Online money transfer companies usually offer the lowest fees and the most competitive exchange rates, often beating your local bank by a long shot. You’ll need to send cash if your recipient doesn’t have an account with a supported bank, so compare options to find the best deal for your situation.
Send money to India with XE
XE has fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in 4 steps:
Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and preferred payment method.
Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If transferring to a bank, you’ll need their Indian bank account details.
Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to India. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.
What’s the best way to send money to India?
Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to India. Some offer cash pickup in as little as a few minutes, while others seamlessly transfer to bank accounts. Banks, PayPal and other options are available but come with high fees, weak rates and longer turnaround times.
Digital money transfer services
Companies like OFX and CurrencyTransfer specialize in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s Indian bank account, often in as little as a day or two.
Services like MoneyGram allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in India — often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, you’ll pay for the convenience in weak exchange rates and high fees. If a cash pickup is necessary, compare MoneyGram to digital services like WorldRemit or Remitly when possible.
Indian rupees are a popular currency, so your local bank may be able to exchange them. If your bank supports Indian rupees, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 to India
Let’s say you need to send $1,000 CAD to INR, to family in India. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of April 30, 2020.
Digital money transfer service
$50 + additional correspondent bank fees
1 CAD = 53.9124 INR
1 CAD = 53.0168 INR
1 CAD = 52.4742 INR
Slowest and most expensive
The bank option ends up being both the slowest and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient. If you go with the digital money transfer service, your recipient ends up with INR 3,794 more than the bank offers. If speed is crucial, a cash transfer can typically have your transfer to India in as little as 15 minutes.
How to get the most out of your money transfer to India
Weigh costs and fees against convenience, and learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to India to meet your needs:
Exchange rates. The CAD to INR relationship fluctuates often, so using a service that allows you to lock-in exchange prices may help you save money down the line.
Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger exchange rate.
Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the number of Indian rupees you’re sending.
Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to India.
Minimum limits. Average incomes vary widely between Canada and India, which means companies with high minimums transfers may not be your best choice.
Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to an Indian bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.
Emergency cash transfer
When it’s more important to get your money to India quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes. You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees are higher than other methods.
Cash transfer services can help you if you’re unbanked or marginally banked. If you don’t have a bank account, look for a local company that supports storefronts for cash payments. These services include agent locations in other countries that allow your recipient to pick up cash without a bank account.
India’s exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weaker currency. India’s exchange rate is flexible compared to the Canadian dollar, which means it sometimes shifts a few dollars a day, if not more. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in India
To send money to India from Canada, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in India may be different by company.
Documents to send money from Canada
To send money from the US to India, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
Identification. Most services require a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID. Some services allow you to send transfers without ID, but they may require your Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or personal checks.
Recipient information. Submit your recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number, Indian bank account and SARN (routing number).
Documents to receive money in India
To pick up money in person, documentation can include:
Transfer number. The person sending you money can forward the transfer’s confirmation details — called a PIN, a MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number), a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
Government-issued ID. An Indian Passport, Indian Driving License, Indian Aadhaar card or a similar government-issued ID is typically required to pick up cash.
Amount sent. You may need to know how much was sent, usually within 10% of the total.
Sender’s information. Take along your sender’s full name, the sending country and their address, if known.
What to watch out for
Sending cash to India may be limited by the Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS), which is created by the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) of India and enforced by the Reserve Bank of India. Transactions sent to banks typically fall under the Rupee Drawing Arrangement, but cash transfers are classified under the MTSS. According to the Reserve Bank of India’s website, MTSS transactions are capped at $2,500 USD per transaction, with a 30 remittance receiving cap calendar year.
Sending your hard-earned money to India shouldn’t cost a fortune. Compare transfer companies that specialize in foreign for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.
Zak Killermann is a writer at Finder. He’s ghostwritten hundreds of articles on fintech, finding his love for publication at St. Cloud State University. Traveling internationally for nearly half his life — and getting burned once by an OTC money exchange — Zak's vowed not to settle for anything short of the mid-market rate again.
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