It is possible to legally do international payment from Nepal. By the way, is quite hard and takes a lot of paperwork. There are different ways of doing cross-border payments in Nepal. But there are many restrictions. Nepal Rastra Bank only allows people and organizations with certain permits to make such payments. In this article, we are also talking about making international online payments as well. Online payments are also possible because banks do legally allow paying in USD with international cards. Let us start by discussing the current scenario, restrictions, requirements, and processes.
International payment happens in US Dollars worldwide. Thus, a country needs to have a foreign currency reserve. A country earns USD from exports, selling service, remittance, and other gains. Nepal has a very small foreign currency reserve because of the smaller export size. And on top of that our import is very high so we need USD. This is why NRB has put strict rules on dollars flowing outside. It is the main reason why we can’t easily get international payment options in Nepal.
There are many restrictions, but NRB allows international payment in Nepal. Business houses, organizations, service sector, importers all pay in USD while importing different things and commodities. Students send fees to colleges abroad, pay for exams like GRE, CAT, IELTS, etc. There are many ways of doing this. There are several methods and mechanisms. For example, there are payment methods like LC (Letter of Credit), TT (Telegraph Transfer), OD (Over Draft), DAP (Document Against Payment), DAA (Document Against Acceptance) and international credit and debit cards. Every channel is different and has a unique requirement and purpose.
International USD Cards
NRB relaxed some rules and allowed people who earn in USD to make online purchases using cards from 2014. This means there is an international payment gateway in Nepal, and we can use it. However, the hurdle comes in getting such international credit and debit cards in Nepal. Another main difficulty is getting the FCY (Foreign Currency) account. Many banks provide international Visa and MasterCards as prepaid, debit, and credit cards to customers. These are USD denominated, and they can be used for international online payment from Nepal.
Customers need to fulfill few criteria to have eligibility for international payment in Nepal. First is having Visa and air ticket to get travel cards. The second is one should either have a permit from NRB to get convertible FCY service and thirdly regular income in USD. The banks request a lot of paperwork and documents to open a bank account and issue credit cards. These are easy for people who earn regularly in USD and have a salary slip. Various business and service sectors who deal with tourists can also get these cards. These international cards can be linked with PayPal account in Nepal as well. Then that Paypal account can be used to make payments too. For more details read the NRB Forex unified circular.
Many banks in Nepal have their own USD credit card and they use it to pay for various purposes. This includes exams like GRE, TOEFL, SAT, IELTS, GATE, etc. The banks charge the current exchange rate and some extra processing charges. They also pay for Visa charges and other smaller things. Big payments are made by other payment channels like SWIFT transfer etc.
SWIFT is also known as wire transfer, and it is a very popular method of online international money transfer. Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) network has a large number of banks and financial institutions. They work to transfer money overseas. Nepali banks do offer SWIFT or wire transfer to its customers. People can directly send money to the recipient’s bank account using their detail and SWIFT code. However, it is not easy to get this service. People need to show different documents and permits for this. Many students who study abroad and their families use this to pay and deposit college fees. They also use it to send money for various other purposes. In Nepal, many freelancers and bloggers use SWIFT to receive money and payment in their bank account from abroad. Almost all Class A banks have this service.
Also Read: Best Online Wallets in Nepal
Letter of Credit (LC)
LC payment is used for bigger payments in USD. There are very complex and banks don’t do these often. It is mostly used in big cross-border and overseas import. This is done for high-value cargo and goods. In simple language bank of seller and bank of buyer work in this. The bank of the seller gives the guarantee of payment on receiving the goods as ordered.
At first, the buyer and seller agree to do trade. Then the buyer or importer asks its bank to issue a letter of credit for the purchase. This is accepted by the seller’s or exporter’s bank and the process moves on. When the goods are received the banks do the transfer of money. This is mainly used in international payments for large shipments of goods and imports. In Nepal, the importer or buyer pays in equivalent NPR but the bank pays to the seller in USD.
Telegraphic Transfer (TT)
It is an international fund transfer system that is used in Nepal for payment of importing goods. Small businesses and importers use this. The banks provide this service under various conditions. Importers need to show different proofs and documents for this. The maximum ceiling of Telegraphic Transfer (TT) is not that high. It changes regularly each year with NRB’s strategy and policies. Nepalese business organizations use TT quite often for low-value payments. It is secure and easier to obtain. Banks ask for Proforma Invoice, tax clearance, HS Code, cost, and custom entry point details. It is very useful to business because they pay in NPR and banks transfer in USD.
Documents Against Payment (DAP)
It is also a safe international payment procedure. NRB requires importers and buyers to follow certain guidelines for Documents Against Payment (D/P) service. Importers need to show import payment documents to the bank for this. NRB states that payment providers need to follow the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce. There are many document requirements for this. A buyer needs to show company registration, tax clearance certificate, invoice, import details, and a few other documents. All documents related to import should come through the banking channel for this. There is also Documents Against Acceptance (DAA) service available. Its details are in the NRB Unified Circular. The circular is regularly updated and related personals should keep updated with it.
We can see that there are many ways to make international payment from Nepal. But we know that many people want personal ways like having a personal international USD card. Yes, that is possible to have. We have whole another article on that topic. But as we told earlier, the criteria and requirements are very high. Only people with regular USD earning proof like salary slip can have them or a person who is going abroad. These cards definitely work online and in PayPal as well. Read our another article to know more about PayPal in Nepal. For other small payments like exam fees, banks do it easily on request.
Besides that, business organizations and importers can use various banking ways. There are different methods according to need and procedure. Big and crucial shipments use LC payment from the bank. Other small importers use the TT method. Then there is D/P and D/A as well. All of these are heavily regulated by NRB and goes under tight scrutiny. These are put there for security and managing the outflow of foreign reserves. Nepal is trying to improve and grow the forex reserve for sustaining the economy. When the condition of forex reserve improves the restrictions may also loosen. After that, the payments may become easily accessible for all.