Send Money To India

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) puts the number of Indians in the diaspora at 35 million. In 2018, this population sent home US$79 billion, making India the highest recipient of remittances in the world. The United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Saudi Arabia accounted for over 50 per cent of the inflows.

The Indian emigrants comprise both high-skilled and low-skilled. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and West Bengal are the top five Indian states that send emigrants mostly to the Gulf countries. In terms of inflows, the southern state of Kerala received the highest share of remittances (19%) though it didn’t send even half the emigrants Uttar Pradesh did.

With such insightful statistics, it helps to know how diaspora Indians send money home, the information required to send and receive money, the benefits they enjoy by using money transfer services and the specific issues they should consider when sending money to India. Read along for detailed coverage on this and more.

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USD
INR
United States
India
United States
India
Amount Received 65,360.78 INR
Fees: 9 USD
Rate: 65.9544*
Payment Options Speed
Bank Transfer 3-5 Days
Debit Card 3-5 Days
Key Features
  • Internationally renowned bank
Visit Site
Amount Received 64,941.89 INR
Fees: 10 USD
Rate: 65.5979*
Payment Options Speed
Bank Transfer 3-5 Days
Debit Card 3-5 Days
Key Features
  • Internationally renowned bank
Visit Site
Current Mid-Market Rate:   1 USD = 71.3020 INR
* Some rates may be indicative.

How To Send Money To India

Sending money to India is simple and easy. Follow these steps to get started.

Find a Trusted Provider

Use our comparison table to find the best provider for your needs.

Sign Up and Deposit

Sign up with the provider and deposit the amount you want to transfer.

Transfer Money

As soon as you're ready, you can start sending money online.

Ways To Send And Receive Money In India

There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in India but these will largely depend on the provider you decide to use. Below you will find everything you need to know about sending and receiving money.

    Ways to Send Money to India

    Traditionally, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) have been using SWIFT and demand drafts to send money home. However, in recent years, banks have graduated to offering money transfer services, making it a booming business in India. About 60 to 80 per cent of the transfers to the country is processed through the banking system.

    Online and mobile companies have also come up to offer money transfer services. This development has significantly changed the remittance landscape in favour of these companies. If you want to send money home, there are several ways you can do so, below are some of them:

    Automated Clearing House (ACH) Transfer

    Indians in North America, Australia, Asia, Europe and the United Kingdom who own verified bank accounts can use ACH transfer to send money home. ACH transfers take 3 to 4 days to reach your loved ones in India. This method is appropriate for small regular amounts. Since ACH transfer is online-based, you do not have to leave your home, thus saving you time and money.

    Bank Wire Transfer

    This method is one of the oldest ways of sending money. You’ll have to visit the bank and give instructions of where in India the money should be sent. Bank wire transfers take a few days to complete.

    Money Transfer Companies

    Money transfer operators such as TransferWise, Western Union, MoneyGram, WorldRemit, XE, Ria, Transfast, Remitly, Xoom, and others offer transfers services to India. These services account for 20 to 40 per cent of the money sent to the country.

    Setting up is very easy. Most of these companies require that you sign up for an account and fund it. There are several ways of topping up the account including bank transfers, instore cash deposit, using debit and credit cards.

    Once topped up, you can transfer to your loved ones online using a downloadable app, directly from the provider’s website, from a physical store or using SendBot for the case of MoneyGram. There are different options for sending through money transfer companies. Some of the top ways include:

    • Wire Transfer -You can deposit directly into the recipient's account. This method works the same way as bank-to-bank transfers only that the cost of sending is much lower and the time shorter. Wire transfers are relatively safer and reliable when sending large amounts of money. For instance, you can send up to $1,000,000 to India via TransferWise.
    • Cash Pick Up – Here, the money goes to an agent of the provider from where the beneficiary can collect it. Money transfer service such as MoneyGram has a network of more than 36,000 agents in India that offer cash pick up. The money reaches the recipient in minutes.

    International Money Orders

    If you are sending small amounts of money to India, money orders work perfectly well. They are safe, affordable, and you can get them from banks. You’ll have to purchase them in Indian rupees, the recipient’s currency. Though time-consuming, money orders are traceable and economical.

    What’s Needed to Send Money to India

    When sending money to India, there is some documentation and other information tats needed. The information varies depending on the provider and the country in question. That said, the following information will be required.

    • Your government-issued I.D.
    • The amount you want to send
    • The debit and credit card numbers for the cards you’ll use to fund the transfer
    • The name of the beneficiary as it appears on their official documents
    • The phone number and address of the recipient
    • If sending through the bank wire transfer, you’ll need the bank name, branch, account number, and routing number or swift code.

    Instead of going to send with half the information, ensure you carry along all the above information.

    What Are the Ways of Receiving Money in India

    The remittance market in India comprises banks, non-bank money transfer operators (MTOs), India Post, and foreign exchange bureaus. These institutions have jointly broadened the avenues through which Indian’s can receive money sent by their loved ones in the diaspora.

