Send Money to India Effectively

Information verified correct on December 5th, 2016

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Sending money to India might be simpler than you think, but only if you compare your options.

There are over 1.4 million people of Indian origin who live in the UK, which makes them the largest visible ethnic minority community in the country. Their influx into the UK began mainly around the time when the East India Company started establishing its foothold in India. Now, British Indians are typically socioeconomically affluent and tend to belong to the middle class. In 2011, a study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showed that among all ethnic groups in the UK, Indians had the lowest poverty rates.

As per data released by the Indian Ministry of Finance, trade between these two countries grew by 6.6% in 2013 when compared to 2012. Instances of individuals sending money from the UK to India is also on the rise.

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Case study: Banks vs money transfer services

Ravi relocated to the UK after he cleared the required exams to start practising dentistry in this country, and while his wife and children moved with him, his parents continue to live in India. He intends sending them money from time to time, so they don’t have to worry about any impending financial roadblock.

Ravi has a bank account with one of the leading banks of UK, and before he decided to send the money over, he carried out some research to find out just how much his parents would receive if he sent GBP1,000. Here’s what he discovered.

Money transfer service 1Money transfer service 2
Exchange rateGBP1 = INR 96.1676GBP1 = INR 99,7561
Transfer fee£25.00£1.90
Amount received for £1,000INR 93,763.45INR 99566.66
Transfer timeUp to six business daysOne to two business days
Transfer optionsBank accountBank account, cash
Difference ofINR5,803.21

What Ravi noticed is that the second option not only resulted in the recipient getting almost INR6,000 more, the transfer time was also noticeably lesser. Between the two, he found a clear winner, and given that he plans to use this service around twice or thrice each year, the savings are definitely noteworthy.

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How do I compare transfer companies when transferring money to India?

The case study clearly shows that comparing your options before sending money to India is a good idea. When you’re running a comparison, pay attention to the following aspects:

  • Exchange rate and fees. It is always a good idea to compare both when trying to establish the most cost effective option. This is because while one company might offer a seemingly great exchange rate, it might charge high fees. On the other hand, a company that offers a comparably poorer exchange rate may charge low fees. Some international money transfer companies offer fee waivers if you transfer more than a given amount, and some charge discounted fees.
  • Pick up methods. Some transfer companies require that you transfer funds to the recipient’s bank account. Some others give recipients the option of picking up cash, which can be particularly useful if the recipient does not have a bank account.
  • Transfer methods. If you’re dealing with a mainstream bank you can initiate the transfer by visiting your closest branch. Otherwise, depending on the service provider you choose, you can transfer funds over the phone, online, at stores or at specific kiosks.
  • Transfer time. If the recipient needs money in a hurry, your best bet is to look for a service that allows cash pickups because this method normally takes no more than a day. Bank account transfers can take between one and five business days.
  • Minimum transfer amounts. The minimum you can transfer can vary from one service provider to the next. While some may let you transfer as little as one Great Britain pound, some others have minimum limits as high as £1,000.
  • Customer service. If you plan on transferring money to India on an ongoing basis, you may want to look for a company that offers high levels of customer service, along with support via phone, chat and email.
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How do I send money to India from the UK?

The Indian rupee is a commonly exchange currency in the global market, and you can find various ways to send Great Britain pounds to India. While you have the option of getting in touch with your bank, you can also turn to money transfer services.

  • Banks. While you can use banks in the UK to send money to India, you can also turn to some Indian banks to do the needful. Indian banks like ICICI, HDFC and AXIS bank give Non Resident Indians (NRIs) the ability to transfer Great Britain pounds to Indian accounts using their online services.
  • Non banks. You can turn to a professional money transfer service like Western Union, PayPal or Travelex. Western Union has centres across India, where recipients can pick up cash almost as soon as you transfer it. Registering for PayPal is free, and once you transfer money, the recipient needs to withdraw it through a linked bank account.
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Emergency cash transfers in India

If you’re in India and end up losing your wallet and bags, you can consider getting emergency cash in different ways. You options include the following:

  • Cash pickup. You can get someone in the UK to send you money using a cash pickup service like MoneyGram or Western Union, both of which operate out of India. The service provider charges a fee, and you can get the money almost immediately.
  • Cash advance. If you use a MasterCard, Visa or American Express credit card you can consider getting an emergency card advance in case you lose your card. This way, you get to access funds in your credit card account through a participating financial institution in India.
  • Travel insurance. If you’re travelling overseas, consider getting travel insurance that comes with the provision of emergency cash. Not all travel insurance covers offer this benefit, so it’s best to check ahead of time.

