RBI Revises Guidelines for Money Transfer Service Scheme

A.P. (DIR Series) Circular No. 89

March 12, 2013


All Authorised Persons, who are Indian Agents under Money Transfer Service Scheme

Madam / Sir,

Money Transfer Service Scheme Revised Guidelines

Attention of all Authorised Persons (APs), who are Indian Agents under the Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS) is invited to the Notification dated June 4, 2003 on MTSS, as amended from time to time and the specific permission accorded to them under FEMA, 1999 by the Reserve Bank to undertake inward cross-border money transfer activities in India, through tie-up arrangements with Overseas Principals.

2. The MTSS Guidelines have been revised in consultation with the Government of India and the revised MTSS Guidelines are in the Annex-I.

3. All other instructions issued vide the said Notification ibid, as amended from time to time remain unchanged.

4. These guidelines would also be applicable mutatis mutandis to all Sub Agents of the Indian Agents under MTSS and it will be the sole responsibility of the APs (Indian Agents) to ensure that their Sub Agents also adhere to these guidelines.

5. Authorised Persons (Indian Agents) may bring the contents of this circular to the notice of their constituents concerned.

6. The directions contained in this Circular have been issued under Sections 10(4) and 11(1) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (42 of 1999) and are without prejudice to permissions/approvals if any, required under any other law.

Yours faithfully,

(Rudra Narayan Kar)
Chief General Manager–in-Charge


Annexures are available for download



Revised Guidelines on Money Transfer Service Scheme



Guidelines for permitting(authorising) Indian Agents under Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS):

1. Introduction

1.1Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS) is a quick and easy way of transferring personal remittances from abroad to beneficiaries in India. Only inward personal remittances into India such as remittances towards family maintenance and remittances favouring foreign tourists visiting India are permissible. No outward remittance from India is permissible under MTSS. The system envisages a tie-up between reputed money transfer companies abroad known as Overseas Principals and agents in India known as Indian Agents who would disburse funds to beneficiaries in India at ongoing exchange rates. The Indian Agent is not allowed to remit any amount to the Overseas Principal. Under MTSS the remitters and the beneficiaries are individuals only.

Statutory Basis

1.2 In terms of the powers granted under Section 10 (1) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999, the Reserve Bank of India may accord necessary permission (authorization) to any person to act as an Indian Agent under the Money Transfer Service Scheme. No person can handle the business of cross-border money transfer to India in any capacity unless specifically permitted by the Reserve Bank.

1.3 These guidelines lay down basic conditions for grant of permission (authorisation) to Indian Agents and renewal of existing MTSS permissions given to them. These guidelines also include guidelines for Overseas Principals and appointment of Sub-Agents by the Indian Agents. The guidelines are not exhaustive and other relevant information, security considerations, etc., will be factored into the decision of permitting an entity. These guidelines will apply to all applications pending with the Reserve Bank for new arrangements, renewal of permissions given to Indian Agents, etc. Existing Indian Agents who do not meet the eligibility norms will have to meet the norms in a phased manner with the approval of the Reserve Bank or wind up the business of money transfer immediately.

2. Guidelines

Entry Norms

  1. The applicant to become an Indian Agent should be an Authorised Dealer Category-I bank or an Authorised Dealer Category-II or a Full Fledged Money Changer (FFMC), as defined in the A.P. (DIR Series) Circular No. 25 [A.P. (FL Series) Circular No. 02] dated March 6, 2006, or a Scheduled Commercial Bank or the Department of Posts.
  2. The applicant should have minimum Net Owned Funds of Rs.50 lakh.

Note :- (i) Owned Funds :- (Paid-up Equity Capital + Free reserves + Credit balance in Profit & Loss A/c) minus (Accumulated balance of loss, Deferred revenue expenditure and Other intangible assets)

(ii) Net Owned Funds :- Owned funds minus the amount of investments in shares of its subsidiaries, companies in the same group, all (other) non-banking financial companies as also the book value of debentures, bonds, outstanding loans and advances made to and deposits with its subsidiaries and companies in the same group in excess of 10 per cent of the Owned funds.

