Wondering how to open a bank account in India? Here is how to proceed.
India's banking system has greatly improved over the years. However, much still has to be done. Although most major cities hosts several national and regional banks, as well as branches of international banks, it can be quite difficult to find banks or ATMs in some remote areas, especially in villages.
In major cities, you are quite likely to find branches of Citibank and HSBC, as well as ATMs which accept international cards. But you should expect to pay processing fees and commissions, except if your home bank has branches in India or in the case of any agreement in this regard. Nevertheless, foreigners are allowed to open a bank account in the country, despite complex formalities.
The Indian rupee used in India is divided into 100 units called paisa. These are represented by 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50 paisa coins. Bank notes, for their part, are available in the following amounts: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000 Indian rupees. In June 2015, one euro was equal to INR 69.61 while a US dollar was equal to INR 63.60
In general, you have to produce the following documents to open a current bank account in India:
- your visa
- two passport-size photos
- proof of address (utility bills)
- your PAN number
- a reference letter.
If you are working for an Indian company, your employer will take care of the administrative formalities on your behalf. You can thus choose to open a bank account with one of the company's banking partners.
Identity controls are quite strict in India. Indeed, your signature has to match with the one on your passport. Moreover, cash deposits are strictly regulated. You are therefore advised to make your first deposit via a check with the help of a friend or contact on the spot.
Once you have opened your bank account, you will receive a debit card and a check book. However, you are not likely to receive a credit card with a poor credit history, especially if you are not yet a resident.
International payment cards such as Mastercard, Visa and American Express are accepted in major Indian cities. However, the use of checks is less common, but these are accepted when settling utility bills provided they have been duly filled and signed.
Good to know:
Irregularities and bounced checks are liable to high penalties.
In case of doubt, please refer to your chosen bank as procedures and conditions may vary from one bank to another.
Most Indian banks provide Internet banking services. Therefore, do not forget to apply for this service so as to save time during your banking transactions.
In general, Indian banks are open from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2.30 pm to 3.30 pm from Monday to Friday and from 10 am till noon on Saturday. Some international banks are open till late on week days.