Find quick, affordable ways to send money to loved ones and businesses in India.
From bank transfers and online transactions to options that allow recipients to collect your funds within minutes, you’ll want to compare the transfer fees and exchange rates of the many options available to you to get the best deal.
Compare international money transfers
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With over 17 years of foreign exchange expertise and over $100 billion transferred, OFX can help with all your currency exchange needs, including:
- Buying property abroad
- Regular overseas payments
- Risk management
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Sending money to India
Sending money to India
When sending money overseas, you’ll usually need to create a free account with a money transfer provider. The process varies by company but generally requires you to provide your name, contact information and proof of identity. If you’re not paying for your transaction with cash, you’ll also provide your banking info in order to have the funds withdrawn from your account.
Once you’ve selected a payment option and entered the full details of your transfer, you make your transaction and wait for the funds to arrive. You’ll most likely receive a reference number or receipt that you can use to track the progress of your transfer.
How do international money transfers work?
An international money transfer allows you to send money to friends, family and businesses overseas. Generally, it involves you sending cash or money from your bank account to an intermediary transfer service or bank, which then exchanges and sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, India.
Depending on the provider, you can initiate a money transfer in person, online or by phone. Your cash or bank account transfer is then either deposited into your recipient’s bank account or made available as cash for pickup at a location in their country.
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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.
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.
How to compare transfer companies 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 transfer .
- Transfer speed. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pickups, often in minutes. If you’ve more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
- Transfer limits. Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh 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.
- “Hedging” options. 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.
What are the ways that I can send money to India?
- Bank transfers. Many major US banks will 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 Xoom, 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.
- PayPal. Electronic payment giant PayPal allows you to send money from the US to India.
- Checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or US Postal Service.
Emergency 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 you need to transfer funds urgently, your fastest possible transfer will often be your most expensive option. Carefully review the exchange rate and transfer fee against your needs so that you understand exactly how much it will cost you.
Receiving cash in India
Western Union and MoneyGram provide the three largest money transfer networks in the world, with thousands of agent locations around the globe. You’ll need to pass on your transaction reference number to your recipient 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.
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.