What’s the Cheapest Way to Send Money to India?

Taj Mahal, India

If you have a business in India and you regularly transfer money there, you already know that some money transfer services offer better conditions than others.

However, finding secure, reliable and affordable methods to send money to India can cost you a lot of time and money.

What transfer methods do we use at Time Doctor?

We have a remote team with people in 19 different countries around the world. The two transfer methods we use the most are:

  • TransferWise – is a new kind of financial company that you can use to transfer money internationally at a very low cost. Their system is based on local bank account transfers, which makes transfers abroad cheaper than what banks or other providers charge. They charge a small upfront fee between 0.5% and 2% for transactions, depending on the route.
  • Payoneer – very convenient for sending and receiving. They are also one of the few methods that works to receive money in almost every country and the receiver can get their money on a debit card and withdraw from an ATM. They also have an option for direct transfer to the receiver’s bank account. They also have a $50 bonus if you receive more than $100 through this method.

The Time Doctor team has created a special series of articles dedicated to providing information about money transfer charges and hidden conversion costs for international monetary transfers.

The following tables provide information about the best options for sending money to India from across the world. Pay attention to the upfront fees and exchange rates that popular services charge you for transferring money.

Table 1 – Sending $1000 from the US to India
Transfer MethodStated fees to send $1000 USD Hidden currency conversion costTotal costTime for the transfer to arrive
OFX (previously USForex)*$0$7.5$7.51-2 days
TransferWise$9$0$91-2 days
Xoom$5$6.5$11.53-5 days
Remitly (slow)$0$13$133-5 days
MoneyGram (slow)$5$10$153-5 days
Ria Money Transfer (slow)$5$10$153-5 days
Western Union (slow)$6$11$173-5 days
Xpress Money$10$7$173-5 days
Lucky Money$0$19$193-5 days
MoneyGram (fast)$10$10$20Minutes
Ria Money Transfer (fast)$10$10$20Minutes
WorldRemit*$4$16$203-5 days
Remitly (fast)$4$17$21Minutes
Western Union (fast)$10$11$21Minutes
Transfast (slow)$5$16$213-5 days
Remit2India$6$19$253-5 days
XE Trade$0$27$273-5 days
Zenbanx$5$25$302-3 days
Payoneer$3$28$313-5 days
Transfast (fast)$30$16$46Minutes
Wire transfer$25-55$10-30$35-853-5 days
Travelex$0$151$1513-5 days

Notes:

  • Worldremit is offering their services only from the following states of US:
    District of Columbia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • If you’re not sure what I mean by “hidden currency exchange fees” check out our explanation in this article.
  • The fees for wire transfers are estimates and vary from bank to bank.
  • Minimum transfer of $500 for OFX (previously USForex).
Table 2: Sending Money to India from Different Countries. The TOTAL Cost in Percentages including the HIDDEN currency exchange fees.
Transfer MethodFrom the USFrom the UKFrom CanadaFrom Western EuropeFrom Australia
TransferWise0.9%0.7%1.2%0.7%0.7%
OFX (previously USForex)0.75%0.75%0.75%0.75%0.75%
Xoom1.2%Not availableNot availableNot availableNot available
FastRemitNot availableNot availableNot availableNot available1.2%
Remitly1.3%Not availableNot availableNot availableNot available
AzimoNot available1.4%Not available1.2%Not available
Ria Money Transfer1.5%Not availableNot availableNot availableNot available
Small World FSNot available1%Not available1.7%Not available
Lucky Money1.9%Not availableNot availableNot availableNot available
WorldRemit2%1.2%1.1%1.8%1.1%
Western Union1.7%1.2%2.1%1.9%1%
XendpayNot available0.2%2.3%0.2%2.3%
Transfast2.1%Not available0.9%Not availableNot available
Remit2India2.5%2.1%2%1.9%2.4%
XE Trade2.7%2.7%2.9%2.7%2.9%
Zenbanx3.1%Not available1.9%Not availableNot available
Payoneer3.1%Not availableNot availableNot availableNot available
MoneyGram1.5%1.1%1.5%5.8%3.1%
Xpress Money1.7%2.2%1.6%3.7%3.9%
Exchange4freeNot available2.4%2.1%2.5%2.4%
Wire transfer2.5-5.5%2-4.5%2.5-5.5%2-4.5%3-6.5%
Travelex15.1%Not available14.3%15.7%10%

