Few years ago, when I came to US for the first time, I got a check payable to my university in dollars towards tuition fee from an Indian Bank…As I got scholarship, few thousand dollars from the check I got were refunded…I was really excited to send some money home, you know how that feels to send money back home ? I looked around various options and picked up one option, it was my best option. I have been using this service for seven years…Just to experiment, I did try few more services during these years, but they all were not good and did not give me good exchange rate and service was bad…I have sent amounts ranging from couple hundred dollars to over twenty thousand dollars per transaction, I will try to share my experience sending money and suggest what worked for me.
Options to send Money to India from USA ? ACH, Demand Draft, Instant Transfer ?
There are various options to send money. I have used few of these, let me explain the ones I have used.
Demand Draft(DD) delivery : As the name says, you can send money to anyone as a demand draft. If you are not sure about bank account details or if you want to surprise someone with a monetary gift, you can use this. I used Demand draft method to surprise my Parents and Grand Mother with my first salary 🙂 To cash the demand draft, most of the times receiver has to have a bank account. This takes anywhere up to 10 days or more (including holidays) to reach as the DD is sent in courier or using postal service
ACH (Automatic Clearing house) Transfer – Direct deposit: This is probably the most popular means to transfer money. In this transfer method, money is automatically deducted from your US bank account and deposited into the Indian bank account. Usually money is deducted from your US bank account in 3 days and then the transfer to your Indian bank account occurs. This takes relatively a little less amount of time compared with demand draft delivery. Most of the times, the receiver can get money within 6 to 7 days.
Instant Transfer : If you need to send some urgent cash in minutes, you can use instant transfer. There is a limit on the sending amount. This costs you more money to send and you get less exchange rate, but you pay for the speed. It is very simple, you send money from US and they give you a pin, you tell the pin to person in India and they can pick up the money at a location using the pin you tell them and an ID verifying their identity.
There are other options like Wire transfer, where you can send lot more money within less time, I have never used it as it costs more money…I think you do not need to use this unless needed.
Service Provider to send Money to India :
I have used all of the below service providers over the years : Remit2India, Western Union Money transfer, State Bank of India , ICICI Money2India, Xoom ( part of Paypal now)…Here are my experiences and perceptions about these service providers.
Western Union Money transfer : This is very expensive service. I would never use this in my life unless I am in urgent need. You get less exchange rate and you have to pay more to send money. The only thing is, you can send money in minutes and other person in India can collect money right away. Also, you have the option to send money using credit card, thats one thing that sometimes may help.
State Bank of India : This is one of my worst experiences ever. I thought they were offering better exchange rate and tried it couple times. You cannot even talk to anyone, it took me more than 15 days and there were issues on the receving side also. ZERO customer service, no email responses. I had to track my receving bank and ask that manager to contact Mumbai and do it..it was a hassle. DO NOT use this. Also, the rate is not that great. The primary reason for bad service is, it is not a private bank and you do not get any good customer service.
ICICI Money2 India : This service is OK. Many people use this service as they have ICICI accounts in India and it is easy to do it….I have not used this in last few years and my perception is, they do not give competitive rates…
Remit2India: This has been my favorite money transfer service for the past 7 years. I like this service because good customer service, good tracking, good rates. In fact, this started as service only from US to India and has expanded to many countries. This service provider is now called times of money and has grown by leaps and bounds over years….These guys used to compare their exchange rates with ICICI and tell that they are giving better rate and gained lot of customers….In fact, most of my friends use this service too and have had good experiences. The exchange rate is charged based on the day of transaction i.e., 3 to 4 days after you initiate transfer, so there may be some disparity, nevertheless…it is still the best for me. The downfalls of this service is the transparency in exchange rate from the day you send to the day the funds are deposited, it can be slightly frustrating as you do not know the actual rate when you send the money, but it works. They have something called rupee guarantee as well, but it is on the losing side for consumer, I feel.
Xoom Money Transfer : I have been using Xoom for few years now, one of the key compelling reasons to use Xoom is that the delivery of money is almost done in few hours and sometimes instantly, if you send to certain banks. It can range from few seconds to 5 hours. There is a big catch though, does not happen for very first transaction as they need to verify your account and other things. But, once done, the delivery is swift. If you send to HDFC Bank, PNB, Axis Bank and Yes Bank, the money is deposited instantly( few seconds) and for other banks, if you send money in India banking hours between 8 AM and 5 PM IST, you will have the money delivery to most of the nationalized banks quickly in few hours. The exchange rate is slightly less at times, but the good part is it is quite transparent and very fast. They have a beautiful mobile app and the website is nice. You have certain limits to send money like 2950 USD per day and such if you do not share your job and Gov. ID info , but if you verify and give those details, you can send as much as 10,000 USD per transaction. Again, they tell to call. This is pretty standard like Remit2India.
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What were your experiences ? Any other services that you have used ?
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