With more and more Indians moving to the USA for school and work, the need to transfer money is on the upswing. Whether you’re a professional working in the USA or a freelancer working for clients based in the States, you will need to have a reliable money transfer service so you can send money to friends and family and receive money for your services. It is essential to make the right choice here as money transfers from overseas depend largely on exchange rates, overhead costs, and legal procedures.
Let us understand all about transferring funds from the USA to India and discuss the top ten providers for you to choose.
Is There a Maximum Limit on Money Transfer to India from USA?
No. You are free to transfer as much money to India as required, provided you pay all the taxes in time. India doesn’t permit double taxation, so any amount that is transferred to India (on which the sender has already paid tax) will not be taxed again. This amount is called “remittance” and is seen as a gift for the recipient (provided the recipient is the spouse or a blood relative.) However, if you send money to someone who is not a blood relative, any amount over INR 50,000 is taxable and must be declared.
Note that there is an annual limit of USD 14,000 per person for “gift tax-free” transactions. So, if you wish to send more than USD 14,000 per year, you will have to pay gift taxes.
How to Choose a Money Transfer Service
The number of providers that offer online money transfer, UPI payment apps, etc., has mushroomed in recent times. While selecting one, keep these criteria in mind:
- Cost: How much does the provider charge you for the service? Are there are any discounts, hidden charges, etc.?
- Speed: How long does the transfer take?
- Exchange rates: What is the rate you are getting using the chosen provider? Are you incurring a substantial loss?
- Security: Is the transaction secure? Will you get a refund in case of a loss in transit?
- Convenience: Is it straightforward to transfer money using this service?
- Reliability: Is the service provider trustworthy?
Best Solutions for Money Transfer to India from USA
Supports Express Transfer within 4 hours, covers 140+ banks across India
One of the most trusted money transfer providers, Remitly is a good option to dependably and quickly send money to India. The exchange rate offered is decent, and the transfer time is great. Remitly charges $3.99 for amounts under USD 1000 (amounts above that are free). If you opt for Express Transfer, the recipient will receive the amount within four hours. Economy Transfers can take 3–5 days (but offer an even better rate).
2. Ria Money Transfer
Incredible transfer time of only 15 minutes
This is a popular money transfer firm with services spread across 149 countries. The best part about Ria Money Transfer is its lightning-fast service time: 15 minutes only. You can choose to pay via your bank account (for no extra fee) or using your debit card (fee of around $6 for USD 1000).
Gives you a good exchange rate (the “mid-market rate”)
If your priority is the best exchange rate, TransferWise can serve you well. Its USP is offering you the best exchange rate—free of markups. To send USD 1000, you will have to pay a fee of USD 8.94. Note that it can take 2–3 days to complete the transaction.
4. Xoom Money Transfer / PayPal
Instant cash deposit for selected banks in India
A PayPal service that has gained popularity in recent times, Xoom offers speedy transfer within four hours. To some select banks in India—HDFC Bank, PNB, Axis Bank and Yes Bank—the transfer is instant. If you transfer USD 1000 and pay with a debit/credit card, you’ll be charged a fee of USD 30.49. Like PayPal, one of the leading digital wallets in India, Xoom is also mobile-friendly. This makes it easy to send money and track the entire process.
5. Wire Transfer
Can send money within 24 hours, reliable and secure
One of the oldest methods of money transfer to India from USA, a wire transfer is also one of the quickest. You need to touch base with your bank and inquire about this service. Most banks support this facility, although the fees may differ. For instance, HDFC Bank offers outward foreign remittance up to USD 500 at the cost of INR 500. For transfers above USD 500, you will have to shell out INR 1000.
6. Automatic Clearing House Transfer (ACH)
Reliable bank-to-bank money transfer at no extra cost
An ACH transfer is where the sum gets deducted from your US bank account and transferred to the recipient’s bank account in India. It is similar to a wire transfer except that it usually takes more time—up to seven days—and doesn’t entail a fee like in the case of wire transfer. Most banks in the USA support ACH, which makes this a secure mode of money transfer.
7. Money Order
Convenient for small sums of money; offers full recovery if the money is lost
An international money order is a suitable method to transfer small amounts of money. Most banks charge very little; some may even waive the fee depending on the tenure/usage of your bank account with them. The recipient will have to deposit the money order in his/her account. He/she may need to provide ID to cash it. This further boosts the security of this transfer method.
8. Western Union
Trusted, reliable service that offers transfer within minutes for debit card payments
Highly trusted as a money transfer service for several years, Western Union is one of your most reliable bets. You can choose to pay via your bank account (in which case there will be no additional fee) and the transaction will be completed in 4–5 days. If you pay via your credit/debit card, the cost is about USD 2.99 for transferring USD 1000. In the latter, however, the service time is also less—up to one day only. It is also possible for the recipient to pick up cash from an agent location.
Established service provider with low fees and good exchange rates
Another competent money transfer service is Transfast—a brand that has proved itself in the last 25+ years. No fee is levied if you pay via a bank account, and the transfer time is about 3–5 days. In case the recipient does not receive the amount after you have funded it, you will receive a complete refund.
10. International Cheques
Secure, traditional mode of transfer
If you prefer conventional methods, it is possible to send money to India via a cheque. You can write out an international cheque to your intended recipient and mail it to them. The recipient can cash it after providing his/her ID. However, this is a time-consuming method (especially because of the mailing). The recipient may also have to incur some charges due to the exchange rates.
Tips to Find the Best Exchange Rates
While transferring money, you’d want to find the lowest exchange rate so that the money you lose by the transfer is as little as possible. These pointers will assist you in finding the best money transfer rate to India:
- Always keep abreast of the latest exchange rates in the market. For example, you can use a service like XE Currency Email to get daily email notifications of the current USD exchange rate.
- Get quotes from multiple providers and evaluate which offers you the best blend of a good exchange rate as well as low fees.
- Pick your timing of transfer when the exchange rate looks promising, as far as possible.
- Select a mode of transfer that offers the best exchange rate at the lowest cost. For example, TransferWise offers a mid-market rate which is better than many other providers.
- Enquire about forward contracts. Some providers allow you to lock in an exchange rate for a transfer you make in the future (up to a few days). Doing so can save you from a poor exchange rate in the days to come. It can be worth your while if the economic trends indicate a falling rupee.
- Consider sending one large transfer over several small transfers. Many providers offer better exchange rates and charge less for bulk money transfers.
You may need to frequently transfer money to India from USA if you live abroad and have dependents back in India. Whenever you make a transfer, remember to use only a trustable, legal money transfer service. The providers/options on this list are safe and will safeguard you from potential scams. It is much better to spend a little extra for peace of mind than run after glittering offers that turn out to be illusions.
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