Offering Pound to INR and AED to INR services, they ensure flat fees and the best exchange rates, often referred to as Google rates.

Choosing Vance for your NRI Savings Account not only provides you with a secure place for your savings but also integrates state-of-the-art services that redefine the banking experience for global Indians. Join Vance and embrace an evolved way of managing your finances between India and your residence abroad.

The NRI Conundrum: Can They Hold Regular Savings Accounts in India?

For many NRIs, their financial ties to India remain strong even after relocating. It’s common for them to ponder over the regulations tied to their bank accounts. So, here's a more detailed examination of the topic.

Why NRIs Can't Hold Regular Savings Accounts: The FEMA Angle

Under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), once an individual's status changes to an NRI, they are no longer eligible to hold regular savings accounts in India. Why? Because FEMA was established to streamline and regulate the external trade and payments to ensure India's foreign exchange market remains stable.

Now, if an NRI continues to maintain a regular savings account, it can lead to complications in tracking foreign income, and it's seen as a violation of these regulations.

Dive into NRI-Specific Accounts

NRO Account (Non-Resident Ordinary):

  • Utility: Primarily for managing income sourced from India - like rent, dividends, or local job salaries.
  • Repatriation: It's restricted. While the principal amount remains non-repatriable, the interest can be repatriated after fulfilling certain conditions.
  • Tax Implications: The account balance is taxable. The tax rate depends on the income slab.

NRE Account (Non-Resident External):

  • Utility: Perfect for those wanting to transfer foreign earnings to India.
  • Repatriation: Fully repatriable, which means both the principal amount and interest can be moved back to the foreign country seamlessly.
  • Tax Implications: Interest income is exempt from tax in India.

FCNR Account (Foreign Currency Non-Resident) Account:

  • Utility: A term deposit account where NRIs can retain money in foreign currency.
  • Currency Options: Major currencies like USD, GBP, EUR are supported.
  • Repatriation: Fully repatriable, a definite advantage for those uncertain about their stay duration.
  • Tax Implications: Interest income is exempt from tax in India.

How to convert a Regular Saving Account to NRI Account - A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Notify the Bank: Once you attain NRI status, promptly inform your bank.
  • Documentation: Typically, the bank will require proof of your changed status. This could be copies of your employment contract, visa, passport, or even utility bills from your overseas residence.
  • Choose the Right NRI Account: Based on your earnings and financial goals, select between NRO, NRE, or FCNR accounts.
  • Account Conversion: If you opt for an NRO account, many banks will allow you to convert your existing savings account. For NRE or FCNR, you might need to initiate a fresh account.

Though the regulations might initially seem stringent, they have been established to protect both the individual and the nation's economic interests. By choosing the appropriate NRI account, you can manage your finances smartly and efficiently, ensuring compliance with both Indian laws and your financial aspirations.

FAQs

1. What defines an NRI as per Indian banking norms?

 An NRI or Non-Resident Indian is an Indian citizen who resides outside India for employment, business, or any other purpose indicating an indefinite period of stay abroad.

2. Why can't NRIs hold a regular savings account in India?

As per FEMA regulations, NRIs aren't permitted to maintain regular savings accounts in India, as these don't offer facilities to track foreign income and other NRI-specific requirements.

3. What is the key difference between NRE and NRO accounts?

NRE accounts are for depositing foreign income in India, and both the principal and interest are repatriable. NRO accounts, on the other hand, are mainly for depositing income earned in India, and only the interest is repatriable, not the principal.

4. Are the funds in NRE and NRO accounts taxable?

Interest earned on NRE accounts is tax-free in India, whereas interest on NRO accounts is subject to TDS (Tax Deducted at Source).

5. Can an NRI have both NRE and NRO accounts?

Yes, an NRI can simultaneously maintain both NRE and NRO accounts to manage their foreign and Indian earnings respectively.

6. Can two NRIs open a joint NRE or NRO account?

Yes, two or more NRIs can open a joint NRE or NRO account.

7. How can an NRI fund their NRE account?

NRE accounts can only be funded through foreign income. This can be done through direct foreign currency deposits, foreign currency cheques, or remittances from overseas.

8. What is the purpose of an FCNR account?

FCNR accounts are term deposits held in foreign currency, protecting depositors against currency risk.

9. Can an NRI transfer money from NRO to NRE account?

Yes, but it's subject to fulfilling certain conditions, like providing proof that taxes have been paid on the funds being transferred.

10. Are there any restrictions on repatriation from NRI accounts?

For NRE and FCNR accounts, both principal and interest are fully repatriable. For NRO accounts, only the interest is repatriable, up to a limit of USD 1 million per financial year.

11. How are NRI accounts affected if the holder becomes a resident again?

Upon returning, the NRI must convert their NRI accounts to resident accounts or close them.

12. Can NRIs avail loans against their NRI account deposits in India?

Yes, many banks in India offer loans against NRI account deposits to the account holder or third parties.

13. Can NRIs nominate residents for their NRI accounts?

Yes, both residents and non-residents can be nominated.

14. How are the funds in an NRI's estate distributed in case of their demise?

The funds can be remitted abroad, but not exceeding USD 1 million per year, after ensuring all necessary taxes have been paid.

15. Can an NRI use their NRI account for investments in India?

Absolutely, NRIs can use these accounts to invest in shares, securities, and other financial instruments in India.

16. Can Power of Attorney be granted for NRI accounts?

Yes, NRIs can grant Power of Attorney to residents for limited or complete access to their accounts.

17. How does the Reserve Bank of India regulate NRI accounts?

The RBI provides guidelines and regulations under the FEMA act to manage and monitor NRI accounts.

18. Can an NRI’s resident relative credit their NRE account?

Yes, they can, but it should be in the form of gifts within the limits prescribed for gift amount transfer.

19. Are fixed deposits available for NRI accounts?

Yes, NRE, NRO, and FCNR accounts can all be used to create fixed deposits.

20. What happens if an NRI account isn't converted to a resident account upon the holder's return?

Holding an NRI account as a resident is a violation of FEMA. It's essential to notify the bank and convert the account to avoid penalties.

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Arnav is a dedicated product leader with a passion for finance and fintech. He graduated from IIT Bombay and IIM Calcutta and heads the Product team at Vance. He has extensive experience in the financial sector, with a deep understanding of the cross-border space. In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar, rock climbing, and training for triathlons.

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