• opening a bank account in india

This is India! (twelve)

Welcome back to This is India! I always have funny/weird stories about India to share with friends or family when I talk to them. This is just meant to be an honest portrayal about my life in India through short anecdotes. I also share here what I’ve been up to online outside Werkenntwen.

What I was up to other than here:

  • I didn’t do a lick of writing outside of this blog this week… except in Hindi class! I had class every day this week & I’m loving it. The hardest part is that I’m not learning reading and writing, because sanskrit is hard to teach (according to my teacher). She will tell us a sentence and what it means, and we have to write it down phonetically to use for studying and repeat her. I have a hard time hearing the new words & she has to repeat herself 5 times before I really hear it correctly.. Very different. The teacher says I’m “slow” and “not very good” ha ha ha! Ben, she says, is much better.
  • Also, I am starting a NEW SERIES on my blog. If you want to participate (and I hope you do) please e-mail me and I’ll give you the information.

Now your story,

I was in the bank (I suppose I won’t say which one) right at closing time trying to wire money to someone. I had just come from the police station to submit my C form (anywhere you stay in India you fill one out, even in our own home) so I had my passport with me.

The bank teller saw my passport and said, “why don’t you open a bank account?” I told him I didn’t think I could open a bank account in India without OCI or PIO.

He flipped through a little bit, checking my new and old Indian visas. He told me that I could and got me pretty excited. This would mean I could wire money money from home, online, and not deal with Mapusa traffic. It would also mean I’d have an account to use Indian websites that don’t take foreign cards, like the official train-booking site. I could even take out a loan (not that I want to), but it’s still very cool.

Then he added, “yes, it’s perfect, no problem… just little thing… you have to close your account every 180 days. When you come back to India you just re-open the account”.

Per my visa requirements, I do have to exit every 180 days at least and re-enter. It’s a pain in the ass. So, if I have an account full of money, when I close it out for a visa run, I have a bunch of cash on me or left at my house?

I told him that just seemed silly and I wasn’t going to bother. Why should I?

He said, “because” he started with a sneaky smile,  “I get commission EVERY time someone opens an account” with an eager head wobble he said “and you can open an account many many times!”

It was pretty funny; I took his card and told him I’d consider it.

This is India!


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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Hidden in a Book August 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Now, that IS a funny story.

    Is there a way for you to get a more permanent visa?

    • Rachel Jones August 22, 2014 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      I have a pretty long one now, but even on a long visa if you’re not of indian origin you have to exit :/

  2. Debz August 22, 2014 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel

    I would like more information on your New Series.



  3. Emily from Let's Roam Wild August 22, 2014 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Hahaha love this story. Sneaky sneaky! I can’t believe you’re taking Hindi! That’s awesome.

  4. Justine August 22, 2014 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Ha, at least he was honest!! That’s great that you’re taking Hindi classes. Now that I’m living in Jakarta I’m thinking of taking Bahasa lessons, but given that I’m horrible at languages (no joke) I’m sure they’d regard me as “slow” too!

    • Rachel Jones August 25, 2014 at 11:05 am - Reply

      It’s ok we’ll both learn slow and retain it that much better:)

  5. Empty Rucksack August 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Once you open the Account, the offer will be for credit cards. It just keeps adding and as a rule never give your phone number, they will pester you till you change your number

  6. Kendra (the Escapologist) August 22, 2014 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Love the story. At least he told you up front! He wasn’t trying to be super sneaky about it. Only a little sneaky.

  7. Rika | Cubicle Throwdown August 23, 2014 at 4:08 am - Reply

    Hey, kudos to the guy for admitting it at least! Loving these stories :)

  8. Veena August 23, 2014 at 8:47 am - Reply

    That’s a great story! I have an OCI card and so opened an NRI account in Bangalore and had the WORST time trying to close it out when I moved back to the States — the lady filling out the form for me got all the way to the last page, asked for my PAN card number, and then, when I said I didn’t have one because I’m an NRI and therefore not an Indian citizen, informed me that I couldn’t transfer my money to a non-ICICI account without a valid PAN card. It was a pain in the ass, and I eventually just had to transfer the money to my friends’ account, and now I just use that whenever I’m in India, but it was horribly annoying. So unless it’s a foreign bank, DON’T DO IT. It’s not worth the hassle!

    • Rachel Jones August 25, 2014 at 11:08 am - Reply

      omgsh what a hassle! That’s nuts… I’m definitely not going to open an account.

  9. Jo August 24, 2014 at 12:21 am - Reply

    Clever guy! You have to play the system whenever you can!

    Good luck with the Hindi classes, it’s great that you’re learning the local language. I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it after a while!

  10. Darcey August 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Hmm, I’m curious why you’d have to close and re-open – it must have to do with the visa type. We’re here on work/spouse visas and have had accounts open for 4+ years!

    • Rachel Jones August 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      Yes it is because of visa type! I have a business visa.

  11. Agness August 25, 2014 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Your visa deal is pretty good. Once, when I was in China, some foreigners had to leave the country for a day every 30 days. That was a nightmare!

  12. Kate L. August 26, 2014 at 8:53 am - Reply

    I think it’s great that you’re learning Hindi – especially while you’re living where so many speakers are available to help you! You should check out http://www.fluentin3months.com, which is a website full of info on how to learn new languages.

    And I’m interested in your new series – please let me know more!

  13. Oksana December 22, 2014 at 1:44 am - Reply

    Your post made me smile :)
    It reminded me my post on FB a while ago:

    How to open a bank account & apply for a debit card in ‪#‎India‬ (HDFC Bank):
    Go to a bank with all documents possible.
    Wait 2 weeks.
    Go to a bank again and make a huge drama- why nothing is done yet.
    Get an answer:”It will take some time, mam..”
    Write a complaint to head office.
    Receive a call from a bank that in 2 days everything will be ready.
    Receive an answer from head office with apologies.
    Get a message from a private number with your bank account number.
    Go to bank again. Yell again asking for a debit card.
    Get the same answer that it will take some time.
    Got a phone call that card will be delivered home when you supposed to be out of city.
    Get a question if somebody can receive it for me (Srsly?!!)
    Wait one more week.
    Go to a bank again. Ask for your card.
    Get an answer that tomorrow it will be delivered home before working hours.
    Call to bank. Ask for your card. Get an answer that card was delivered, but I was not at home anymore.
    Ask to deliver it earlier.
    Wait a day more.
    Get a package with welcoming kit from a bank! (Finally! It took only 1 month)) (P.S. with no presenting any personal ID)
    Open it.
    Find inside: pin code for internet banking, pin code for tele-banking, checkbook. No card.
    Go to bank again. Yell. Ask for your card. See them clapping their eyes and telling: “It will take some time, mam” ..
    Good luck to you!:)

    • Rachel Jones December 22, 2014 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      hahahah wow that is so funny and so typical! thanks for sharing.

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