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:
Offers the mid-market rate on transfers to 74 countries worldwide.
Supports 40 currencies
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. Most banks in Singapore 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 Wise and WorldRemit make international money transfers to India easy.
Providers with cash pickup. Western Union, Money2India, Remit2India and MoneyGram offer the option of cash pickups from thousands of agent locations across India.
Cheque and money orders. Although not a quick option, you can always send an international check overseas picked up from your bank or the post office.
Banks vs. money transfer companies
Most banks in Singapore 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.
Digital money transfer services
Companies like OFX and Wise 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 and Western Union 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 24 August 2020.
Digital money transfer service
$25 + additional correspondent bank fees
1 SGD = 54.6178 INR
1 SGD = 54.005 INR
1 SGD = 54.095 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 1,525 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.
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 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
If you do have plans on visiting India, be advised that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) recommends that Singaporeans take the necessary precautions and exercise personal responsibility at all times when travelling to India. If you need to go to an agent to pick up cash make sure that you don’t travel alone and that you are riding with a reputable cab company. Return straight back to your hotel and secure the cash before heading back out for sightseeing.
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in India
To send money to India from Singapore, 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 Singapore
To send money from Singapore to India, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
Identification. Most services require your NRIC, passport or other government-issued ID.
Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or personal cheque.
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 specialise 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.
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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