So, one of the solutions to the glaring NRI question, “how to get your 1000 and 500 Rupee notes exchanged’ is.. deposit to your NRO account. Many media houses are offering this as the solution because it is mentioned in the RBI updates.
But there’s a problem here. First, let’s see what an NRO account it.
What is an NRO account?
AN NRO account is like a regular savings bank account. Just that it is meant for an NRI to keep his earnings from India. So, let’s say you have a house that is given for rent in India. Then your tenant can pay the house’s rent by paying you to your NRO account. So, essentially it is a savings bank account for NRIs within India.
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How can you exchange Indian Rupees to NRO account?
From my understanding, you cannot. And this is the big problem today. Although RBI has mentioned that NRIs can deposit old 500 and 1000 Rupee notes to their NRO account, what is being not addressed is – How?
Problem 1 – Banks abroad are NOT accepting Indian Rupees as of now (Nov 10th).
Problem 2 – NRO accounts are meant to be used in India. You have be physically present in India to be able to deposit the money in to an NRO account. So, what happens to the NRIs who are currently living abroad and are not planning to go to India any time soon?
Will their liquid cash (assuming it is smaller amounts) go to waste? Check out my other post on what you can do convert your Indian Rupees from abroad.
NRO account is not NRI account
Keep in mind that an NRO account and an NRI account is different.
As an NRI you can open two kinds of savings accounts in India- non-resident rupee accounts (NRE), and non resident ordinary rupee accounts. NRE accounts: Features: In an NRE account, you can keep your funds in rupee denomination. With this account, the principal and interest earned are fully repatriated. Read more here.
I hope the Govt. provides some clarity on how Indians living abroad (NRIs) can deposit old notes to their NRO accounts sitting abroad and not physically going to India.
Until now, there are no updates officially from the Govt. But hopefully there will be, soon.