Don’t forget to check how much you’ll have to pay as fees in each scenario. In addition, remember to report your credit and debit cards as lost or stolen without delay.

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Cash pickup locations in India/ Western Union / MoneyGram branches in India

If you require money in a hurry, turning to a money transfer service such as Western Union or MoneyGram can give you quick access to funds. To get your hands on the money, you’ll have to provide a reference number along with some form of identification like your driver’s license or passport. In India, some locations include the following:

MoneyGram

Mumbai

  • Indian Overseas Bank
    Shop No. 291-D 1st Floor Embassy Apartments
    Bellasis Road
    Mumbai, 400008
    +91-22-23086220
    Open 10:30am to 05:30pm Monday to Friday and 10:30am to 02:00pm Saturday
  • Corporation Bank
    Ground Floor Bhojwani Mansion
    24 Maratha Mandir Marg
    Mumbai, 400008
    +91-22-23006970
    Open 10:30am to 02:00pm Monday to Friday and 10:00am to 12:00pm Saturday

Delhi

  • Punjab & Maharashtra Co-Op Bank
    6-67 Double Storey Main Najafgarh Road
    Opp Metro Station
    New Delhi, 110018
    +91-11-65027869
    Open 11:00am to 05:00pm Monday to Saturday
  • Indian Bank
    Shop No. J13/11 Patel Market
    Near Metro Station
    New Delhi, 110027
    +91-11-25193097
    Open 10:00am to 03:30pm Monday to Saturday

Western Union

Mumbai

  • 3G Tours Travels
    Shop No 1 Opp Kailash Chs Vakola Bridge
    Mumbai, Maharashtra 400055
    +91-9769486761
    Open 09:30am to 08:30pm Monday to Sunday
  • Al Najib Milli Mutual Benefits Ltd
    R305 Sangam Nagar Chandani Agar
    S P Road Antop Hill Wadala
    Mumbai, Maharashtra 400605
    +91-91-9224618023
    Open 09:30am to 08:30pm Monday to Sunday

Delhi

  • Bank of Baroda
    Dr. R.M.L Hospital
    Baba Kharaksingh Marg
    New Delhi, 110001
    +91-11-23743386
    Open 09:00am to 07:00pm Monday to Saturday
  • Bank of Baroda
    16 Sansad Marg
    New Delhi, 110001
    +91-11-23319195
    Open 09:00am to 07:00pm Monday to Saturday
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Tips for picking up cash in India

As per travel advice issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) you should take care of your bank cards and passport, especially when using public transport. The advisory states that you should reconsider travelling to some north eastern states and cities in Jammu and Kashmir, and advises you against travelling to some sections of Jammu and Kashmir.

Take into account that local strikes can take place with little notice, which means that local businesses can remain shut, including ones from where you have to pick money. When going to pick money, it is best that you take someone along.

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How do I send money to India?

If you’re considering sending money to India the process you have to go through depends on the option you select.

  • Bank transfer. If you’re transferring money to an Indian bank account, you’ll need the name of the bank, it’s IFSC code, the recipient’s name as displayed on the account, and the recipient’s account number.
  • Non bank service provider. If you’re turning to a payment service provider like Western Union or MoneyGram you’ll have to begin by opening an account. To do this you’ll have to provide details like your complete name, date of birth, residential address, email address and phone number.

After you initiate a transfer you should receive a receipt with a reference number that you can use to track the transfer’s progress.

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