India has one of the largest immigrant populations of the United Kingdom and now make up over two percent of the entire population. With such a large population there is a large demand to be transferring money to India and a need to have secure ways to be able to do that.
Whatever your reason is for sending money to India, there are ways to send the money safely and securely. There are also ways to do it which avoid the heftiest charges and fees.
It would take too long to cover every possible method of transfer so taking different situations into account, here are our recommended methods.
So What is the Best Way to Transfer Money to India?
Sending Money Home
Western Union, for example, are the ideal choice for sending small amounts internationally, like gift money for friends or relatives. Other companies may waive transfer fees if you are sending a large amount. Discussing your specific needs with a money transfer specialist is critical to getting the right deal for you.
Our Verdict: You can achieve a spread of 1% or perhaps lower if you use the right exchange specialist such as OFX or TorFX. You can also ensure you get the lowest fees and create an ongoing strategy. Hedging tools may also be available.
Honourable mention: Western Union need to be mentioned simply for the use of use of their cash pick up service and their worldwide reach.
Payment for tuition can be a big expense. You need to pay tuition fees regularly but there are also multiple other expenses associated with studying. For the tuition fees and other larger payments you need to ensure that you shop around for the best exchange rates. As for smaller transfers, make sure you keep a careful eye on the fee you are being charged.
Sending money for business
If the business is sending currency, consider these two important things.
- The Exchange Rate Margin is the difference between the rate you are offered and the wholesale exchange rate published by xe.com.
- The specific business products on offer. These could be forward exchange contracts, limit orders and foreign currency accounts.
Our Verdict: HiFX have great exchange rates and a £0 fee structure which maximizes your overseas payments. You can also set up foreign currency accounts. This lets you keep the funds in your account in a foreign currency, only converting them when the time is right.
Buying or Selling a Property
If you are in the process of buying a property in India or have recently sold a property and want to get the money back to the UK, you need to find a provider who has a strong presence in both countries. This will give you peace of mind and flexibility in what is usually a stressful time.
Our Verdict: OFX is the obvious choice for international property transactions due to its local account managers in each country.
Honourable mention: ICICI Bank has enviable networks in both the UK and India.
If you are moving from India to the UK
All of the UK banks let you transfer money to India and back and it’s a very easy process to do so. However it’s worth remembering that the fees charged by banks for international transfers are high, and you will not be getting the most competitive exchange rate.
To avoid large fees, consider using an online money transfer service.
Our Verdict: HiFX give you competitive exchange rates for transfers of Indian Rupees (INR). A good choice for payments that are under £10,000.
Tools to Help you Send Money to India
The Costs of Sending Money to or from India
Trying to figure out the complete cost of a money transfer can be difficult. It all depends on the transfer method and the fees involved, the margins aren’t always clear. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of the most common charges you’ll face when sending money from one account to another.
- The Transfer Fee – This is also called a Telegraphic Transfer (TT), a Wire Transfer or a Remittance Fee.
- Exchange Rate Margin – The difference between the rate you are getting and the wholesale rate you see on xe.com.
- Correspondent Bank Fees – The fees that your bank charges for guaranteeing your transfer gets to the right account. It is taken out when the funds arrive in the recipients account, it’s always very difficult to estimate it and impossible to reverse.
- Receiving Bank Fee – If you’re transferring foreign currency into an overseas bank then that bank will charge you a fee for doing so. In this instance, if you send British pounds to an Indian bank then the Indian bank will charge you.
What are the options?
Banks in the UK have far more competitive fees and better exchange rates than most other banks around the world. This is because there is much more competition for this kind of service in the UK. Using a bank is the fastest way to get money between accounts.
If you’re sending less than £1,000 then this is a great option. The fees will be similar to those you’ll find at a bank but the exchange rate will be better. If the person you are sending money to also has a PayPal account then the process is even more convenient.
Money Transfer Company
Money transfer companies such as HiFX and OFX are definitely the cheapest option if you are sending anything over £1,000. They offer low or no fees and the exchange rates are better. It can take a little longer to make the transfer which is a disadvantage. You’ll initially have to set up an account with them. This process can be as little as ten minutes or as long as two days depending on the company and what they need to know. When you eventually make the transfer it can also take one day longer than a bank.
How to use a Money Transfer Company (instead of a Bank)
Transferring money in this way is similar to using a bank but with a few distinct differences. Here are the basic online steps.
Setting things up (one off)
- Log in to their website and enter the details required. Make sure you have an ID available.
- Wait for account approval, you’ll then receive a login and a password.
- Ensure you have the banking details of where you are sending the money and enter them. The receiver is usually known as the ‘Recipient’ or ‘Beneficiary’.
Transferring the Money
- Advise the amount you want to send and get a quote.
- Reconfirm the details, accept the exchange rate offered to you and confirm the amount in sterling.
- You will receive a confirmation of the deal. You will pay them in sterling before the amount is sent to India.
Information You’ll Need Before Making Your Transfer
When sending funds overseas you will need the following information about the account you are sending to.
- Account name of the recipient
- Their address
- The SWIFT code of the bank
Banks in India are particularly fussy about details. A single digit or a minor mistake in the address can cost a lot of time and effort.
Here is a list of SWIFT codes for the larger Indian banks.
- ICICI Bank Limited : ICICINBB
- State Bank of India : SBININBB380
- Punjab National Bank : PUNBINBB
- Canara Bank : CNRBINBB
How Long Does it Take to Send Money to India?
If you’re looking for speed then ICICI Bank, Western Union and PayPal are your best options. Transfers take a matter of minutes. If you’re sending money to a bank account using a bank then the process will take 1-2 days. If you’re using a money transfer specialist that could increase to 2-3 days. To find out more on how long it takes to complete and international money transfer, click here.
Is There a Minimum Transfer Amount?
Banks and PayPal do not have a minimum limit but some money transfer specialists do. Before using them make sure you check their minimum transfer amount.
Priya and Rahul live and run a business in Birmingham, England. They have elderly parents who live in India who require constant medical care and therefore they regularly send payments to them to pay for these expenses.
For day to day living expenses they use their PayPal accounts as it is simple and fast. However, when they need to send larger amounts to pay for medical expenses they use HiFX. As the amounts are still under £10,000 the company gives them an excellent rate of exchange ensuring that the bulk of the money they are sending goes to pay the bills.