Send Money to India
Each year, millions of people send money to India. They do so safely and easily using one of the many available money transfer services.
Sending money home to India is so popular that the country has the highest remittances in the world at US$27 Billion per year.
Most of the money sent to India comes from non-resident Indian (NRI) expats who send money back home to family and friends. Other money is sent to Indian small businesses, freelance workers, and others in exchange for products and services.
If you need to send money to India, this page outlines some of the most popular ways to transfer money - and recommends several reputable companies you might want to consider.
Note that the services and companies described here are not necessarily appropriate for individuals needing to send large sums of money overseas - for instance, to buy a property, to make an investment, or to relocate your residence.
Click here for more information on India money transfers.
There are a great many companies that can provide money transfer services to India for you. We recommend a few money transfer companies below for your convenience. These recommendations are based on a careful review of each company's qualifications, services, and pricing. If these firms do not meet your needs, you can easily find many other options via google.
Xoom is a rapidly growing online money transfer agent with worldwide operations. They have extensive capabilities and reach in India, including direct deposit capabilities with all banks in India, a relationship with Punjab National Bank (PNB) for local pickup at over 2,000 locations countrywide, and local delivery via Blue Dart in many areas.
Fees are very low for smaller amounts and larger money transfers are free. Xoom earns most of its money by charging a small exchange rate premium. Practically speaking, this means you pay a lower upfront fee than with, say, Western Union, but your recipient gets slightly fewer rupees. Total fees for Xoom are generally going to be somewhat lower than Western Union.
Choosing the right money transfer company goes arm-in-arm with choosing the best money transfer method for your needs.
Among the questions to ask are:
Other factors to consider are:
If you match your answers to the questions above against the money transfer options outlined in the prior section, you will have some idea what type of company you should choose. Once you know that, then you can compare specific companies for the best pricing, ease of use, and service availability.
There are many ways to transfer money to India. The options vary depending on the type of company you choose to handle your money transfer.
There are 3 main types of companies you can use:
Below is a description of the types of money transfer options each kind of company offers.
There are also a few other money transfer methods described here.
Money transfer agents are companies whose primary business is helping people move money from one place to another - whether domestically or internationally. Two well known money transfer agents are Xoom and Western Union. There are many other firms, however, even including local neighborhood shops that do business as transfer agents.
Transfer agents can send money in several ways depending on a) how the sender initiates the transfer, b) how the sender funds the transfer amount, and c) how the recipient receives the funds. Not all transfer agents offer all options noted below.
Options for initiating the transfer
Depending on the company used, the sender can initiate a money transfer in 3 different ways.
Sources of funds
The sender can typically fund their money transfer in 3 ways using a money transfer agent.
With some transfer agents, you may also be able to fund transfers using a Paypal or similar account, or with funds held in a personal account with the transfer agent.
Options for receiving funds
The sender can choose how the recipient will receive their funds. Again, there are three main options, depending on the company used.
Fees for money transfers via a transfer agent are generally paid by the sender. Specific fees will vary depending on which of the above combinations of options are chosen - and which company you use.
In addition to direct fees, money transfer agents may also earn money off the currency exchange rate they use. This is usually not a direct charge you will see, but it will affect the number of rupees your recipient gets. Exchange rate earnings accounts for how some transfer agents are able to offer higher value transfers for 'free'. Any reputable transfer agent will tell you the applicable exchange rate when you as you place your order.
The larger the sum you are sending overseas, the more focused you should be on the exchange rate. For smaller transfers, getting a lower exchange rates will not matter too much, but for amounts of several thousand dollars / pounds / euros or more, you want a favorable exchange rate - a rate close to the Interbank rate.
How long your transfer will take to complete also varies depending on the options selected. Transfers using bank funds will generally take longer than ones using credit cards. On-location pickup by the recipient can be quicker than waiting for money to clear via direct deposit into their account.
A transfer involving a credit card-funded transaction where the recipient picks it up personally could be completed in a matter of minutes. A bank-to-bank transfer could take anywhere from a day to a few days. But there are no hard and fast rules, so you should check with the company.
Online payments companies, such as PayPal, Moneybookers, and ePay, are primarily set up to facilitate payment for goods and services by customers, but they can also be used to transfer money between individuals. This is typically done via an 'email money transfer'.
With an email money transfer, you send money to other people using their email address. You don't actually send any money via email, the sender just uses the recipient's email address as a means to uniquely designate where the funds should be sent. Sort of like how your account number uniquely identifies your bank account.
This approaches requires both the sender and the recipient to have accounts with the same payments provider - and the transfer of funds is basically simply the moving of funds from one account to another within the same company.
As a result, email money transfers are have the distinct advantage of being relatively instantaneous. However, this does not include any additional time that may be required by the recipient to get the money from their payments account into their bank account and then, possibly, into cash.
The sender can fund the transfer via their existing account balance, a credit card, or a direct debit from their bank.
The recipient receives funds into their existing account. From there, the recipient can transfer the money to their bank account or use it to make a payment from their account. In general with a payments company, the recipient cannot receive the funds directly into their bank account or as cash.
Email money transfer fees are generally paid by the recipient - which may be inappropriate in some transfer situations. Fees are usually charged as a percentage of the amount transferred. Charges are in the range of 2%-5% of the principal amount. There may also be an explicit currency exchange fee - typically in the 2%-3% range - and there may be certain per transaction fees, as well. You need to check with your provider for specifics. But as an example, we recently did a US$300 international transfer via PayPal and the fee was US$12.
Using banks to handle your money transfers is probably the safest and most secure method. However, banks can also be relatively slower than some other means - and, depending on the bank, potentially more expensive.
Note that many Indian banks, such as HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, and State Bank of India, among many others, have special banking services for non-resident Indians (NRI). These services often include discounted or free money transfer arrangements. Many go well beyond simple money transfers to include prepaid credit cards, joint credit cards, ATM access to your funds to authorized individuals, and so forth. These types of accounts, know as Rupee checking, savings, and other accounts, are well suited to NRI with on-going money transfer and payment needs.
In addition to the above companies and methods, there are a handful of other options that are available from various companies.
Please note that specific transfer options, pricing, and other service features vary from company to company. Please check the directly with companies for their particulars.
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