Get the best deal on your next money transfer to India.
Online money transfer companies usually offer the lowest fees and the most competitive exchange rates, but you’ll need to send cash if your recipient doesn’t have an account with a supported bank.
Our pick: InstaReM
InstaReM offers fast transfers at no-margin mid-market rates adding only a nominal fee.
- Sends to popular currencies. InstaReM sends to 51 countries and 21 currencies.
- Loyalty points and bonus coupons. The more you use, the more you earn in bonus and points.
- Charges only a nominal fee. No hidden fees.
Best ways to send money to and from India
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.
How 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.
The best services for money transfers to India
To help you narrow down the “best,” we sent live transfers through 13 of the most notable providers to see who rose to the top in cost, trust, speed, convenience and user experience.
Compare these providers to find which fits your needs best when sending money to India:
|Best for||Winner||Why we picked it||Good for||Go to site|
|Cash & speed||WorldRemit||At speeds that often beat its own estimates, you can get cash to Mexico quickly for pickup or deposit.||Limits vary by country, but good for $500 or more||Go to site|
|Most locations||Western Union||It’s not the cheapest, but fast and effective for same-day pickup.||Cash & convenience – 24,900 agents in Mexico||Learn more|
|Convenience||Xoom||Intuitive site, allows for signup and sending in minutes with clear rates and fees.||Cash pickups in 15 minutes at 14,500 agent locations and deposits to all major banks||Learn more|
|Exchange rates||TransferWise||Offers the mid-market rate on transfers to 74 countries worldwide.||Supports 40 currencies||Go to site|
What to know when transferring 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 major US 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.
- Providers with cash pickup. Western Union, Money2India, Remit2India, MoneyGram and Ria offer the option of cash pickups from thousands of agent locations across India.
- 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 US Postal Service.
Banks vs. money transfer companies
Many major US 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.
Case Study: Virat sends money to India
Virat lives and works in the United States and wants to send $2,000 of his salary to his parents in Mumbai. He approaches his bank for a wire transfer but is shocked when he sees its weak exchange rate and high fees. He compares his bank’s services with those of an independent money transfer specialist to see who offers the better deal.
|Major US bank||Money transfer specialist|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 63.1 INR||1 USD = 63.8 INR|
|Transfer speed||1–3 business days||2–4 business days|
|Transfer options||Bank account deposit, cash pickup||Bank account deposit|
|Total rupees received||126,200 INR||127,600 INR|
Virat discovers that his family could receive some 1,400 more Indian rupees if he sends his money through a money transfer specialist. And he can save himself a further $5 in transfer fees.
Sending more than $10,000 to India
The IRS requires that any transaction totaling more than $10,000 needs to be reported to the government. It’s better for you to report it first, because banks will push forward this information as a suspicious transaction under the Bank Secrecy Act.
When dealing with a transfer this large, you may be required to provide the money transfer service with additional documentation on why you’re are sending such a large amount. Also, it is nice to know that any amount over $14,000 can be transferred without being subject to gift tax.
What do I need to know about taxes?
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.
Tips for sending money to India
Same-day cash transfers in India
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to India — for example, if a friend traveling 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
The US State Department warns that you should “practice 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.Back to top
Cash pickup locations in India
Which 10 countries are sending the most money to India?
India, the country that receives the most money transfers, saw an estimated $69 billion in remittances in 2017, according to World Bank data. There are about over three million Indians living in America and they’re the highest earners of migrants. Let’s see how the US stacks up against other countries when it comes to sending money to India.
|Rank||Country||Remittances in 2017|
|1||United Arab Emirates||$13,822,589,675|