Forex

Here’s all that you need to know about the EEFC Account

What is an EEFC account? 

Why is it required?

Can it be opened for business objectives?

Read on to find out more...

What is an EEFC Account?

An EEFC (Exchange Earners' Foreign Currency) Account is a Current Account that doesn't earn interest. It's managed by an Authorized Dealer Category - I Bank, such as ICICI Bank. This account is designed for foreign exchange earners, like exporters. They can deposit their entire foreign earnings into this account, eliminating the need to convert foreign currency into Indian Rupees and vice versa. This helps in reducing transaction costs for account holders.

What is the purpose of an EEFC account?

An EEFC (Exchange Earners' Foreign Currency) account is like a special bank account in India. It's made for people and businesses who earn money from other countries, especially through international trade. The main goals and benefits of having an EEFC account are:

Keeping Foreign Earnings:

With an EEFC account, you can keep the money you earn in foreign currencies without having to change it into Indian rupees right away.

This gives you more control over how you use your foreign money.

Avoiding Exchange Rate Risks:

By having foreign money in an EEFC account, you can try to avoid problems when the value of money changes.

You can choose to change your foreign money into Indian rupees when the exchange rates are good for you.

Making International Transactions Easy:

EEFC accounts make it simple to do business with other countries. You can use your foreign money directly for certain activities, like making purchases from abroad, repaying loans taken in foreign currency, or making other allowed payments.

Encouraging Foreign Earnings:

Having EEFC accounts encourages people and businesses to actively participate in activities that earn money from other countries.

This helps increase the overall amount of foreign money that the country has.

Following Rules:

EEFC accounts follow rules set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

It's important to follow these rules to make sure that foreign exchange transactions are done transparently and legally, in line with the country's monetary policies.

What are the features of an EEFC account?

An EEFC (Exchange Earners' Foreign Currency) account in India is there to help people and businesses who earn money from other countries, especially through activities like international trade and export. This special account is designed to make foreign exchange transactions easier for those involved. The main goals and purposes of an EEFC account are:

Retaining Foreign Currency Earnings:

With an EEFC account, people can keep the money they earn in foreign currencies without having to change it into Indian rupees right away.

This gives them flexibility in managing and using their foreign money.

Mitigating Exchange Rate Risks:

By keeping foreign currency in an EEFC account, individuals and businesses can try to reduce the risks linked to changes in exchange rates.

They can choose to change their foreign money into Indian rupees when the exchange rates are good for them.

Simplifying International Transactions:

EEFC accounts make it easier to do business with other countries. Account holders can use their foreign money directly for specific transactions, like paying for imported goods under outward remittances from India, repaying foreign loans, or making other allowed payments.

Encouraging Foreign Exchange Earnings:

The presence of EEFC accounts motivates individuals and businesses to actively engage in activities that earn money from other countries.

How do you open an EEFC account as a business entity in India?

To begin the process of opening an EEFC (Exchange Earners' Foreign Currency) account for your business in India, adhere to these steps:

Choose a Bank:

Select a bank that provides EEFC accounts. Many reputable banks in India offer this service. Consider factors like the bank's reputation, services, and proximity to your business.

Contact the Chosen Bank:

Reach out to the business banking department or the relationship manager at the selected bank. Express your intention to open an EEFC account, either by visiting the bank or using official communication channels.

Documentation:

Although specific requirements may vary, generally, you would need:

  1. Business registration documents (e.g., Certificate of Incorporation, Memorandum, and Articles of Association).
  2. PAN (Permanent Account Number) of the business.
  3. KYC (Know Your Customer) documents for authorized signatories.
  4. Exporter-Importer Code (IEC) if applicable.
  5. A board resolution authorizing account opening and specifying account signatories.

Application Form:

Fill out the application form given by the bank to open an EEFC account. Make sure all information is correct and provide the necessary signatures.

Submission of Documents:

Submit the filled form and required documents to the bank. They may review and ask for more information if necessary.

Approval Process:

The bank will assess your application and documents. Upon approval, they will furnish details about your new EEFC account, including the account number.

Initial Deposit:

Make the initial deposit into the EEFC account. The minimum deposit requirement may vary among banks.

