Best International Money Transfer Services in India

Best International Money Transfer Services in India

Ever felt like regular banks just don’t get students’ struggles? After all, between textbooks, ramen noodles, and figuring out life, who has time for confusing fees and transfers? Well, the good news is that you can choose overseas remittance companies, like HiWiPay, instead to transfer money abroad from India, whether you are a student studying abroad. NRIs support families, tourists, travellers, property buyers, investors, or merely someone sending a gift or support to someone. HiWiPay thrives on offering secure, friendly features like affordable international money transfer services within 24 hours and eliminating hidden and high fees by offering complete transparency and competitive rates.

Apart from HiWiPay, you have other options to transfer money abroad, such as via banks. Banks like ICICI, HDFC, PNB and many others allow you to send money abroad. Which one is the right fit for your needs? Well, the right choice for you will depend on several factors. Continue reading to find out what to keep in mind

Table of Contents

Factors to Consider When Choosing an International Money Transfer Services Provider

Blindly choosing an international money transfer service provider is a fool’s play. Here are the essential factors you must consider:

1. Exchange Rate:

Currency values change with changes in the economy. Exchange rates are influenced by interest rates, economic indicators, political stability, and market speculation. So, if you want to send money abroad, you must understand these key factors influencing the exchange rate to make informed decisions. 

On a personal level, you must do the following to stay updated:

  • Monitor the exchange rates
  • Stay ahead of economic & political events
  • Set up alerts and notifications
  • Consult with a financial advisor
  • Beware of time zones as currency markets operate in different time zones  

Apart from this, here is what you must factor in when choosing an international money transfer service provider:

  • Locking of exchange rates so you have protection against fluctuations.
  • Real-time and competitive exchange rates help you get the best current price.

    2. Fees and Charges

For international money transfers, there are different fees and charges for you to know about and consider:

  • Transfer Fee: It is charged by the financial service provider for transferring money.
    Based on the service provider, it can be a flat fee or a percentage of the amount transferred. 
  • Currency Conversion Fees: When money is converted from one currency to another, financial service providers usually charge a fee, which is a percentage of the total amount. 
  • Nostro Charge: This is the fee that banks usually charge to maintain nostro accounts and transfer money to them. These accounts hold foreign currency in a foreign bank. 
  • Service Charge: For specific services or features, the financial service provider charges additional fees. 
  • GST (Goods and Services Tax): It may not be applied to money transfers to energy countries. It is usually included as a percentage of the service fees. 
  • TCS (Tax Collected at Source): It is collected based on the purpose of the transfer.

All these charges can quickly add up, increasing the cost of transfer. So, look out for all the fees you will have to pay. 

3. Transfer Speed

The next thing you must factor in is the transfer speed. It varies depending on the service provider and the country you send money to. The standard transfer time period offered by banks is 2-10 days, depending on the method of money transfer chosen. If your need to send money is urgent, consider online remittance companies like HiWiPay, as they usually take only 24 to 48 hours to process the transfer. 

While faster transfers can be more convenient, some financial service providers might charge high fees. So, consider the cost and urgency of the transfer to determine the best option for you. 

4. Convenience and Hassle-Free Process

Wouldn’t you love to transfer money internationally from anywhere, anytime? That’s exactly why you must consider a service provider that offers convenience and hassle-free processes. Here’s what a convenient and hassle-free process means:

  • Easy to use
  • Reliable customer support
  • Multiple transfer options 
  • Accessibility
  • Transparent Process

The process of bank international money transfers is usually more complex and time-consuming than that of online remittance companies like HiWiPay. With HiWiPay, you won’t have to wait in long bank queues or deal with the costs of paperwork and high markup fees. You can transfer your money safely by completing the KYC ONCE and digitally submitting the A2 Form. You won’t need to fill everything again and again. The best part is you can do it from anywhere, anytime, through HiWiPay website or app!

5. Customer Service Support

Reliable customer support that can help resolve issues and answer queries is a key aspect of a hassle-free process. This could be in the form of live chat, phone support, or email support.

Here’s what you should look for when it comes to customer support:

  • Good customer service should be available 24/7, or at least during the hours that are most convenient for you.
  • Multiple channels for customer support like live chat, phone support, or email support.
  • Their response time should be quick and offer a constructive solution.
  • If you are not comfortable with English, check if the provider offers customer service in your preferred language.

Read More : Education Loan Interest Rate for Abroad Study

Understanding the Fees Associated With International Money Transfers Abroad

As mentioned above, there are many fees and charges associated with international money transfer services. However, the following 2 are rather important:

  • Transfer Fee: The financial service provider charges a transfer fee when you transfer money. Depending on the service provider, it may be a flat cost or a percentage of the amount transferred.
  • Nostro Charge: Nostro charge is the price that banks often charge to maintain nostro accounts and move funds to these accounts, which include foreign currency in a foreign bank. 

