10 Best Remittance Services to India

What do I do if I wish to send $1000 from New York to a relative in New Delhi? What are the options available? How much fee will be charged? If you are one of those NRIs who are perplexed by these questions often, then this article is for you! In this article, we’ll discuss about what are the best ways to remit money to India safe, cheap and easy. And this comes from my experience of dealing wit many remittance services to India, during my life as an NRI in both USA and the Middle East.

What is a remittance service?

The Internet has improved our lives in many ways. We all know how quick and easy it is to send an email or to buy something online. Remittance services do the exact same thing for money transfers. They facilitate the transfer of money by a foreign worker to an individual in his or her home country via wire, mail, or online transfer.

Let’s understand the broad classifications of remittance service options to transfer money to India:

Bank wire transfer

You can make a wire transfer money from your foreign bank account to an Indian bank account using the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication code) mechanism. Fees and limits may apply, depending on your account type and type of transaction. For example transferring fund from your SBI account in New York to your SBI account in New Delhi.

Related: 15 Best Money Transfer Services to India

Online money transfer

Nowadays, there are plenty of online money transfer services like xoom.com, transfast.com, ria.com etc. The best thing about these service providers is that you can transfer funds from any foreign bank account or even credit card to any bank account in India.

Online-Offline

Some remittance service providers transfer your remittance from overseas and send a draft or facilitate cash pickup by the beneficiary in India, thus combining both online and offline model. For example, Western Union provides the option to remit either online or with physical cash/check from overseas to India.

Whether you wish to transfer money through the bank, or an external provider, it is very important to consider certain factors to get the most bangs for your buck. Here is a checklist of 6 major factors to be considered while choosing a remittance service provider:

6 Factors to consider when choosing a remittance service provider

Reliable service provider

With any international money transfer, safety and security should be of paramount priority. Check if the company is fully regulated and licensed to carry out remittance services. Banks might impose a higher fee for money transfer but are mostly trustworthy. If you are transferring physical cash with an agent, check for additional securities like CCTV camera, security guard etc.

Find the best exchange rates

This is the amount of foreign currency that will be generated for every dollar your send. The exchange rate can differ among services because the companies adjust it by varying amounts to make money on the transfers. Before transferring money, shop around and compare the exchange rates offered by different remittance service providers on sites like compareremit.com, entryindia.com, remitrate.com etc. and choose the best rate, which gives you maximum gain.

Look for the lowest transfer fees

Pay close attention to the transfer fee and other “hidden” charges levied by the remittance service providers. Choose a service that offers you the lowest cost (including commission and exchange rate). Take advantage of the discount offers for new users and during certain seasons & festivals. It is also a good idea to transfer larger funds in a single transaction to reduce the transfer fee.

The Speed of disbursement

Time is money! This is true especially in case of money exchange. Keep in mind that speeds of service and cost of remittance are always directly proportional to one another. Barring emergencies, try to plan the remittance well ahead of time by keeping an eye on the exchange rates.

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Convenience

Convenience of the sender and the recipient should be considered while choosing a service provider.

In case of remittance companies:

Understand the different transfer methods available for the sender -agents, online, bank deposit, credit/debit card etc.
Choose a transfer method convenient for the recipient-online, bank deposit, cash pick-up, home delivery etc.
Check the availability of NRE/NRO bank deposit services
Daily transfer limits

In case of banks:

Check if you need to be a customer of the bank to avail its remittance services
Check the receiving bank options
Check the availability of NRE/NRO bank deposit services
Daily transfer limits

Others:

  • When you transfer the money, ensure that the currency you wish to transfer is covered by the bank.
  • If you are choosing cash pickup service in India (by the beneficiary), go for a service provider who has a wide presence across the country.
  • Be ready to provide additional documents for verification in case you cross the permitted remittance limit.
  • Make sure you obtain proper receipt as proof of transaction
  • Check the refund policy of the remittance service provider/bank.
  • After transferring money, contact you beneficiary to ensure he/she has received the money.
  • Make sure that the remittance company you choose has a reputable customer service in the event of glitches like delay or non-arrival of funds.

Top 10 Remittance Services to India

Here are some of the best remittance services on the basis of reviews, recommendations and some of my personal favorites:

1. Xoom

Xoom is a California-based remittance service provider that offers fast and hassle free money transfer, international bill payment & mobile reload services. Xoom is currently a part of the PayPal family. I like zoom because their website is very user-friendly and the entire process of signing up & sending money is pretty smooth.

Why should you choose Xoom?

  • FREE transfer above $1000 via bank.
  • Banking partners in India-Punjab National bank, HDFC, Axis Bank & Yes Bank.
  • Bank deposit within 4hours during Indian Bank processing hours
  • Support transfer to NRE and NRO accounts.
  • Low fees and locked in exchange rates.
  • Use the Xoom app to track your transfer on the go.