3. Procedure for making Applications to the Reserve Bank

Application for necessary permission to act as an Indian Agent may be made to the Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Forex Markets Division, Foreign Exchange Department, Reserve Bank of India, Central Office, Amar Building, Fort, Mumbai-400 001 and should be accompanied by the documents pertaining to its proposed Overseas Principal, as detailed in Section II below and the following documents:

  1. A declaration to the effect that no proceedings have been initiated by / are pending with the Directorate of Enforcement (DoE) / Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) or any other law enforcing authorities, against the applicant or its directors and that no criminal cases are initiated / pending against the applicant or its directors.
  2. A declaration to the effect that proper policy framework on KYC / AML / CFT, in accordance with the guidelines issued vide A.P.(DIR Series) Circular No. 18[ A.P.(FL/RL Series) Circular No. 05] dated November 27, 2009, as amended from time to time, will be put in place on obtaining permission (authorization) of the Reserve Bank and before commencement of money transfer operations.
  3. Name and address of the Overseas Principal with whom the MTSS will be conducted.
  4. Full details of the operation of the scheme by the Overseas Principal.
  5. List of branches in India and their addresses where MTSS will be conducted by the applicant.
  6. Estimated volume of business per month/year under the scheme.
  7. Audited Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Account for the last two financial years of the applicant, if available or a copy of the latest audited accounts, with a certificate from Statutory Auditors regarding the position of the Net Owned Funds as on the date of application.
  8. Memorandum and Articles of Association of the applicant where either a provision exists for taking up money transfer business or an appropriate amendment thereto has been filed with the Company Law Board.
  9. Confidential Report from at least two of the applicant’s bankers in sealed cover.
  10. Details of sister/ associated concerns of the applicant functioning in the financial sector.
  11. A certified copy of the board resolution for undertaking money transfer business by the applicant.
  12. A letter from the proposed Overseas Principal, agreeing to enter into tie up with the applicant and also to provide necessary collateral.

4. Collateral requirement

Collateral equivalent to 3 days’ average drawings or US $ 50,000, whichever is higher, may be kept by the Overseas Principal in favour of the Indian Agent with a designated bank in India. The minimum amount of US $ 50,000 shall be kept as a foreign currency deposit while the balance amount may be kept in the form of a Bank Guarantee. The adequacy of collateral should be reviewed by Indian Agents at quarterly intervals on the basis of remittances received during the past three months.

5. Other conditions

  1. Only cross-border personal remittances, such as, remittances towards family maintenance and remittances favouring foreign tourists visiting India shall be allowed under this arrangement. Donations/contributions to charitable institutions/trusts, trade related remittances, remittance towards purchase of property, investments or credit to NRE Accounts shall not be made through this arrangement.
  2. A cap of US $ 2500 has been placed on individual remittance under the scheme. Amounts up to Rs.50,000/- may be paid in cash to a beneficiary in India. Any amount exceeding this limit shall be paid by means of account payee cheque/ demand draft/ payment order, etc., or credited directly to the beneficiary’s bank account only. However, in exceptional circumstances, where the beneficiary is a foreign tourist, higher amounts may be disbursed in cash. Full details of such transactions should be kept on record for scrutiny by the auditors/ inspectors.
  3. Only 30 remittances can be received by a single individual beneficiary under the scheme during a calendar year.

6. Criteria for RBI decisions

(i) The Indian Agents need to have strength and efficiency to function profitably in a highly competitive environment. As a number of Indian Agents are already functioning, permission (authorization) will be issued on a very selective basis to those who meet the above requirements, have necessary outreach and who are likely to conform to the best international and domestic standards of customer service and efficiency.

(ii) The Indian Agent should commence its money transfer operations under the scheme within a period of six months from the date of issuance of permission(authorization) and inform the Central Office and the Regional Office concerned of the Foreign Exchange Department of the Reserve Bank.


The other sections can be downloaded from the links in the download section below


Tags: Directorate of Revenue IntelligenceForeign Exchange Management ActMoney Transfer Service SchemeReserve Bank of India

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