What are the Best International Banks?

When it comes to transferring payments internationally, there may be better options than your bank. Alternative suppliers may be able to provide a cheaper service with a shorter delivery time.

Have a look at this Table Below to Understand this better:

ProviderInternational Transfer FeeExchange Rate 
HiWiPay Exchange rates include a markup
ICICI International Transfers750 INR + correspondent feesExchange rates include a markup
HDFC International Transfers500 INR transfer fee + 500 INR SWIFT feeExchange rates include a markup
PNB International Transfers500 INR transfer fee + correspondent feesExchange rates include a markup
SBI International TransfersVariable feesExchange rates include a markup
Axis International Transfers1,000 INR + exchange rate markup + 500 INR SWIFT chargesExchange rates include a markup

1. ICICI International Transfers

ICICI Bank allows you to initiate international money transfer services in 21 different currencies. The fees for NRI and residents are different.

For transfers initiated through Internet banking:

  • NRI: INR 500
  • Resident INR 750

For transfers initiated through bank branches:

  • NRI: INR 500
  • Resident INR 1000

Pros:

  • Convenient process and reliable.
  • Flexibility to initiate payments online or physically in a branch.
  • Option to send in 21 different currencies (FEMA limits apply).

Cons:

  • The bank charges higher fees for in-branch payments. 
  • Exchange rates include markup.
  • The transfer may include intermediary charges.

ICICI Transfer Limit: Customers can transfer money abroad up to INR 20 lakh per day. The monthly limit is INR 1 crore. Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) regulations apply, meaning you can send up to USD 250,000 (INR 20,682,750) per financial year (April-March).

Correspondent Bank Fees: The amount charged for outgoing wire transfers does not include any fees.

2. HDFC International Transfers

HDFC Bank allows you to transfer money abroad in 22 different currencies. The bank does not charge different fees from an NRI and a resident for the transfer. They just charge a commission on the remittance, which is:

  • Up to USD 500 or equivalent – INR 500/- per transaction
  • Above USD 500 or equivalent – INR 1000/- per transaction

Pros:

  • Easy process and reliable.
  • Flexibility to send money online or physically in a branch (RBI limits apply).
  • Option to send in 22 different currencies.

Cons:

  • Fees vary based on the amount of payment. 
  • Exchange rates include markup and SWIFT fees.

HDFC Transfer Limit: Customers can send money abroad up to the limit set by RBI under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS), which is USD 250,000 (INR 20,682,750) per financial year (April-March). 

Correspondent Bank Fees: Correspondent banks include commission, exchange rate markup, and corresponding bank fees.

3. PNB International Transfers

Through PNB Bank, you can initiate international money transfer services in 12 different currencies. There are no different fees for an NRI and a resident for the transfer. Here’s what PNB charges: 

  • Fund up to INR 20,000: INR 500 + SWIFT charges (INR 500 + GST) 
  • Fund over INR 20,000: INR 1000 + SWIFT charges (INR 500 + GST) 

Pros:

  • Familiar and reliable service provider.
  • Initiate payments physically or online.
  • Send money in 12 different currencies.

Cons:

  • Overall cost for the transfer is high, including third-party fees.
  • Exchange rates include markup.

PNB Transfer Limit: You can transfer USD 10,000 in a single transaction and USD 1,00,000 in a financial year. Additionally, RBI’s Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) apply, so the limit caps at USD 250,000 (INR 20,682,750) per financial year (April-March).

Correspondent Bank Fees: There may also be correspondent bank costs, which the sender will be responsible for paying when the payment has been adequately completed.

4. SBI International Transfers

SBI Bank allows international money transfer services in 90+ different currencies. There are no different fees for NRI and residents, but they charge a flat fee of INR 100 for wire transfer through an NRO account.

Pros:

  • Convenient process and reliable.
  • Online and physical processes are available.
  • Option to send in 90+ different currencies to 200 countries.

Cons:

  • SWIFT fees apply, increasing the overall cost.   
  • Exchange rates include markup.
  • Delivery time may not be the best.

SBI Transfer Limit: Through the SBI branch, the limit per transaction or day is USD 25,000 (INR 20.6 lakh) or equivalent. The yearly limit is USD 250,000 (INR 20,682,750) per financial year (April-March) as per RBI’s Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS).

Correspondent Bank Fees: Additional charges may be incurred from the correspondent bank involved in the transaction. 

5. Axis International Transfers

Axis Bank allows you to send money abroad in 16 different currencies through its branch and 100+ currencies online. The bank doesn’t differentiate in fees charged from NRI and residents. It charges 1,000 INR + exchange rate markup + 500 INR SWIFT charges.