    Direct Bank Deposits

    The banking system in India plays a major role in disbursing remittances to recipients. Remittances are considered a banking activity in India and banks are permitted to receive direct deposits from abroad on behalf of their customers. The deposits could be from banks in the sending countries or from nonbank institutions. 

    The interbank infrastructure has lessened the remittance-processing time meaning beneficiaries can receive money in a matter of hours or days.

    Cash Collections from Agents

    Money transfer operators such as Western Union, MoneyGram, TransferWise, WorldRemit, Remitly, Ria, and Xoom, have thousands of agencies, sub-agencies, alliances and partnerships with financial institutions. This makes it convenient for beneficiaries in India to receive their money.

    Thanks to technology and the power of the internet, it now takes minutes to send money through money transfer service providers. The MTOs use the National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) to move funds to their agents in India for the beneficiaries to collect.

    Informal Community-Based Arrangements

    India much like other South Asian countries has community-based arrangements for receiving money. In-kind remittances, courier services and hawala/hundi are still used as transfer channels though their popularity is fast decreasing.

    The hawala system is less formal and unregulated. Therefore, senders and recipients have no legal protection of any sort and lack recourse in case of loss during transfers.

    What is Required to Receive Money in India?

    When the money arrives, most providers notify the recipients through a short message service (SMS) or email pick up notification. Alternatively, you can check your transfer status on the website, mobile app, or by calling in with the transfer reference number.

    Once you have established that your money is ready for pick up, you’ll need to put together some information and documents to help you in the verification process. The information required may vary from one provider to another, but the following is a general list of what's needed.

    • The recipient's government-issued I.D. or related documents
    • The money transfer reference number printed on the sender’s receipt. When using Western Union, the number is called Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN)
    • Positively identify the sender and the expected amount

    In the past, money movements that stand out in terms of size of amount or frequency, have been flagged pending further verification. Though rare, but in case this happens to you, all you need is to answer to the queries raised by the authorities as truthful as possible.

    India has an Enforcement Directorate that monitors the sources of money and points of remittance.  This practice ensures the legitimacy of the money coming into the country.

    Common Reasons For Sending Money To India

    In India, NRI remittances form an important part of the family and national income. There are lots of reasons why Indians in the diaspora send money home. Looking at how households in India allocate the money they receive, the following are the priority areas:

    Household Expenses

    According to studies conducted in Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, and Karnataka, 59.2% of remittances were mainly for family expenses like food, rent and utilities. This trend was more pronounced in rural households receiving money from low-skilled diaspora Indians working in the middle east.

    Education

    The cost of education in India is very high and still soaring. Many families in rural areas struggle to keep their children in school compared to urban families. According to studies done, households receiving remittances spend an extra 17% in education.

    Health Care

    The health care system in India is one of the most elaborate. However, there are still disparities between rural and urban health facilities and public and private health care systems. A survey done highlighting the impact of remittances on women health in Kerala shows that women receiving frequent remittances are likely to report increased health autonomy.

    Savings and Investment

    Leveraging data from the Reserve Bank of India on private remittances, a study was conducted looking at the investment expenditure behaviour of remittance-receiving households. It was established that remittances from male and older immigrants are likely to be used for investment and asset accumulation. Most of the investments are in financial assets in SEBI approved Stock Exchanges, real estate, and in business.

    Debt Repayments

     Whether it is mortgage repayments or other credit facilities taken to facilitate the relocation of the immigrants, part of the money sent home goes towards repayment of such debt obligations.

    Other reasons why Non-Resident Indians send money include contributions to social events such as weddings, religious ceremonies, and to cater for travel expenses.

    Why Send Money With a Money Transfer Service?

    Money transfer operators in India use the cash to cash method more often (96.8 per cent) compared to the direct transfer to bank account option (1.5 per cent). Despite the banking system dominance (private, public, and foreign banks) the popularity of money transfer service providers is on the rise. The following are the reasons for this trend:

    Favourable Exchange Rates

    Money transfer service providers use the interbank rate also known as the mid-market rate. When genuinely applied, the mid-market rate is the most accurate and transparent. It reflects the real-time movements in currency market values. For future transactions, you can even lock the rate.

    Ease of Set up

    Signing up for an account, loading it with cash and sending to your loved ones, is simple. It takes a few minutes to get all setup. This level of simplicity is incomparable to banks and other institutions.

    Lower Transaction Cost

    With the expanded choices in the India remittance corridor, senders are looking for cost-effective channels.  Online money transfer providers offer the lowest per transaction charges. They spread their costs over a wide range of transactions enabling them to lower their fees without significantly affecting their bottom line. For instance, the cost of sending $200 to India from the United States using TranferWise is $2.71.

    Speed of Transfers

    The transfer time is much shorter with money transfer operators. For instance, sending from the United States to India on WorldRemit takes at most 10 minutes. During crises and emergencies, speed is of the essence to senders.