Disadvantages:

  • Xoom is probably not a good option for doing money transfer using a debit card, as the fee for a minimum transaction ($10) is $4.99.
  • I came across some negative reviews and complaints about Xoom. The most common complaint being cancellation of transactions, delay in delivery and lengthy verification process. I would not consider Xoom to be the ultimate remittance service provider but it’s suitable for short-term money transfers.

Promotions & offers:

  • $20 gift card for referrals

Website: www.xoom.com
TrustPilot trust score: 8.5/10

2. Remitly

I have been using Remitly for quite some time now and find it to be easy, affordable and safe. Remitly is backed by leading investors including the CEO of Google, Amazon, Capital One Bank etc.

Why should you choose Remitly?

  • FREE transfer above $1000
  • They offer ECONOMY transfer (deposit within 3-5 days) and EXPRESS transfer (instant deposit) facilities in India.
  • Instant deposits to Axis Bank, HDFC, PNB, Indian Bank, IOB and many more.
  • 24/7 customer support & 100% money back guarantee
  • Support transfer to NRE and NRO accounts.
  • Available as an app on mobile phones.

Promotions & offers:

  • Promotional rates for new users
  • Referral reward program

Disadvantages:

  • Fee of $3.99 for transfers below $1000
  • 3% fee on credit card transactions

Website: www.remitly.com
TrustPilot Trust score: 8.9/10

3. Ria

Ria is one of the largest money transferring companies in the world with locations in 150 countries. I was skeptical initially of using their service because the security checks took longer than expected. However, after clearing them, transferring money became a lot easier with Ria.

Why should you choose Ria?

  • FREE transfer via bank account
  • Bank transfer within 3 days
  • Good customer service
  • Efficient and safe money transfer service

Promotions & offers:

  • 1 month fee FREE debit card transfers
  • Earn $20 gift card on referrals
Also read >  10 Tips : Transferring money to India via online banking

Disadvantages:

  • Ria has a stringent and long security check process which may take up to 1month.Therefore I will not recommend Ria for emergency fund transfers.
  • High fees on credit card transfers

Website: www.riamoneytransfer.com
TrustPilot Trust score: 7.4/10

4. State Bank of India, USA

In the USA, State Bank of India has their branch in California, New York & Chicago. Unlike SBI branches in India, they offer limited services in the US branch. You need to become an account holder of SBI USA branch to avail the remittance services.

Why should you choose SBI?

  • When it comes to financial transactions, banks are generally considered to be trustworthy
  • Convenient option for people who have an account with SBI USA branch
  • Fast money transfer
  • Free transfer above $1000
  • Transfer limit of $10000 per day
  • Professional service
  • Support transfer to NRE and NRO accounts.

Promotions & offers: NA

Disadvantages:

  • Remittance service can be availed by only those who have an account with SBI USA branch with a minimum deposit balance.
  • Banks will most likely require you to fill lengthy forms and in some cases ask you to visit the branch to verify the details.
  • A lengthy process is to be followed to add a recipient who is to be verified & approved by the bank.
  • Expect technical glitches when you use their websites

Websites: www.sbical.com, https://www.statebank.com/index_newyork.htm, www.sbichicago.com
TrustPilot Trust score: NA

5. Western Union

As the inventors of money transfer, Western Union is known primarily for its bank transfer, money order, bill payment and gift card services. They have a price estimator tool on their website which enables users to calculate the money receivable, transaction fee etc. Their speed of money transfer typically varies from minutes to days.

Why should you choose Western Union:

  • Western Union money transfer options are- cash pickup, deposit into mobile wallet, deposit into a bank account or loan onto a prepaid card.
  • Mobile app simplifies money transfer on the go
  • Western Union has wide presence of agents all over India which makes cash pickup a convenient option
  • Support transfer to NRE and NRO accounts.

Promotions & offers:

  • Earn 1 point for every $2 spent on My WU program.
  • Gift cards on referrals

Disadvantages:

  • There are thousand of negative reviews about Western Union to be found online. Most of these complaints are about delayed money transfer, cancellation of transactions, poor customer service and higher rates.
  • Minimal identification check at cash pickup locations has resulted in several scams.

Website: www.westernunion.com
TrustPilot Trust score: 8.9/10

6. Transfast

Transfast is a leading online money transfer service that offers highly competitive exchange rates, low fees and impressive transfer times. With over 25 years in the money transfer industry, you can count on Transfast to get money to your family and friends quickly and safely.