Pros:

  • Flexibility to initiate payments online or physically in a branch.
  • Allows you to transfer money in 100 different currencies.

Cons:

  • The overall fees are high because of the SWIFT fee. 
  • Exchange rates include markup.

Axis Transfer Limit: Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) regulations apply, so the transfer limit is USD 250,000 (INR 20,682,750) per financial year (April-March).

Correspondent Bank Fees: They charge between USD 11 and USD 17.5, depending on the transfer amount.

Read More : How to Get Student Loan for MBA Abroad

How to Avoid International Transfer Fees With Banks

Here are some strategies to avoid or minimise international transfer fees with banks:

  • Using Mobile Banking: Many banks offer lower fees for transactions made through their mobile apps compared to in-branch or over-the-phone transactions. This is because digital transactions are cheaper for the bank to process.
  • Sending Larger Amounts Rather than Sending Small Amounts: Banks often charge a flat fee for international transfers, regardless of the amount being sent. Therefore, sending larger amounts less frequently can be more cost-effective than sending smaller amounts more often.
  • Use a Specialist International Payment Provider: Specialist providers like Transfer Wise or HiWiPay often offer better exchange rates and lower fees than traditional banks. They can afford to do this because they operate online and have lower overhead costs.
  • Compare Some Different Transfer Services: Fees and exchange rates can vary widely between different banks and money transfer services. It’s worth taking the time to shop around and compare your options before making a transfer.

Remember, while minimising fees is important, you should also consider other factors like the speed of the transfer, the convenience of the service, and the level of customer support provided. It is all about finding the right balance that suits your needs.

Choosing the Best International Money Transfer Apps

There are several factors you need to consider when choosing the best international money transfer services app:

  • Exchange rate: Compare the rates offered by different apps as they directly impact how much money the recipient will receive.
  • Fees and charges: Look into transfer fees, foreign transaction fees, and other fees offered. Some apps will charge a flat fee, while others charge a percentage of the transfer amount. Always check the fee structure before making a transfer.
  • Transfer speed: Transfer speed matters if there is an emergency and the recipient needs funds immediately. So, check out if the apps are offering same-day transfers or transfers that take days to go through.
  • Hassle-Free Booking Process: The app should have a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to initiate, track, and receive transfers.
  • App Order flow: This includes the app’s user-friendliness and the steps involved in the transfer. A good app will have a simple and intuitive order flow that makes the process quick and easy.
  • Operating System: The app should be compatible with your device’s operating system, whether it is iOS, Android, or something else.
  • Play Store & App Store ratings: Check the app’s ratings on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. High ratings generally indicate that the app is reliable and well-liked by its users. 
  • Customer reviews: Read the reviews left by other users. They can provide valuable insights into the app’s reliability, customer service, and overall performance.
  • App Security Features: The app should have robust security measures in place to protect your personal information and financial transactions. This could include data encryption, two-factor authentication, and other security protocols.

International Money Transfer Apps in India

Choosing the right international money transfer services app is paramount to ensuring smooth and cost-effective cross-border transactions. With numerous options available in the market, it is essential to consider factors like exchange rates, service quality, safety, transfer speed, and customer satisfaction. Here is a  breakdown of the key points for each of the top  international money transfer services apps in India:

  1. HiWiPay:
  2. Axis Bank Mobile App
  • Exchange Rates: 3-3.5% markup over base rates.
  • Service Quality and Safety: Safe and secure transfers with adherence to regulatory requirements.
  • Transfer Speed: 24-72 business hours.
  • Customer Satisfaction: High ratings and positive reviews on both Play Store and App Store.
  • Advantages: Remit 100+ currencies, convenient booking process.
  • Disadvantages: Significant markup on exchange rates.
  1. Unimoni App
  • Exchange Rates: 0.7% markup over base rates.
  • Service Quality and Safety: Highest level of security with advanced app security features.
  • Transfer Speed: 24-48 business hours.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Mixed reviews about the booking process.
  • Advantages: Remittance to over 180 countries, 24/7 customer support.
  • Disadvantages: User-unfriendly app interface.
  1. ICICI iMobile Pay 
  • Exchange Rates: 3% markup over base rates.
  • Service Quality and Safety: Safe and secure transfers with strong encryption for data transmission.
  • Transfer Speed: 24-72 business hours.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Great customer reviews on both App Store and Play Store.
  • Advantages: Convenient booking process, transparent fees and charges.
  • Disadvantages: Limited availability for outward remittances.
  1. HDFC Mobile Banking App
  • Exchange Rates: 2-3% markup over base rates.
  • Service Quality and Safety: Advanced security features with two-factor authentication.
  • Transfer Speed: Up to 72 business hours.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Positive reviews on both App Store and Play Store.
  • Advantages: Fast and reliable transfer speeds, convenient and easy-to-use app.
  • Disadvantages: Limited accessibility restricted to HDFC Bank account holders, lengthy documentation process involved.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to transfer money internationally?