    Supports Different Countries and Currencies

    Money transfer services such as Western Union has over 500,000 locations in 200 countries and territories. Such a network ensures every corner of the world is covered. Irrespective of the country you are in, these providers will find a way of helping you to send money to your family.

    Safety

    With top of the class technologies such as 3D Secure and other digital authentications, parties are assured of safety and peace of mind when sending money online. Cybercrime is a real risk, but emerging technologies are also hard to beat.

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    Things to Consider When Sending Money to India

    Other than the speed, costs, and reliability, there are certain aspects you must consider when sending money to your loved ones back home.

    • Sending Limits and Taxes - When sending money to your ‘blood relatives’ in India, including gifts, you don’t pay any tax. However, when sending money to friends, any amount above $700 or 50,000 Indian rupees, is treated as income and taxed.
    • Depreciating Indian Rupee - The rupee is under pressure from rising oil prices, widening current account deficits and capital flight from exiting foreign investors. This development has made the rupee to lose against most currencies. Economic circumstances like these create an opportunity for better value in rupee terms for remitters.
    • Falling Property Prices  - Major cities in India like Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru are experiencing piling inventories and slack demand in real estate properties. Non-resident Indians can take advantage of this trend and invest in this lucrative industry.

    Therefore, whether you are sending money to your loved ones in India for household expenses or investment, using money transfer service providers is the best option. They are fast, efficient, affordable and flexible. As long as you know the recipient's details and what else you need to provide, you can send money in minutes!

    Your Questions Answered

    What’s The Fastest Way To Send Money To India?

    If speed is your biggest concern, try looking into MoneyGram. The company offers much in the way of speed and control when it comes to sending money to India. The service is very fast and serves hundreds of thousands of people daily. MoneyGram often offers same-day service as well, and most transfers are verified in under 15 minutes. The main drawback is that they charge a slightly higher fee when compared to similar services. If getting your funds to India extremely quickly is of utmost importance to you, then MoneyGram's pricing is a small price to pay for their rapid service.

    MoneyGram’s rates are affordable, if a bit high, but they are number one when it comes to consistently transferring money to India at high speeds. Be aware that they have a slightly low 30-day limit of $6000 for US – India transfers. That limit is generally lower for other countries as well.

    What’s The Most Affordable Way To Send Money To India?

    If keeping as much of your hard-earned money as possible is a bigger concern to you, then it’s best to stick to money orders. There are even cheaper ways to send money online to India, such as email checks, but they are often less safe and vulnerable to phishing scams.

    Money Orders are both safe and affordable, and they are offered at most banks for a small charge. It will ultimately fall on you to find the bank that best suits your needs. You’ll need to bring your ID, but this helps ensure security, and the money you send will be traced.

    The drawbacks to money orders are two-fold. First of all, they are not the most convenient way to transfer funds to India. They require you to go to the bank and complete a process that takes more time than most other options. Second, they aren’t very fast either, as they can take a few business days to be completed. Again, if speed or convenience is of any importance to you, then Money Orders might not be the best option.

    What’s The Most Convenient Way To Send Money To India?

    Many of your options for sending money online to India are quite convenient, depending on whether you are using an online service or a mobile app. As far as the larger transfer services go, let’s look at two options…

    Western Union is well known for both its dependability and ease of use. The company is highly active in India, so it serves as a great option for money transfer to India and is unlikely to let you down. There is a flip side, however. While Western Union is dependable and convenient, they charge a heavy fee. As such, we’d recommend you don’t use it to send small amounts of money to India. If you prefer to send money less frequently but in higher amounts, that can mitigate the company’s fees. Furthermore, if speed is your primary need, you should look elsewhere, as transfers can take up to a week to be completed.

    TransferWise also offers a convenient, yet an inexpensive option to send money online to India. Like Western Union, it is very easy to use. Both their online service and their mobile app are simple and user-friendly. However, like Western Union, expect longer wait times. It can take multiple business days for the money to be sent to India, depending on your location.

    Exchange Rates For India

    The current exchange rate for the Indian Rupee (INR) is 71.3020 INR per American Dollar (USD). The INR reached a high of 72.1515 INR per USD, and a low of 70.5085 IDR per USD during the last 90 days. The average exchange rate for the INR was 71.3098 IDR per USD during the last 90 days.

    What’s The Overall Best Way Send Money To India?

    The answer is first and foremost dependent on your individual needs. That being said, services such as TransferWise offer the most generically useful service amongst all of the providers. Their app is easy to use and relatively cheap, while the transfer times are not as bad as many other options. If you don’t mind waiting a few days for the money to arrive at its destination, then TransferWise is a well-rounded option for you. It’s best to first consider your own values and primary concerns before determining your new method of choice.

    Looking to Send Money Somewhere Else?

    Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to India. If you're looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.

    Jonathan Merry
    Written By
    Jonathan Merry
    Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com