- Date : 11/02/2021
- Read: 4 mins
We take you through the various means to transfer a large amount of money from the US to India, listing the four best options.
Transferring money across international borders isn’t as simple as making the conversion from one currency to another. There are fees and transfer times involved, so choosing the correct service provider can prove to be tricky.
Different kinds of fees for transferring money
Traditional methods of transferring money include banks and specialised currency exchange businesses, but you might find that their fees don’t compare favourably to some of the options listed below. One way you might get charged money is via a fixed fee, irrespective of the amount transferred. The fixed fee might not make a lot of sense for a small amount, so always verify it before you let the transaction go through.
The second way is a percentage fee, which might make sense if you’re sending a small amount of money. Most percentage fees range from 0.75% to roughly 3% of the amount to be transferred, but avenues with more speed can go to over 5% as well.
There’s a third type of charge as well – the difference to exchange rate, which is the difference between the actual exchange rate for the day and what the transfer service actually provides to you. For example, if the exchange rate is INR65 to 1USD, you might get an exchange rate of INR64, with the difference being the fees for the transfer.
Money transfer service providers
There are many options available if you wish to remit a large sum of money from abroad (in our example, the US) to India. We’re using US Dollars as the demonstrating currency for this exercise. Let’s see what some money transfer options are:
TransferWise has among the lowest charges of all the service providers. It offers money transfer at the actual exchange rate (also known as the ‘mid-market rate’) and adds a fixed fee for the service. It can take longer than the others, but TransferWise does offer the option of quicker transfers, such as instant or same-day transfers. However, you may have to pay a premium for this.
One of the most recognised names in the money transfer business, PayPal offers a lot of convenience while transferring money. It takes just a few minutes to link it to your bank account or credit/debit card, and you will not be charged anything for sending the money. However, the recipient might have to pay a small fee for this transfer.
This is a well-known way to transfer money internationally, with a simple and trusted transfer mechanism. It’s one of the few methods that allows cash pickup (from a Western Union branch). The service is highly accessible since Western Union has over 1.25 lakh branches across India. However, the downside is a steep service charge. Besides, it could take up to a week for your money to be transferred, so this might not be the best method if you’re in a hurry.
If speed is all you desire, you can look at MoneyGram. It says that it will make the transfer in under 24 hours, though most transfers take all of ten minutes. The daily limit is around 10,000 USD, and it available in 200 countries.
This is the oldest of all the methods listed here, and has been around for over 50 years. You can process a wire transfer through a bank or wire transfer agency, provided you give them all the details. It takes one day for the money to reach its destination, but charges can be a little steep ($10–$35). One disadvantage of a wire transfer is that you can’t stop it once it is initiated.
All the methods discussed above have their advantages and disadvantages. So think about what matters to you most in terms of fees and transfer time, and then choose a method that best suits those needs.