Note:

  • OFX (previously OzForex) is a good option for sending larger amounts of money and their exchange rate fee goes down for larger amounts.
  • Minimum transfer of $500/£500 for OFX

Other articles that might interest you:

Transferring Money with TransferWise
What is the Cheapest Way to Send Money to Indonesia?
Compare Hidden Exchange Fees When Sending Money to Bangladesh

Try Time Doctor

Leave a reply

  • Ramit Sharma

    I think for the average Indian guy living in North America or Europe, your best bet is TransferWise or WorldRemit.I've used these two consistently and it works well. For Worldremit, there might be some restrictions depending on where you live in the US, while for Transferwise, it is easier to use for all foreigners living in the US.What often happens is that the first transfer could take some hours to execute due to background checks and all to be sure, you're the one making the transfer.
    UpVote Reply 2 Upvotes
  • Ritika Sharma

    This is an exhaustive list of ways to send money to India. Please confirm whether these percentages remain same or might change. If they change, then what factors cause change in these percentages.
    UpVote Reply 3 Upvotes
  • Yatin

    what about the paypal ???
    UpVote Reply 6 Upvotes
  • Patrick Montel

    Thanks for the article! Could you mention the ways to send money FROM India also?
    UpVote Reply 7 Upvotes
  • Prachi Singh

    Have you heard about Cashaa which transfers money globally that too free of cost with no hidden charges included and also in less time. Cashaa is powered by Blockchain which makes your money transfer easy and quick.
    UpVote Reply 1 Upvotes
  • Christophe Lassuyt

    Great, thanks ! There are a few other efficient operators that you could list. There is also an easy way to compare them in real-time through a comparison widget such as moneytis comparison widget
    UpVote Reply 1 Upvotes
  • Christophe Lassuyt

    interesting article. I would also use a complementary service to be sure to have a good timing for the exchange rate at the moment of the transaction. Indeed the mid-market exchange rate is moving a lot, especially between the USA and India, and when there are significant changes it can affect the amount we receive. neomy.io does this kind of alerts, same for TransFW and some comparison services
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Kumuda Gururao

    Very informative article!
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • JulianD

    Hello ! Thanks for this valuable & exhaustive information !If you want to do a money transfer comparison in one-click, you can try to use Moneytis it will help you to find the cheapest way to send money to any country !
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Pankaj

    Just wanted to say thank you for sharing such powerful information. Following your simple ideas I’ve learnt a huge amount and made very profitable trades consistently. online money transfer => CurrencyKart.comThanks
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Bre

    Great article! Really useful! Will be adding some of these exchange services to our site Transumo :) Thanks for putting these together. Wasn't familiar with a lot of them.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • saurabh

    Use Transferwise . There will be no fee and you best part is you will not lose single cent.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • James

    Have you checked any of these companies - http://internationalmoneytransfers.org/india/ ? Perhaps it's time to refresh this article? Can you tell if with any of the companies you checked there's a discount for large amounts (for businesses that work with India, emigration, property investment etc.)? With commercial foreign exchange companies you can haggle your price on the phone and get to potentially lower markups, or so it is stated here.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
    • James

