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How NRIs Can Save On Money Transfer Fees & Get Best Exchange Rate

Updated on Jun 16, 2020
Xoom Money Transfers

Sponsored by: Xoom, A PayPal Service

Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) around the world sent a total of $83 billion to India in 2019, as per a World Bank report

NRIs often pay a heavy price to send their hard-earned money. In 2019, the average cost of sending $200 to India was 2.9% of the amount sent according to the World Bank data on remittances. On average, NRIs spent close to $2.4 billion in just fees and charges to send money home in 2019.

Purpose of Remittance

According to the data above from the Reserve Bank of India, family maintenance and savings constitute a majority of the remittances sent to India along with money sent for investment purposes. The money spent on avoidable fees could have benefited the loved ones instead. In this blog, we will break down the various costs associated with sending money to India, and tips for saving on money transfer fees. 

Cost of sending money 

There are 5 main factors that impact the cost of sending money: 

  1. Exchange Rates 
  2. Speed of Transfer 
  3. Payment Method 
  4. Transfer Fees 
  5. Transfer Amount 

Exchange Rates 

Traditional money transfer service providers like banks and money transfer stores make money by marking up exchange rates and transfer fees. It has proven to be expensive and time-consuming. 

As exchange rates fluctuate depending on market dynamics, make sure you compare the exchange rates before sending money. Xoom, PayPal’s digital remittance service, offers competitive exchange rates when compared to other digital remittance players, and even more so when users send higher amounts through Xoom. For example, for transactions to India, Xoom offers competitive exchange rates on transfers over USD $2,000, and the best Xoom rates are for amounts USD $10,000 and above.

Speed of Transfer 

Speed is a key differentiator while evaluating money transfer services. The speed at which your money transfer reaches your recipient depends on the money transfer service provider, your recipient's destination, your preferred payment and payout method. We have compared the top money transfer service providers for online money transfers from the US to India.

Speed

Just like Xoom’s brand ambassador Usain Bolt, Xoom is a speedy option within the money transfer industry. Transfers below 2 lakh rupees will reach your recipient in India typically in minutes, and high-value money deposits above two lakh rupees for both cash pick-up and bank deposit arrive typically within two hours - without having to wait for transactions to be processed during typical Indian banking hours. This includes most major Indian banks such as HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, and State Bank of India (SBI). 

Payment Method 

Your cost of sending money also depends on your method of payment. You can send money overseas using multiple payment methods: 

  • Online
  • Bank Wire Transfer
  • Debit Card
  • Credit Card
  • PayPal 

Since Xoom is a PayPal service, customers who already have an account with PayPal can also fund their Xoom transfers to India with their balance, and they don’t pay a Xoom transaction fee if they send $1,000 or more.

Transfer Fees and Transfer Amount 

There is a direct correlation between your transfer amount and the transaction fees you are charged. Think of it as the average cost of a can of coke from the major retailer near you vs. buying in bulk from a big box retailer. The higher the amount, the lesser you are likely to pay in fees.

A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) survey found that private sector bank charges on money transfers can go up to 12.6 % for money transfers to India under $200. The cost of remittances through digital remittance services is competitive vis-à-vis high street banks. Which brings us to Xoom, a digital remittance service. Let’s look at the transaction fees to send money through Xoom:

  • $499 or under  $2.99
  • $999 or under  $4.99
  • $1000 and above  $0.00

Below we have compared the transfer fee of sending $1000 from the US to India charged by top money transfer companies vs. Xoom. 

comparison

Generally, the direct cost of money transfers is borne by the sender like in the case of Xoom and cost can be significantly lower, especially when transactions are funded with a PayPal balance or bank account. 

Here are the top 5 tips to save on the money transfer fees:

  1. Avoid using traditional ways of sending money and high street banks.
  2. Avoid using a debit or a credit card to pay for your money transfer.
  3. Check for any hidden fees and/or commissions and read the fine print.
  4. Find special promotions such as coupons and offers extended by money transfer companies. Especially during holidays and festivals.
  5. Avoid sending multiple small amounts to single or multiple beneficiaries. To save on the money transfer fees, transfer a high-value amount of $1,000 or more to your NRE or NRO Savings Account and then initiate multiple domestic transfers to your beneficiaries. 

NRE: Non-Resident External | NRO: Non-Resident Ordinary

Limit on Transfer Amount 

In our earlier blog on the best ways to send money online from the United States to India, one of the major drawbacks for many new money transfer companies was the limit on the transfer amount. 

With Xoom, you can send up to $50,000 in a day or $100,000 over a period of 180 days, one of the highest among major online remittance players. To send above $2,999 per day, you will need to provide additional documents. For example; Passport, Driver’s License, Green Card, etc. 

Transfer Limit

How much you can send also depends on how the money is received and the limits by the partners in the countries that include the banks and cash pick-up locations.

CompareRemit’s favorite feature is the Money-back Guarantee

Xoom offers a money-back guarantee to refund your transaction in full if the money you have sent does not reach your recipient. 

To raise an issue or help, simply reach out to Xoom’s Customer Care available at their Toll-Free number: (877) 815-1531 or send Xoom an email detailing your issue. 

Mobile App

Xoom’s mobile app has also been featured on our Best International Money Transfer Apps. In addition, the Xoom mobile app has 4.8 stars with over 581 K ratings on the Apple store and has 4.0 stars on the Google Play Store. 

Bottom line 

Remittances sent by the migrant population have helped lift millions of households out of poverty one transfer at a time. The United Nations’ latest report estimates the number of international migrants globally to be 272 million. At 17.5 million, 6.5 % of the total population of international migrants are from India. Closely followed by Mexico (11.8 million) and China (10.7 million).

While the fees of money transfer to India are within the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 

(SDGs) to reduce the cost to less than 3% of the transaction amount by 2030, the cost varies significantly across the different ways of sending money.

The recent surge in the FinTech sector & the innovation being brought in this space as a result poses a major threat to the traditional banking services. And as the market becomes more competitive, consumers will get better rates, lower fees, and quality service.

If you and your beneficiaries are not limited by the challenges of financial and digital infrastructure, send money online through a digital remittance service to save on money transfer fees & get the best exchange rates on your transfers.

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