10th Year Celebration - 'Let's Make A Plan' Offer for NRIs

All about FCNR Deposit for NRIs

NRIs have many investment options in India but FCNR is one of the most ignored ones… You can read all about FCNR & is it a good investment.

fcnr deposit

What is FCNR account?

FCNR account stands for Foreign Currency Non-Resident account. It can be opened only by NRIs. It is similar to a Fixed Deposit but it is a Fixed Deposit wherein money can be deposited in foreign currency and interest can be earned on the same.

Read – Best Investment Options for NRIs

What are the key features of FCNR deposit?

The key features of FCNR accounts –

  • It is a fixed deposit account that can be opened by NRIs
  • The account can be opened by depositing money in foreign currency. Major currencies such as Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Japanese Yen, Euro, UK Pound and US Dollar are allowed. The currency depends on the bank with which the account is being opened.
  • Usually the tenure of an FCNR account ranges from 1 year to 5 years.
  • The account can be opened as a joint account with another NRI
  • The interest rate is determined by the bank based on the ceiling determined by RBI.
  • Usually the FCNR account holder can get a loan against this account subject to certain conditions. The loan can be taken for personal or business use.
  • The NRI can avail of the nomination facility for this account. The nominee can be an NRI or a resident Indian.
  • The FCNR account can be continued till its maturity date if the status of the account holder changes from NRI to Resident Indian.

Why should I have an FCNR account?

  • An FCNR account is a useful account to invest money in as regular interest rate is paid.
  • There is no currency fluctuation risk as the amount invested and amount paid back in terms of principal and interest are in the same designated foreign currency.
  • The interest earned is not taxable in India.
  • The amount in the FCNR account is freely repatriable. The amount can also be transferred to the nominee’s account without any charges or taxes in case of death of primary NRI account holder.
  • If you are an NRI, you can invest your earnings which might be in foreign currency in an FCNR account without any exchange rate fees and also get back your investment along with interest without any exchange rate fees.

Check – Status for NRE FD after return to India

FCNR Interest Rate

Here are the interest rates on FCNR accounts of some banks for US Dollar Investments (w.e.f March, 2019)

BankCurrency TenureInterest Rate
ICICI BankUSD>= 12 months < 24 months3.64%
ICICI BankGBP>= 12 months < 24 months1.70%
Axis BankUSD> 12 months <18 months4.00%
Axis BankGBP> 12 months <18 months1.35%
SBI (<USD 300000)USD>12 months< 24 months3.64%
SBIGBP>12 months< 24 months1.45%

FCNR Vs NRE FD

Interest Rates in NRE FDs are always higher but there’s currency risk.

FCNR Interest

Read – Mutual Funds for NRIs in India

What are the tax implications of income earned in FCNR account?

  • Interest income earned from FCNR account is tax-free in India.
  • The amount that is transferred to Resident Foreign Currency account or Resident Rupee account after maturity is not taxable as well.

Are there any drawbacks of an FCNR account?

  • It cannot be opened as a joint account with a resident Indian.
  • Premature withdrawal is subject to penalty. It depends on the bank where the account is.
  • The interest rate is usually lower than that of NRE/NRO deposit accounts.

How do I open an FCNR account?

You can contact the bank and you require documentation such as Passport, Visa, KYC, FACTA declaration and identity proof and address proof for current residence.

Is FCNR good Investment?

In the long term, you will see that FCNR & NRE FD returns will be more or less the same because interest differential will take care of Indian Rupee depreciation. You can consider FCNR for diversification… FCRN can also be considered after periods of significant appreciation of Indian Rupee in the short term.

This post is written by Vidya – she is an NRI

If you have any queries related to FCNR – please add in the comment section.

About the Author

Hemant Beniwal is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and his Company Ark Primary Advisors Pvt Ltd is registered as an Investment Adviser with SEBI. Hemant is also a member of the Financial Planning Association, U.S.A and registered as a life planner with Kinder Institute of Life Planning, U.S.A. He started his Financial Planning Practice in 2009 & is among the first generation of financial planners in India. He also authored Bestseller book "Financial Life Planning".

  • Sartaj Shaik says:

    It’s not very easy to open FCNR account with few banks. The staff don’t know about this product. It’s a pity. They take long time & long procedure to open with few banks.

  • Amiya Maji says:

    Can you tell us in which section of Income Tax law, it is mentioned that interest earned in FCNR account is tax free in India. Regarding NRE FD, it is there.

    • Anuj says:

      Hi Amiya Maji,

      As per section 10(4) of the income tax act, interest earned on FCNR deposit is exempt from tax.

  • sara says:

    EUR FCNR interest is very low compare or even negligible to other currencies. Can i invest in USD from Europe, is any specific restrict in opening FCNR based on country you stay.

  • Shankar says:

    Besides FD deposit in FCNR is there any financial instrument risk free like( Gov. bonds which can be considered with interest rate higher then FD)

    • Hi Shankar,
      Tax-free bonds are giving around 6% – available in the secondary market.

  • >