Saw an interesting ad on my site today. It was to a sign-up page for an ICICI HiSAVE Bank account. I have never heard of them before, but they offer a high-interest rate savings account (HiSAVE) paying 3.5% (ING Direct Canada is currently paying 3.0%) and they offer a one-time $20 credit for signing up. Here is the fine-print on the $20 bonus:

$20 Bonus Offer valid only for new HiSAVE Savings Account opened online, by phone or by mail. Accounts opened through branches are not eligible. Limit one bonus per new account (including joint account). Minimum initial deposit of $100 required. Deposit bonus for U.S. Dollar HiSAVE Savings Account is paid in U.S. Dollar. Bonus will be credited within 30 days from the date the initial deposit is cleared and the account is officially opened by ICICI Bank Canada in its sole discretion. Application criteria apply. Offer may be modified or cancelled at any time. May not be combined with other offers. Only Canadian Dollar deposits are covered by CDIC.

What is ICICI bank? Apparently ICI is India’s second largest bank. You can read all about ICICI and its history here. Will ING Direct soon outsource it’s customer service department overseas in an effort to compete with a company like ICI, based out of India? Or does ICICI have a customer service department based in Canada?

11 thoughts on “ICICI Bank”

  1. Interesting that ICICI bank offers a $20 credit for signing up. Too bad that they do not offer the same for me in India !!. BTW, i do not think that ICICI is offering better rates because they have outsourced to India though. Maybe, for them 3.5 % is a way to attract customers for what is virtually an unkown entity in Canada.



  2. Prasanth,

    Actually I was thinking that too (“Maybe, for them 3.5 % is a way to attract customers for what is virtually an unkown entity in Canada”) but forgot to mention it. ING has beeng at 3% for a while I think their interest rates will probably rise pretty soon as well. It may be purely promotional, much like ING’s 3% promotion last year when their rates were still at 2.5% or something.

  3. Why do you say “They don’t like you moving your money around too much?” Is it because of the 10 day holds on deposits?

    I don’t mind the hold that much. I care more about the delay in transferring money after the hold is passed. For example, how long it take to get money from Achieva into my PC Financial accounts if I initiated a transfer.

    The biggest advantage I see with Achieva is this one: “Bill payments are made easy through Achieva Touchtone or Achieva Online.” I have always wished that ING Direct had bill payments but unfortunately they don’t. It would allow me to charge a flight to my credit card for example and then pay it off immediately using funds from a high-interest savings account. The second advantage over ICICI at least, is that they appear to be a Canadian company. It’s not often you hear of a Canada-wide company operating out of Winnepeg by the way. Nice to see a company that isn’t based in the greater golden horseshoe.

  4. They only reason I said that is that Achieva basically give you 1 free transaction a month (whether that is a cheque, bill payment, transfer, etc…). After that, you have to pay for each transaction.

    At ING Direct, you can move your money back and forth between your bank account as much as you like. Of course, you can’t write cheques or do bill payments. I guess it all depends on what you are looking for in the service.

  5. Thanks Joe! Talk about fine print! I can’t see that anywhere. All I see is “With an Achieva savings account you have chequing privileges with one free cheque per month.”

  6. I use Outlook Financial for cash savings and GIC’s. About the same rates as Achieva (3.65% savings currently), one free check per month. Also gives a debit card but charges to use it I think ( i’ve never used it!).

  7. Prasanth,

    Actually ICICI is entirely based out of India:

    “For the overseas markets, ICICI has a unique strategy. The bank has successfully reduced operating costs by doing all processing and back office work in India. It maintains only a front office customer interface in overseas locations. These cost savings help the bank to offer higher rates on deposits”

    from Wikipedia article on ICICI Bank.

  8. Dave,

    ICICI may very well be outsourcing all its back office operations to India but i do not think that it is the only reason for them to offer higher rate of interest. I’m sure that others like INGDIRECT also outsource their back office operations.

    I do have my broking and savings (something like a current account for you) with ICICI in India . Their website is excellent but the call in service has been so – so. Sometimes you end up waiting for 7 to 8 minutes on the phone to talk to the call center operator. I’m not sure how their service is for non-Inidan customers – they operate seperate call centers for Indian and non-Indian customers.



  9. Prasanth, 7 or 8 minutes isn’t that bad. I might create an account at ICICI one of these days just to try it out and see what their website is like.

  10. Dave,

    Their website – the Indian facing one atleast is great. I have never visited their bank branch till now – even for opening my account (They send someone to my home). I can transfer money to any bank anywhere in India online (free of cost), ask for a cheque book and get it delvered to my home, invest in mutual funds and government bonds, Shares, apply for IPO’s, get a demand draft delivered to any one in India – online at no additional cost. Thatis what i like about them. As for the call center, 7 to 8 minutes is not bad? Well, i get much faster responses from other bank call centers – Citi Bank among them in India.



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