The Complete Guide for NRIs Sending Money to India

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According to Pew Research, India is the world’s #1 destination for receiving money, an achievement driven by millions of NRIs and their strong ties with their families.

It may seem simple and straightforward to select a money transfer service, but there are many important factors you must consider before doing so. Here we answer some frequently asked questions to help simplify the process for you:

How do I get the best deal?

  • Keep an eye on exchange rates. Exchange rates are constantly fluctuating, meaning that the rate could drop or soar in a short period of time.
  • Pay attention to fees. Transfer fees may not be the only fees required to send money abroad. Look out for miscellaneous service charges or possible receiving fees.
  • Compare multiple money transfer providers. Different providers have different exchange rates, fees, and transfer times.
  • Don’t fall for offers. Many providers announce free gifts and lucky draws to customers. Even though it feels great to get a free gift, be sure to compare the exchange rates with other providers.
  • Know about transfer limits. Transfer fees may vary depending on the amount of money you are sending.

Is there a good time to send money?

Money ExchangeSome experts say it is best to transfer money during the western working week – from Monday to Friday – to ensure you get a live rate.

However, foreign exchange prices fluctuate constantly and many people who aren’t obliged to transfer funds on a monthly basis or other timed intervals can hoard money to wait for the best rate.

Why sending money to NRE Account is the best option?

If you are a NRI, sending money to a NRE account may be financially advantageous to you for several reasons.

  • It allows you to send as much amount as you want to India.
  • It allows you to stay in complete control of your hard-earned income abroad.
  • It offers 24/7 account access through secure an internet banking facility from anywhere at anytime.
  • There are no restrictions for transferring the money from NRE account back to your foreign account.
  • It allows you or dependents to withdraw cash easily via ATMs.
  • It allows you to transfer funds from your existing NRE Savings Accounts to open NRO/FCNR accounts.
Learn about different types of NRI bank accounts

Why do I need to pay fees to remit money?

The fees you pay to transfer money – either taken in the form of a commission that’s factored into the exchange rate or as a separate fee – covers a number of costs.

If you send month through an exchange house, it needs to send it to a bank that it has a relationship with in the country you are sending it to. It cannot transfer the money directly to a bank account in another country if it doesn’t have a relationship with that bank. The intermediary financial institution is called a correspondence bank.

The exchange house or bank you are sending through will also need to cover it’s business costs as well as making a profit.

What documentation do I need to send money?

A bank will already have your information logged and will simply need the details of the bank you want to transfer money too, such as the IBAN number, Swift code, bank address and contact number.

Most exchange houses will only ask for an ID card or passport. This is in order to prevent money laundering and other criminal activities.

How to transfer money to someone with no bank account?

If you want to send money to a remote location or to someone who doesn’t have access to or hold a bank account, then the best channel is through international remittance companies like Western Union and MoneyGram.

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All you have to do is send the MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number) to receiver and the receiver can collect it by showing an ID proof along with the MTCN.

Other tips

  • It is important to double-check the refund policy when arranging a cash pick-up in case the recipient is unable to pick up the funds on-time.
  • It is more cost-effective to send a single, large amount than multiple transfers of small amounts, as transfer fees can add up each time you initiate a money transfer.
  • Transferring funds utilising your credit card can get quite expensive. The transfer fees are usually much higher than a typical ACH/wire transfer. Do a quick cost-benefit analysis and confirm all fees with the remittance service so you don’t get any surprises.
  • Unusually high transfer fees may also apply to transactions made over the phone.

-Aneesh V / NRICafe.com

10 Comments

  1. this post was very informative…
    i til date dont have a NRE account now i know i need to have one
    one question i have vtransfering money through exchange is better or transfering from ur bank account to india is better???? which is more beneficial????

    • Hi Kavitha, The only minor difference is in the rates offered. Please compare the rate offered by your bank with rate offered by money exchange. This differs from bank to bank and exchange to exchange. Also the time taken for money transfer may be shorter via exchanges.

  2. Gopal Baliga on

    The Banks in India or for that matter all over the world, treat NRI and personaly banking customers very shabbily by keeping a fat margin on forex transactions. For example , when say Interbank rate of USD/INR is Rs 66 , Dollars sent to India gets converted at Rs 64 a fat margin of rs 2/- per dolar where as for trade clients same Bank offers a exch rate of Rs 65.90 or even 65.95 , with a slender margin of a few paise to a dollar. This is a discriminatory policy and even unethical on the banks part to exploit gullible NRIs who are not aware of the intricaies of exchange rate. I wrote many e mails to ministry of finance, RBI and even Bank head offices , but they have never replied.This unethical practice of banks need to be exposed and nRIs should be given a fair deal. Because of NRI remittances India has been able to manage the widening decicit in trade account and Govt of India praises the role of NRIs butn does little to protect their interest. Least we NRIs expect If not preferential treatment, at least fair and equal treatment .

  3. True that Mr Gopal. but now no one is going to reply here as well. this is hardly understood by people… everyone’s just looking at the conversion into multiple rupees against the foreign currency and simply keep going. 2 rupees difference for every dollar remitted + the service charge. simply awful …

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