HiWiPay is the best way for international money transfers. It offers competitive exchange rates, transparent fees, and a user-friendly platform that makes sending money abroad quick and easy.

Which bank does not charge wire transfer fees?

In India, most banks charge a fee for wire transfers. But it is always a good idea to check with your bank for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

What is the cheapest way to wire money internationally?

The cheapest way to wire money internationally is through HiWiPay. Although, the cheapest option can vary depending on factors such as the amount you’re sending, the countries involved, and the speed of transfer.

Which Indian banks accept international bank transfers?

The following Indian banks accept international bank transfers:

1. Axis
2. HDFC 
3. ICICI
4. SBI
5. PNB

How Do Money Transfer Apps Work?

Here’s a general overview of how they work:

1. First, you need to download the app and create an account.
2. Link bank account or card
3. Enter transfer details, i.e., the amount you want to send, the currency, and the recipient’s information. 
4. Confirm if everything is alright, and go ahead and send the transfer.  
5. The money transfer app will then process the transfer.
6. Once the transfer is complete, both you and the recipient will receive a notification.

Are Money Transfer Apps Safe to Use?

Yes, most money transfer apps are safe to use. They employ a variety of security measures to protect your personal information and your money, such as data encryption, two-factor authentication, fraud detection systems, regulatory compliance, etc. 

How many days does it take for the settlement of an international money transfer?

The time taken varies, depending on the transfer method. 
Banks: 2-5 days
Local Agents: 3-4 days
Online Remittance Companies: 24 – 48 hours

Is there a limit on overseas money transfers?

Yes, the bank or online remittance company that you choose might have per transaction limit. Apart from this, as per the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS), you can only send up to USD 250,000 (INR 20,682,750) per financial year (April-March).

Can I fix my exchange rate now but send cash later?

Yes, you can fix your exchange rate now and send cash later to India. This is often referred to as a “forward contract”. But you can only fix the exchange rate for a couple of days, which varies as per the service provider.

References 

Works Cited

“Check Remittance Charges & Remittance Fees Applicable on Online Transfers at HDFC Bank.” Www.hdfcbank.com, www.hdfcbank.com/personal/pay/money-transfer/remitnow/fees-and-charges. Accessed 10 Apr. 2024.

“Credit Card Cash Withdrawal – Top 3 Factors to Consider | HDFC Bank.” Hdfcbank.com, 2013, www.hdfcbank.com/personal/resources/learning-centre/pay/credit-card-cash-withdrawal-dos-and-donts.

“Foreign Transaction Fee on Credit Cards – Paisabazaar.com – 10 April 2024.” Compare & Apply Loans & Credit Cards in India- Paisabazaar.com, 22 Jan. 2019, www.paisabazaar.com/credit-card/foreign-transaction-fee-on-credit-cards/. Accessed 10 Apr. 2024.

“International Fund Transfer: Send Money Abroad from India | Axis Bank.” Www.axisbank.com, www.axisbank.com/retail/forex/International-Fund-Transfer/features-and-benefits. Accessed 10 Apr. 2024.

Millard, Claire. “Top 5 Banks for International Money Transfers in India 2024.” Exiap, 2 May 2023, exiap.com.in/guides/best-banks-for-international-transfer. Accessed 10 Apr. 2024.

“Money Remittance – Remittance Products & Services by HDFC Bank.” Hdfcbank.com, 2013, www.hdfcbank.com/personal/pay/money-transfer/remitnow.

“Money2World: Send Money Online from India to Overseas.” Www.icicibank.com, www.icicibank.com/internet-banking/fund-transfer/outward-remittance/money2world. Accessed 10 Apr. 2024.

“Navigating Currency Fluctuations: A Guide for International Money Transfers – Transferly.” Transferly, 26 Oct. 2023, www.transferly.com/navigating-currency-fluctuations-a-guide-for-international-money-transfers/. Accessed 10 Apr. 2024.

Nijhawan, Bhawna. “6 Best International Money Transfer Services in India – Ranked by Our Experts.” Blog-Best Foreign Exchange, 1 Aug. 2023, www.bookmyforex.com/blog/6-best-international-money-transfer-services-in-india/#:~:text=Top%206%20International%20Money%20Transfer%20Service%20Providers%20in. Accessed 10 Apr. 2024.

“PNB – Remit Money to India | Send & Transfer Money to India | International Money Transfer.” Www.pnbindia.in, www.pnbindia.in/remit-money-to-india.html. Accessed 10 Apr. 2024.

“Remmitance from India – International Banking.” Sbi.co.in, sbi.co.in/web/international-banking/services/remmitance-from-india. Accessed 10 Apr. 2024.

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