Send. 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.
What to know when transferring money to India
Exchange rates. Nearly all money transfer 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 money transfer provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer.
Bank partners. Many money transfer providers list their Indian bank partners online. See if your recipient’s bank is affiliated with your money transfer provider before initiating a transfer.
Transfer speed. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pickups, often in minutes.
Transfer limits. For large transfers, compare and find the best exchange rate — especially since money transfer 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.
Updated: 21 Jan 2021 03:03:04 UTC
What are all the ways I can send money to India?
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 major Hong Kong banks allow you to wire 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.
M-Pesa.M-Pesa is a safe, secure way to send, receive and store money through your mobile phone or an app. Top up your account at one of more than 287,000 agent locations and then send money to loved ones, who can visit an agent to withdraw their funds.
Checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you can always send an international check overseas picked up from your bank or Hong Kong Post.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $10,000 to India
Let’s say you need to send $10,000 to family in India. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of 7 Jan, 2021.
Digital money transfer service
65.00 HKD + additional correspondent bank fees
1.00 HKD = 9.4628 INR
1.00 HKD = 9.0793 INR
1.00 HKD = 8.69565 INR
Same day – 1 day
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 7,906.66 INR 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.
Taxes when you remit to India
Nonresident 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. 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 per calendar year.
To send money to India from Hong Kong, 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 Hong Kong
To send money from Hong Kong to India, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
Identification. Most services require a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID.
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 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, 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.
Sending your hard-earned money to India shouldn’t cost a fortune. Compare money transfer companies that specialize in foreign transactions 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.
Frequently asked questions
What is the cheapest way to transfer money to India?
In our experience, the cheapest way to send money to India is typically either through SingX, CurrencyFair, or TransferWise.
SingX offers both a low fee and strong exchange rate
CurrencyFair offers strong exchange rates and zero fee.
TransferWise offers strong exchange rates and competitive deals on large transfers.
Can I use Google Pay to send money to India?
No, unfortunately not.
How can I send money to India using a SWIFT code?
To send a SWIFT transfer to India from your bank you’ll need your recipient’s name, address and bank account number. You won’t need their IFSC (Indian Financial System Code) as these codes are typically only used for domestic transfers within India.
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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