Payments company PayPal said that it has digitised the FIRC (Foreign Inward Remittance Certificate) application process for Indian sellers and freelancers by enabling the payment of the FIRC fee via NEFT as opposed to the previous process of a demand draft.
The company said, with the new process, its sellers receiving payments from across the globe can apply for an FIRC online by filling a form on its website, eliminating the need to go through the paperwork needed for a demand draft. According to Paypal, earlier, the process required Indian sellers and freelancers to visit their beneficiary bank branch to request an FIRC, get a demand draft for the FIRC fee and then apply for an FIRC to Citibank.
Now, sellers can simply fill an application form on the PayPal website and pay the fee by NEFT. PayPal will directly share the details with Citibank for the FIRC. According to the company, the certificate can be directly collected by the sellers and freelancers from their beneficiary banks.
FIRC is a document that acts as a testimonial for all the inward remittances entering India. Most statutory authorities accept this document as proof that an individual or a business has received payment in foreign currency from outside the country.
Last year, PayPal had announced a 50% reduction in the FIRC fee and rolled out a process for a consolidated FIRC, while the earlier process required one FIRC for each transaction, the company said.
A January 2018 report by PayPal stated that about 10 million freelancers are currently working out of India, among them 74% have PayPal accounts. The report revealed that a significant amount of work for the Indian freelancers comes from Australia, the US, and the UK, while 23% of the surveyed freelancers earn $94,700 per year. The report was based on a study conducted with 500 Indian freelancers in their local languages.