Best Ways for NRIs to Send Money to India
For NRIs seeking efficient money transfer methods to India, exploring reputable remittance services, comparing exchange rates and fees, while also considering convenience and security factors, can ensure seamless and cost-effective transactions tailored to their needs.
March 14, 2024
6 mins

Have you struggled looking for the best exchange rates and lowest fees while transferring money back home?

Sending money to India is a common necessity for NRIs, who often struggle to find the most reliable and efficient methods to transfer funds back home. 

According to a World Bank report in Dec 2023, India is projected to become the largest recipient of remittances, experiencing an anticipated surge of 12.4% to reach $125 billion in 2023 (likely to be $135 billion in 2024).

With numerous options available, choosing a mode that aligns with your preferences is essential, offering a balance of speed, cost-effectiveness, convenience, and coverage.

Bank Transfers

A Convenient and Secure Option

Wire Transfer

Bank transfers are one of the most popular methods for NRIs to send money to India. They offer a secure and convenient way to transfer funds directly to a recipient's bank account. 

You can use your bank account abroad to wire transfer money directly to the recipient’s bank account in India. 

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) transfer is an offline money transfer facility available at bank branches.

A wire transfer via SWIFT usually takes up to 48 hours for the money to be credited to the beneficiary account.

Benefits

✅Direct and secure transfer

✅Reliable and widely accepted

✅Can handle large transactions

Limitations

👎Typically slower compared to other methods

👎High transaction fees

👎Exchange rates may not be favourable

Online Banking

Online banking is a convenient and fast way of sending money to India, as it allows you to transfer money from your bank account abroad to the recipient’s bank account in India using the Internet. 

You can use your bank’s website or mobile app to initiate the transfer and track the status of the transfer online. Online banking usually offers better exchange rates and lower fees than wire transfers via SWIFT, eliminating the need for intermediaries.

Benefits

✅Direct and secure transfer

✅No intermediaries

Limitations

👎Have an online banking account

👎Need recipient's bank details (account number, IFSC code, and branch name)

👎Requires a partnership between your foreign bank and the recipient's bank in India for online transfers

Money Transfer Operators

Fast and Efficient Transfers at Competitive Rates

Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) have gained significant popularity among NRIs for their speed and competitive exchange rates. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram specialise in facilitating international money transfers.

MTOs offer various options, including online transfers, cash pickups, and mobile wallet deposits. They often have extensive networks of agent locations, allowing recipients to collect the transferred funds easily. Money transfer services usually offer better exchange rates and lower fees than banks, as they use the mid-market rate and charge a transparent fee.

Benefits

✅Faster processing times

✅Competitive exchange rates

✅User-friendly interfaces

Limitations

👎Fees may vary depending on the mode of transfer, amount, and destination (some services can be expensive)

👎Limited coverage in some regions

Online Payment Platforms and Apps\

Tailored Solutions for International Remittances

Online payment platforms have emerged as efficient channels for you to send money to India, offering dedicated services for international remittances. Platforms like PayPal, TransferWise, and Remitly cater specifically to these needs.

These platforms provide competitive exchange rates and lower transfer fees than traditional methods. Integration with local banking systems ensures seamless fund transfers to Indian bank accounts. Some platforms allow sending money directly from your debit or credit card.

Benefits

✅Convenient and accessible from smartphones

✅Quick transactions

✅Some apps offer competitive rates

Limitations

👎Limitations on the maximum transfer amount

👎Service availability may vary based on your country of residence

Foreign Currency Checks - Bank Drafts and Checks

Oldest Way of Money Transfer

Foreign currency checks are paper documents that allow you to send money to India in the form of a check or a bank draft. 

A check is a written order to a bank to pay a specified amount of money to a person or an organisation. A bank draft is a check issued by a bank on its own account, which guarantees the payment of the amount. 

You can obtain a foreign currency check from your bank abroad and mail it to the recipient in India. The recipient can then deposit the check in their bank account in India and receive the money after it is cleared.

Benefits

✅Secure and tangible form of payment

Limitations

👎Longer processing times

👎Potential for loss or theft

👎Higher fees for processing foreign checks

At A Glance

Debt Mutual Fund Information
Mode of Transfer Speed Cost Convenience
Bank Transfers Slow High Moderate
Online Money Transfer Moderate to Fast Varies High
Money Transfer Operators Fast Varies High
Online Payment Platforms Fast Low to Moderate High
Foreign Currency Checks Slow High Low

Sending money to India from abroad is now simpler than ever, thanks to a wide range of options available. Remember to consider factors such as exchange rates, fees, transfer times, and security before choosing a provider.

Best Ways to Send Money to India: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the most popular methods to send money to India?

Popular methods for transferring money include bank transfers, online money transfer services, and remittance apps.

Are there any fees associated with international money transfers?

Most money transfer platforms charge fees - flat rate or a percentage of the transfer amount. However, certain service providers may offer fee-free transfers up to a specified limit.

How long does it typically take for the recipient in India to receive the funds?

The processing time varies depending on the method chosen. Bank transfers may take 1-5 business days, while online services and mobile apps often provide instant or same-day transfers.

Is it safe to send large amounts of money to India online?

Using reputable and secure transfer services that employ encryption and adhere to regulatory standards ensures the safety of transactions.

What information is required to send money to an individual in India?

To initiate a transfer, you typically need the recipient's full name, bank account details (including the IFSC code), and contact information.

Are there any limits to how much money I can send to India at one time?

Transfer limits differ based on the transfer mode, with banks usually having higher limits and some online services imposing daily or monthly limits.

What should I do if my transfer is delayed or doesn't go through?

If any issue arises, you can contact the customer service of the transfer service.

Can I schedule recurring transfers to India?

Yes. Many online services and banks provide the facility to schedule recurring transfers.

How can I send money to India without a bank account?

PayPal and Xoom enable money transfers to India without requiring a bank account. Once recipients set up a PayPal or Xoom account, you can transfer the money to their account.

How do exchange rates impact the amount the recipient gets?

Exchange rates determine the value of one currency in relation to another. A favourable exchange rate can result in the recipient receiving more rupees for each dollar sent, while unfavourable rates may reduce the amount received.

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