Use our comparison calculator to assess transfer fees, exchange rates and other details for sending funds to and from India with an online money transfer specialist.
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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.
The best services for money transfers to India
Compare these providers to find which fits your needs best when sending money to India:
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 money transfer to India.
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 pickups, 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.
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 banks in Ireland 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.
Many major banks in Ireland offer the option to send funds to India, but will 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.
Digital money transfer services
Companies like OFX and CurrencyTransfer specialise 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, look 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 to family in India. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of 13 May 2020.
Digital money transfer service
€20 + additional correspondent bank fees
1 EUR = 81.8426 INR
1 EUR = 79.0479 INR
1 EUR = 77.3263 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 5,000 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.
These rates may vary from your own experience, so be sure to use the comparison table to find the freshest money transfer rates.
Sending large amounts of money to India
While you won’t have to do anything extra to send a large amount of money out of Ireland, your receiver may have to. If your recipient is a “blood relative” (including spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings and in-laws), they won’t have to pay tax on any transfer, no matter the size. Money transfers that are part of a wedding gift or inheritance are also exempt from regulation.
All other large money transfers, though, come under the umbrella of the gift tax, regulated by the Indian Income Tax Act. This means any amount over 50,000 rupees (about EUR€642, depending on the exchange rate) is taxable and should be declared by the recipient as income.
You may also need to provide extra documentation if you’re sending a large amount, depending on the money transfer service.
What do I need to know about taxes?
Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) 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 total, but ask if you don’t see it listed.
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 stay alert 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.
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in India
To send money to India from Ireland, 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 Ireland
To send money from Ireland to India, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
Identification. Most services require a driver’s licence, passport or other government-issued ID.
Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts.
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 licence, 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.
Which countries send the most money to India?
India, the country that receives the most money transfers, saw an estimated US$69 billion in remittances in 2017, according to World Bank data. Let’s see countries stacks up against each other when it comes to sending money to India.
Remittances in 2017
United Arab Emirates
Sending your hard-earned money to India shouldn’t cost a fortune. Compare money transfer companies that specialise in foreign transactions for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. Before you need to make a transfer, check out our international money transfer page for the full lowdown.
Zak Killermann is a staff writer at Finder specializing in money transfers. He has ghostwritten hundreds of FinTech articles over the years and found his love for publication at St. Cloud State University. Zak has been traveling internationally for nearly half his life and — after getting burned once by an over-the-counter money exchange — vowed to never settle for anything short of the mid-market rate.
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