Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer .
Bank partners. Many providers list their Indian bank partners online. See if your recipient’s bank is affiliated with your provider before initiating a transfer.
Transfer speed. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pick-ups, often in minutes.
Transfer limits. For large transfers, compare and find the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.
Payment scheduling. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
Customer service. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.
Foreign exchange rates explained
An exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it for a weaker currency. India’s exchange rate is flexible, which means it can change from moment to moment due to factors such as interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Western Union and MoneyGram provide the largest money transfer networks in the world, with thousands of agent locations around the globe, but it’s always smart to compare your options and see what works best for you.
Bank transfers. Many Hong Kong banks will allow you to send money to banks in India. However, this option generally doesn’t offer the best exchange rates or lowest fees.
Money transfer providers. Companies like TransferWise and WorldRemit make international money transfers to India easy.
Providers with cash pick-up. Western Union, Money2India, Remit2India, MoneyGram and Ria offer the option of cash pick-ups from thousands of agent locations across India.
Cheques and money orders. Although not a quick option, you can always send an international draft picked up from your bank.
Banks vs money transfer companies
Many Hong Kong banks offer the option to send funds to India, but they typically charge high transfer fees and offer exchange rates that are significantly lower than the mid-market rate — or the rate banks and transfer providers use when trading among themselves.
A reputable money transfer specialist can often offer better exchange rates and also charge lower fees, saving you money and putting more rupees into your recipient’s pocket.
What do I need to know about taxes?
Non-resident Indians — or NRIs in remittance lingo — sending money to India are required to pay a 12.36% government service tax on any commission or fee paid to an agent to facilitate the exchange. Some banks and providers conveniently factor this service tax into your totals, but ask if you don’t see it listed.
Tips for sending money to India
Steps to send money to India
Register for an account. Supply the provider with your name, address, contact details, proof of ID and your selected payment method.
Sending to who? Provide your recipient’s name and contact information.
How much? Choose the amount of money you wish to transfer.
Almost there… Complete your transaction and save any reference number you receive so that you can monitor your transfer.
You’ll need to give your recipient the transaction reference number to allow them to pick up your funds – they’ll also need to bring along a photo ID. For larger transfer amounts, phone ahead to an agent location to make sure it has sufficient cash available for your recipient to collect.
Same-day cash transfers in India
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to India — for example, if a friend travelling through the country loses their wallet. When a fund transfer is urgent, the fastest option will often be the most expensive one. Be sure to carefully review the exchange rate and transfer fee against your needs so that you understand exactly how much it will cost you.
Tips for picking up cash in India
You should practise good personal security when collecting funds in India. Just as you would at home, be careful when you pick up your money. Take a friend along for added security and don’t display your cash unnecessarily. Avoid high-crime areas and deposit your funds into your bank account as quickly as possible.
How to pick up a money transfer in India
If you decide that the bank option is the best for your situation then you will need to have a bank account set up in Hong Kong. If you like the money transfer option then make sure you have the right information at your fingertips.
Identification. Cash transfer agents are careful when distributing money. For the recipient to collect money in India, they will need to present photo ID (like a passport), with their name as an exact match for the name on the transfer order.
Tracking code. A tracking code will be on the paperwork received when placing the transfer order. This code needs to be passed on to the recipient, who must present this number to the agent before collection.
Amount sent. The agent will also ask the recipient how much money was sent, so be sure to provide this information as well.
Address. When placing the transfer order you may be asked to provide the city where the money will be picked up, so it’s best to collect this information from the recipient beforehand.
Once the transaction is complete, you should hold onto your paperwork until your recipient confirms that they have collected the cash. You will need this receipt as verification if there are any issues with your transaction.
With a large amount of business being conducted between Hong Kong and India on the daily, there is no shortage of transfer service companies and banks willing to help you with your transaction. It’s up to you to compare the options to make sure that your Hong Kong dollar is netting you the maximum return.
AL NAJIB MILLI MUTUAL BENEFITS LTD Address: R305 Sangam Nagar Chandani Agar S P Road Antop Hill Wadala Mumbai, Maharashtra 400605 Hours: 9:30am–8:30pm Phone: +91-9224618023
BANK OF INDIA Address: No.33/1, Byrathi Extention, Near Ebenezer Hospital, Opp.Bible College, Hennur Bagalur Main Road, Kothanpur Post, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560077, India Hours: 10am–5pm Phone: +504-6693911
ICICI BANK UTTARHALLI Address: Uttarhalli Main Road, Icici Bank Ltd., Door No 47, Survey No 12 -1, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560061, India Hours: 9:30am–4:30pm Phone: +91 80 3366 7777
HDFC BANK Address: Hdfc Bank Ltd Kalathur Complex No 23 2 New No 4 Kalathur Layout Bangalore Karnataka 560013, S M Road, Kalathur Layout, Jalahalli East, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560013, India Hours: 9:30am–4pm Phone: +91 99458 63333
Shirley Liu is Finder's global program manager. She was previously the publisher for banking and investments and has also written comparisons for energy, money transfers, Uber Eats and many other topics. Shirley has a Master of Commerce and a Bachelor of Media, Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about helping people find the best deal for their needs.
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