Send money to India
How to send a fast, secure and low-cost money transfer to India from the UK.
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.
Compare services that send money to India from the UK
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 banks in the UK 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. There are others, too.
- Providers with cash pickup. Western Union, Remit2India, MoneyGram and Ria offer the option of cash pickups from thousands of agent locations across India.
- International money orders. Another option is to get an international guaranteed cheque from your bank.
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 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.
Banks vs money transfer companies
Most banks in the UK offer the option to send funds to India, but they typically charge high transfer fees and offer exchange rates that are significantly poorer than the mid-market rate — that’s the rate banks and transfer companies use when trading with each other.
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 UK and wants to send £1,000 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 bank||Money transfer specialist|
|Exchange rate||1 GBP = 86.31 INR||1 GBP = 88.57 INR|
|Transfer speed||1–3 business days||2–4 business days|
|Transfer options||Bank account deposit, cash pickup||Bank account deposit|
|Total rupees received||86,310 INR||88,570 INR|
Virat discovers that his family could receive some 2,260 more Indian rupees if he sends his money through a money transfer specialist. And he can save himself a further £14 in transfer fees.
Same-day cash transfers in India
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to India — for example, if a relative or 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
When collecting funds in India, it’s always wise to exercise good personal security. 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
Ask an Expert