For a bank that has 4,867 branches and 14,367 ATMs across India, ICICI hasn’t really received great reviews for its NRE account. Customers reviews suggest that mobile banking wasn’t available for NRIs until a couple of years ago. While some have even complained about the response time for their requests.
Still, it is a bank with a huge network, not just in India but in 17 other countries as well. Today, ICICI is known for its free money exchange facility and among the most competitive exchange rates in the market.
ICICI NRE Account Features
One of the “big four” banks of India, ICICI allows you to open an NRE account with any convertible currency. But, what you should know is that your account will be maintained in Indian rupee. Interest is calculated on an annual basis, although paid biannually, in June and December. Some other key features are:
- Annual interest rate of 4% for end-of-day balances greater than ₹50 lakh and 3.5% for deposits less than ₹50 lakhs. This is more or less the same across all major banks in the country.
- Full repatriability of funds.
- Low Minimum Average Monthly Balance (MAB) is ₹10,000 at account level and ₹25,000 at Customer ID level.
- Money2India currency exchange facility allows customers to transfer money to more than 100 banks across India, via a traceable process. This facility is available in 8 countries, including the UK, USA, Canada and Sweden.
- NRIs can open joint accounts, provided the other person is an NRI too.
- Free international debit card, along with phone-banking, cheque book and net-banking facilities.
- Benefit of free money transfers at competitive exchange rates in 8 currencies, including USD, GBP, CHF, CAD and AED.
- A nominee can carry out banking transactions on behalf of the NRI customer at an Indian branch. They are provided with free cheque book and debit card, usable across all retail and online establishments in India.
- 7% interest rate for NRE fixed deposit account for tenures between 2 to 10 years.
ICICI NRE Account Limitations
- Although interest rates are similar across most banks in the country, there are banks like RBL, which offer 6.5% on its NRI accounts.
- NRE fixed deposit interest rate is much lower than Deutsche bank, which is 8.25% (5 years) and 8% (1 to 2 years).
- No lost card insurance or accidental coverage on the debit card.
- No lower MAB requirements facilitated for rural and semi-rural areas in India, unlike SBI.
- Mobile app offers limited functionalities and is slow and cumbersome. To start the app, you first need to locate a really tiny link to establish that you are an NRI customer. And, then it takes you to a completely different interface, where you need to activate it using your mobile number.
- Joint account holder is offered minimal access to the account. They aren’t given a credit/debit card or allowed branch banking.
- Activating and deactivating services can be tedious, with the need to send hard copies of various documents to their Mumbai headquarters.
- Their phone banking, net banking and customer services have received poor reviews from customers.
- Full repatriability of funds
- Competitive currency exchange rate
- Account opening process and response times are too long
- Poor phone and net banking
- Poor customer support
- Joint account holder unable to operate account, unless specially mandated
- Interest rates lower than many other banks
Have you used ICICI Bank’s NRI services? Please feel free to share your experience below, so others can make use of it.