Start Using the Account:

Once the account is activated, you can commence using it for transactions involving foreign exchange earnings. You can hold and transact in foreign currencies as per the permissible usage defined by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Compliance with Regulations:

Ensure ongoing compliance with RBI regulations related to EEFC accounts. Stay informed about any changes in regulations that may impact the usage of the account.

What is the difference between EEFC and foreign currency account?

The main distinction between an EEFC (Exchange Earners' Foreign Currency) account and a regular foreign currency account lies in their intended use and the source of funds. Here are the key differences:

#1 Purpose and Eligibility:

EEFC Account:

  • Specifically designed for individuals and businesses in India earning foreign exchange through exports, international trade, or services to foreign clients.
  • Encourages retention of foreign currency earnings and facilitates transactions related to foreign exchange earnings.

Foreign Currency Account:

  • A regular foreign currency account permits individuals and businesses to retain foreign currencies and might not be bound by the same eligibility criteria related to foreign exchange earnings.

#2 Source of Funds:

EEFC Account:

  • Primarily meant to hold foreign currency earnings obtained through legitimate channels such as exports or foreign services.
  • Intended for funds earned in foreign currencies.

Foreign Currency Account:

  • Can be funded with foreign currency from various sources, including international transactions, personal savings in foreign currencies, or any legal means of acquiring foreign funds.

#3 Regulations and Usage:

EEFC Account:

  • Funds can be used for specific permissible transactions, such as imports, repayment of foreign loans, and other approved payments.

Foreign Currency Account:

  • While subject to certain regulations, offers more flexibility in terms of usage.
  • Funds can be used for international transactions, travel expenses, or any other legitimate purpose without the stringent restrictions associated with EEFC accounts.

#4 Incentives and Encouragement:

EEFC Account:

  • Encouraged by the RBI to promote and streamline foreign exchange earnings.
  • Serves as an incentive for businesses and individuals to contribute to India's foreign exchange reserves.

Foreign Currency Account:

  • Widely available but may not come with the same level of encouragement or incentives provided by the RBI for holding foreign exchange earnings in an EEFC account.

Key Pointers under EEFC Account:

  • SEZ Payments in Foreign Currency: When a company in the Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) trades with a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) company, it can use foreign currency for smoother transactions, promoting international trade.

  • Re-Crediting Unused Foreign Currency: The EEFC (Exchange Earners' Foreign Currency) account allows users to put back foreign currency that was taken out earlier but not used. This flexibility helps manage foreign funds efficiently.

  • Deposits from Share Conversion: In an EEFC account, users can add funds obtained by converting shares into American Depository Receipts (ADRs) or Global Depository Receipts (GDRs). Often part of the sponsored ADR/GDR scheme by the Government of India, these deposits enrich foreign currency reserves, providing businesses with a way to diversify holdings.

Limitations of an EEFC account

  1. An EEFC account can get money from different countries, but it can't accept money in the form of a foreign loan or foreign investment.

  1. Opening an EEFC account with a bank is a lot of work and takes a long time. Banks might need several weeks to say "yes" and make the account ready to use.

  1. Also, when you change foreign money into Indian rupees, the cost for this service is not always clear and can be quite high.

FAQ’s on EEFC Account

How much interest is paid on the EEFC account?

Interest rates on EEFC (Exchange Earners' Foreign Currency) accounts in India typically range from 0.5% to 2% per annum.

Can Indian residents and businesses open a foreign currency account outside India?

Yes. Individuals (including freelancers) can open and maintain foreign currency accounts overseas. 

What is the full form of PCFC?

In banking, the full form of PCFC is "Pre-shipment Credit in Foreign Currency." PCFC is a type of financial facility provided by banks to exporters to finance the purchase, processing, manufacturing, packing, and transportation of goods before shipment. 

Is it illegal to keep foreign currency in an EEFC account in India?

No, it is not illegal. Keeping foreign money in an EEFC account in India is okay. It's designed to help people and businesses who earn money from other countries.  The account lets them keep and use their foreign money, for example, to make purchases from other countries or pay back loans. So, it's not only legal but also meant to make handling foreign money easier for those who earn it.


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