Banking in India

Updated 2021-07-20 12:21

India's banking system has undergone a significant change over the past few years. The banking network and its operations have become more inclusive, comprehensive and efficient. While the RBI is the supreme banking authority, issuing major economic and financial policies, there are several private sector and public sector banks for consumers.

In major cities, you will easily find Citibank and HSBC branches as well as ATMs that accept international cards. However, you may have to pay a certain amount to make withdrawals, except if your home branch has branches in India.

Foreign nationals can open NON-Resident accounts in order to meet their local expenses during their stay in the country. The account can be opened only with banks authorised in dealing with foreign exchange.

NRO accounts may be opened in the form of current, savings, recurring or fixed deposit accounts. However, it is important to note that rate of interest applicable to these accounts and guidelines for opening, operating and maintenance of such accounts shall be in accordance with directives issued by Reserve Bank (DBOD).

Indian currency

The Indian rupee used in India is divided into 100 units called paisa. Banknotes are available in the following denominations: 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 2000 Indian rupees. Earlier 1000 rupees were in circulation, but after the demonetisation drive, 1000 rupees notes are out of circulation. The average conversion rate for 2019 was one euro equal to INR 78.83 while one US dollar equal to INR 70.4059.

Banks in India

India has a strong and sizable banking system. However, the six largest banks are State Bank of India, HDFC bank, ICICI BANK, Punjab National Bank, Axis bank and Canara Bank. These banks provide fairly basic products and have scope for further growth in services.


In order to apply for a bank account in India you will have to produce the following documents:

  • Copy of your visa and residential permit
  • Proof of identity(passport)
  • Passport-size photos
  • Proof of address (utility bills)
  • Your PAN number (income tax card)
  • Reference letter.

If you are working with an Indian company, then all the administrative formalities are generally taken care of by the employer. You may choose to open a bank account with one of the company's banking partners.

It is advisable to check and compare services offered by different banks, such as the required minimum deposit, as well as the charges and interest rates. Banks can be contacted by telephone, email or you can walk into your nearest branch.

Generally, banks send their representative to a new account holder's home or office with an application form to collect the required paperwork. The representative will guide you while filling the form. Note that it takes a day or two for the account to be active, after which an ATM card and PIN code is provided.

There are strict controls when it comes to identification. You should make sure all documents acting as proof of identity are properly managed. In fact, even your signature must match exactly with the one on your passport. Moreover, cash deposits are also strictly regulated. It is better to make your first deposit via a cheque with the help of a friend or contact on the spot.

Once you have opened your bank account, you will receive a cheque book along with the debit card. Use your cheques with caution as any irregularities and bounced cheques are liable to penalties.

In case of any doubt, please refer to your chosen bank as procedures and conditions may vary from one bank to another.

Internet banking

Internet banking and online transactions have become very common in India. Most of the banks offer internet banking services, so make sure you apply for this service and enjoy faster banking transactions.

Opening hours

In general, Indian banks are open from 9 am to 4.30 pm from Monday to Friday, and from 9 am to 2 pm on Saturday. There are some international banks that are open till late on weekdays.

Useful links:

State Bank of India
Punjab National Bank
Bank of India
Union Bank Online
Bank of Baroda

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.