      Hello Rob and thank you for your response. The thing about currency exchange rates is that they change so quickly. This is why these companies don't advertise them. The process is a tad different than with Transferwise. You just put your details, ask for a callback, and when they call you, you can get an initial quote.Now, these quotes won't be anywhere as near as good as Transferwise's for small transfers, but when you talk about emigration, property, business, luxury buying - i.e. need to transfer tens, or hundreds of thousands, the picture changes dramatically. Depending on several factors like currency volatility, country risk, and most importantly volumes - you can potentially get much better quotes.Beyond pricing, they provide services the pure-online platforms don't . First one being a dedicated dealer that can help you execute the transfer safely, but also in favorable conditions. He can provide expert advice on the right timing to make the transfer based on your individual needs. He can help you with advanced hedging options (if you need to make several payment installments, and lock current rates).The companies mentioned in the article I provided are far larger than Transferwise, and operating for 10-35 years now. As a professional in the field I definitely hate to see this wonderful service which is hardly covered by media.If you want the in-depth tour you are welcomed to a site I contributed to <a href="http://moneytransfercomparison.com" rel="nofollow">MoneyTransferComparison.com</a>. There are 30 different companies covered in there, vast majority of them deal with Indian Rupee. Very long guides on how the process works. I reckon it's worth your time if you want to cover this industry in depth. If you want to contact me you can do that via this site's contact form, just ask for it to be forwarded to James.All the best. J
      UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
    • Rob Rawson www.timedoctor.com

      Hi James, we tried to get rates for these companies but we are not confident in the rates provided on their website without actually doing a transfer through these services. So unfortunately were not able to add them to the article at this stage. If you have any direct experience with them please let me know the actual rate that you got.
      UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
    • Rob Rawson www.timedoctor.com

      We will add these to the article.I'm not aware of stated discounts for large amounts, I think you can certainly try and ask for a discount.
      UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Nilesh

    Thanks for the information! I find it very useful. Please add Indusfastremit also to the list. I found that it is cheaper to transfer to India.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Amit

    Nice article with useful Information. Thanks!
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Creques

    A little disappointed to not see Xoom among the list. I have been using xoom.com for a while to transfer money from the US to India. Had a pleasant experience with Xoom so far. A great 24/7 customer service coupled with highly user-friendly interface makes Xoom stand out from others. With Xoom, one can transfer money instantly, in a jiffy, to most banks in India. Most of my transfers reached within 2 mins. On top of instant deposits, Xoom is now offering best exchange rates ever - one more reason to recommend Xoom.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Sahil

    Nice article
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • chandra

    Hey Guys, for everyone who wants to send money abroad I use TransferWise. It’s the most convenient and cheaper way that I found. It’s the only company that gives you the same xe rate with 0,5% fee( no hidden charges likes banks do) . I was using bank to bank before always less, not the rates they display. Transferwise is started by the founders of skype and paypal. It uses peer-to-peer system, innovative way of transferring money. Its far far better than abanks ot any other service. use the below link for your first transfer for free upto £3000: transferwise.com/chandra
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Rajesh

    TransferWise & Western union is best .
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Tharun Shan

    Nice article, didn't know there were so many options available
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Yakov Kofner

    Hi Rob,Great info - thanks for pulling it together!It is actually quite hard to compare providers as their FX markups (your "Hidden currency conversion cost") have significant daily fluctuations. Plus some providers periodically change fees. Using advanced analytics, we built a simple tool to estimate total margin (FX markup plus fee) and predict the least expensive provider on any given day.Please check it out at https://www.saveonsend.com/ - would appreciate your advise on how we could make it more useful for you and your customers.Best regards, Yakov
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
    • Rob Rawson www.timedoctor.com

      It's great that you are providing this information and I think there is definitely the need for this information.My feedback is that: a) It's hard for me to know which countries you have as I don't understand all the flags b) It's hard for people to know if they need to select bank account or credit card as they might not know.Overall I think there is lots of potential for this information but people really want to know: 1. What is the cheapest method to send money 2. What is the cheapest method to send money FASTThere are a few other things like what about if you're sending a lot of money ($100,000 for example) but we actually created another article on this and usually that's for within USA to UK or standard currencies which is much easier to handle as there are lots of options.
      UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
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