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Best Ways To Send Money From India To The USA

Updated on Jul 21, 2020
From India to USA

The United States of America is home to a large Indian population including students, job seekers, migrant workers, visitors, etc. It is not a surprise that outward remittances or sending money from India to the USA is a common enough practice. The most common purposes for sending money from India to the US are for the payment of college fees, medical treatment, Visa fees, foreign investments, or sending a monetary gift to your friends and family in the US. 

Under the Liberalised Remittance (LRS) Scheme, all resident Indians are allowed to transfer funds up to USD 250000 per financial year. Learn more about LRS. In the Financial Year of 2018-19, resident Indians sent $13.78 billion under the LRS scheme. Amid the Coronavirus scare and despite a dip in March, Indians sent a record $18.75 billion in FY'20 as per the Reserve Bank of India, taking the aggregate over the last six-years to $58 billion.

Travel and Education dominated the reason for remittance with remittance worth $6.94 billion and $4.99 billion respectively. Closely followed by maintenance of close relatives ($3.4 billion) and gifts ($1.9 billion). A decline in Travel is inevitable but we will continue to see a rise in investments and deposits. 

RBI Data

When you send money internationally, there are two things to consider in order to get your money’s worth. The first one is how much money your recipient will get and second, is the time taken for the money to reach its destination. 

  1. Exchange Rate

The foreign exchange rate is the value of a currency compared to another foreign currency. The difference in the exchange rate of the currencies is one of the ways banks and money transfer service providers make money. A small difference in the exchange rate can be a significant difference in sending a large sum of money. 

Since you are sending money from India to the USA, you will be paying in Indian rupees (INR) and the recipient will receive the money in US Dollars. INR has to be converted to USD as per the exchange rate at the time of sending. Subscribe to our USD/INR exchange rates alerts to get notified when it reaches your desired rate. 

  1. Transfer Speed

The time taken for the money to reach its intended destination varies. It can be received in minutes or days. Sending cash through money transfer agent locations is faster but expensive. Bank transfers may take about 3-5 days or more but they are cheaper. Online money transfer service providers offer the best rates and transfer speed. 

Factors to keep in mind before sending money from India 

  • You will be charged a transfer fee that can be fixed or a percentage of the amount you are transferring. There are also fees on the payment method used for the transfer. For example, fees are higher for credit card transfer than debit cards or bank transfers. You will also need to pay foreign conversion tax and service tax which are fixed but differs from country to country. Service tax is charged on the commission and not on the total amount. 
  • The exchange rate offered and the total transfer cost will differ widely between different remittance service providers, and the amount that your recipient will finally get won’t be the same for any of the service providers. 
  • Choose the one with the great customer support that will guide you during the transfer process or when something goes wrong. The customer service should be easy to access via email, chat, or phone and should be available 24/7.  

Considering all these factors while choosing the one that suits your needs will get you the best service. Check out our blog on how to compare international money transfer companies.


Different ways to send money from India to the US 

  1. Wire Transfer

This electronic money transfer enables you to transfer/wire money from your bank account to a US bank account. Bank to bank transfer uses a network called the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Financial Transactions) that allows the participating banks in the network to share transaction information between them securely. Major Indian banks and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) approved Authorized Dealers are tied up with over 400 international banks around the world that are part of the SWIFT messaging network to facilitate safe and secure outward remittance from India.

Some of the major banks that offer outward remittance services include ICICI bank, AXIS bank, SBI, etc. 

You need to share your bank account number, your recipient’s bank details (name, address, account number), and swift code or routing number to make the transfer. You may need to provide additional documents to prove your identity or your purpose of outward remittance. Keep in mind that for bank transfer there can be corresponding bank charges.

  1. Foreign Currency Demand Draft

Foreign Currency Demand drafts are pre-paid negotiable instruments issued in a particular foreign currency by a bank. They are a cheaper option for international money transfer. You are charged only the demand draft fee by the bank or the service provider you used. They can be issued if lost or stolen. However, they can take longer for the recipient to receive the money. They are a good option in case you want to save money and not pressed for time. 

  1. Online Money Transfer Service Providers 

Online money transfer service providers offer the best exchange rate and lowest transfer fees.

Top online money transfer service providers from India to the US

India to USA

1. TransferWise

It is an online money transfer company based in London. It is one of the cheapest ways to send money online. The exchange rate they offer is the mid-market exchange rate and the transfer fees are shown upfront. You can send money via their website or their money transfer app. You can pay for the transfer with your debit card or credit card, or via your bank account. Their customer reviews are mostly positive.

2. Western Union

Western Union is one of the oldest money transfer companies in the world. You can send money from India to the US via the Western Union online service. Visit their website and register to initiate the transfer and pay via your bank account. Your recipient will get the money directly in their bank account. The service time is one business day and the transaction can be tracked online.

3. BookMyForex

To transfer money online from India to the US, visit their website, and enter your bank details, your beneficiary bank details, provide ID proofs, and other verification if necessary. The money is transferred in 2 days. There are no foreign transaction fees. 

4. ExTravelMoney

To initiate money transfer online, visit their website, and fill in the amount of USD you need to transfer along with the purpose of remittance and compare the different rates offered by banks and RBI authorized dealers. Once you select a particular rate, book it. Provide your necessary documents for verification. After you have been verified, the money will be transferred to the chosen bank as NEFT/RTGS. The recipient will receive credit in 2 working days.

5. Remitout

With many Indian students studying in Universities in the US, Remitout currently provides the service of transferring money for educational expenses. To transfer money, you need to register with their website using your banking details in India and the University that you or your ward is studying in. The money reaches in two business days. 

The best way to transfer money from India to the US depends on the convenience of the bank or the money transfer company and how it suits your needs. When all things are equal, we recommend going with an online option that offers you the best exchange rate and a transparent transfer fee.

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