Why should you choose Transfast:

  • Instant deposits to major banks including HDFC, Axis, Kotak Mahindra and many more
  • Highly competitive exchange rates & FREE transfer over $1000 via bank account.
  • You can use their Fasttrack service for instant to 24hrs money transfer using bank or debit card
  • 100% money back guarantee and impressive customer care service
  • Available as an app on IOS and Andriod
  • Cash pickups available in India
  • Support transfer to NRE and NRO accounts.

Promotions & offers:

  • Promotional rates are offered to new customers periodically.

Disadvantages:

  • Some customers have raised complaints about delay in delivery and cancelled transactions.
  • Higher rates for instant bank transfer.

Website: www.transfast.com
TrustPilot Trust score: 7.9/10

7. Transwise

Transwise is an innovative, peer-to-peer money transfer service. It works on a simple concept. If somebody wants to convert his or her dollars to pounds, TransWise’s technology finds someone who wants to transfer money in the opposite direction (pounds to dollars). The system automatically matches the currency flows and then pays out from the local dollar or pound account. This way the money never actually moves across borders thereby avoiding traditional banking fees altogether.

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Why should you choose Transwise:

  • They offer current mid-market exchange rate (check it on XE.com) that make it up to 89% cheaper to send money abroad
  • Fast transfer with no hidden charges and reliable service
  • Available as an app on IOS and Android
  • Customers have transferred $4.5 billion using this platform- an approach that has put over $200 million back in their pockets.

Promotions & offers:

  • Discount for new users
  • Fee credit to existing customer from time to time
  • Referral rewards

Disadvantages:

  • The transfer takes 3 days and for some new customers it can take up to 5days.
  • You are always charged 0.9% of your total transfer amount which brings down the effective transfer rate.

Website: www.transferwise.com
TrustPilot Trust score: 9.5/10

8. ICICI Bank Money to India

ICICI Bank is a well-known name in the Indian banking industry. Their presence spans 17 countries, including a branch in New York, USA. ICICI Bank Money to India is a popular online money transfer service offered to NRIs from different countries via e-transfer, express e-transfer, and wire-based power transfer.

Why should you choose ICICI Money to India?

  • ICICI Money to India uses cutting edge technology to transfer money through multiple channels like Money2India Mobile app, Call2Remit, etc.
  • It is the only bank to provide 1-hour Express e-transfer service to ICICI Bank accounts. (Applicable only for ICICI existing customers)
  • They do Express e-transfer service to non-ICICI accounts in 2hours.
  • Mobile app available
  • Tie up with Wells Fargo Bank

Promotions & offers:

  • The current promotion called 50-paisa better rate promises to give 50-paisa better rate on the first transaction.

Disadvantages:

  • High service fee charged for all transactions.
  • Poor customer support.
  • I find their website to have an user-hostile design.

Website: www.icicibankusa.com, www.icicibank.com/nribanking
TrustPilot Trust score: 6.5/10

9. WorldRemit

WorldRemit users can send can send money from 50 countries to more than 120 countries around the globe. It is a convenient, low-cost alternative to other money transfer companies that use high street agents and charge unreasonable fees.

Why should you choose WorldRemit:

  • They offer only 2 services to India-bank transfers within 2 days and instant mobile recharge.
  • Easy, fast and reliable service

Promotions & offers:

  • The first transfer is fee

Disadvantages:

  • In the case of phone recharge, recipients will only get 87% of the recharge value.
  • The exchange rate calculator on the website will not show you the exact exchange rate offered by WorldRemit but it will only show you the amount in receiver’s currency.
  • If you wish to pay with cash or check for your money transfer, this is not the company for you.

Website: www.worldremit.com
TrustPilot Trust score: 9.5/10

10. IndusInd Bank

IndusInd Bank offers various online and telegraphic options to send money to India around the globe. The remittance service to send money to India from the US is called Indus Fast Remit. Any adult who holds a US bank account is eligible for using this service. The Bank of New York Mellon acts as a clearing partner for IndusInd Bank in the US.

Why should you choose Indus Fast Remit?

  • FREE transfer to any bank in India
  • Attractive exchange rates.
  • Easy and secure
  • SMS alert for beneficiary

Promotions & offers:

  • Free movie downloads coupon on the first transaction.

Disadvantages:

  • Complaints about delayed money transfer and bad customer service

Website: www.indusfastremit-us.com
TrustPilot: NA


Hi, Mani Karthik here. Having lived in USA, India & Middle East, and worked for big MNC’s to startups, I have a lot to share with you. My aim is to help people, by sharing everything I’ve learned in life, through this blog. It’s read today by more than 150K people world over! I currently live in LA, California and visit India occasionally. Here’s my full story on who I am and why I blog. Connect with me on FacebookInstagram, Twitter or WhatsApp (+001-408-489-4785). Happy to help! 🙂

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