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How to send Money to India from USA? ACH, Direct Deposit, Demand Draft ?

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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Image Credit : http://www.indiabuzzing.com/wp-content/uploads/478122062_3d620af2f2.jpg

   

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124 Comments

  1. Hello! I want to take payment from USA firm based in New Jersey . I want to take 1800 usd to my Indian bank account . Those people are saying to give money through credit card only . What are the procedure to take the payment through credit card

    Reply
  2. Hey, my relatives want to send some money to India from u.s and the amount would probably be close to 9 to 10 lakhs. How they can send this money easily and will the receiver have to declare it to the bank because they are planning to send it through check. Can you please tell me the procedure. Thank you

    Reply
    • Payal,
      Well, it depends on what it is sent for and who it is sent to…If it is for anyone within family as gift, any gift letter will help.

      Reply
      • Thank you for this information. I want to ask one more thing that the person who is sending money has to send half the amount to her mother and the other half to her niece. So, it would be 4-5 lakhs each. In how much time the check will be cleared? Will there can be any problem in receiving the amount or one can receive it without any hindrance? Thank you

        Reply
        • Payal,
          The clearing always depends on the receiving bank and their network. Very hard to say. Sometimes, it can be quick like under a week, sometimes can be more…They may or may not request the reasons of why…you would probably need to give some answer to that.

          Reply
    • He riya you can send via western union. There may be some charges but that is instant. Or you can exchange with some other person who needs money in us and they can give it here. Such as some students in college they need fees every sem.

      Reply
  3. Whatever the solution you use, there are 2 important best practices to always keep in mind to maximize the value of all your money transfers:

    1- Make sure you send your money at the good moment => Feel free to check out Neomy, the free tool I use
    Why? Because the exchange rates change all the time and you could save between 1 & 5% on each transfer by doing so!

    2- Make sure you compare all your options each time you want to send money abroad
    => Feel free to check out Moneytis, the free tool I use
    Why? Because there are more than 500 different solutions on the market today and the best solution changes all the time depending on the amount/day you want to send your money.

    Feel free to continue using bad reflexes and losing time & money 😉

    If not, try using the 2 simple & effecient reflexes exposed here above. You won’t regret it!

    Enjoy 🙂

    Reply
  4. Hi,

    I want to send money from Bank of america to HDFC using Xoom. Is there an additional charge levied by either BofA or HDFC in addition to Xoom fees?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • I want to send the money to india as a demand draft in rupees, i dont know which bank can issue that, SBI chicago used to do that , not any more. Also how much it will cost for Rs 23 laks

      thanks

      Reply
      • Any of the US bank can do this for you.

        Just note, SBI, ICICI etc are just similar names as in India but they cannot offer you anything different that other banks cannot

        Recommendation , use Citi bank if you have account

        Reply
  5. Hello,

    I have a question. I want to send money to India but I want to send it in dollars. I have a foreign currency bank account setup which enables me to receive and retain my money as dollars. Is there any transferring agencies that enable you to do international transfer without converting it to INR?

    wire transfers from Bank of America is proving to be close to 45$-75$ per transaction and I am looking for a cheaper option.

    it would be great if someone could give me new leads on this.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Usually, the people living abroad can setup an NRE account, where you can transfer in INR and get back in Dollars as needed. Alternatively, as you said there are some banks that let you have a multi-currency account, where you can have it in different currently. Usually banks are the best options to inquire on this. Most of the third party services are always focused on sending in INR.

      Reply
  6. My university mentioned that western union will not charge me anything for paying my tuition, will it still be expensive if I pay tuition through western union ?

    Reply
  7. I have my Relitionship in USA. now she want to marry with me and also want to transfer her money to my back account. About 3.5 millon dollor. So Now how can she have transfer to india.

    Reply
    • Tashi,
      Thats a large sum of money, you will probably need to declare it. I suggest you speak to a Bank in US and in India on the best way to do it.

      Reply
    • Tashi,

      I am not sure about the details of your “relationship”. Just make sure you are not getting scammed. Is the other party asking for some token money in return for e.g. to cover bank charges etc?

      Reply
  8. Hi,

    Your experience is a guidance for the newbie like me who is about to receive payment from USA. The company made payment of $ 55 on May 20, 2016, through ACH. You mentioned in this post that it usually takes 6 to 7 days to receive money via this process but as this is my first payment from overseas, therefore, I am a little bit apprehensive about the whole process.
    Shall I wait 3 more days or start enquiring?
    Thank you

    Reply
  9. Hi there Everyone,

    Is there any service in the world which can actually give money ‘in cash’ to our loved ones back home in India, if I do the transfer from USA? Say 700 $. That would be wonderful. I thought there would be, but couldn’t really find one.

    Reply
    • Aditya,
      They can collect cash, if you use western union kind of service. It is just that your loved ones need to go to Western Union. The fees and rate may not be the best.

      Reply
  10. i use xoom but its in process after process it show me transaction cancel..
    i have try through acount rountin.. could any one help me..for this
    why cancel..

    Reply
  11. Hi, I personally feel Transfer-Wise will cater your need. The below link is a referral scheme which will give you exact market price for transfer. And first transfer from $500+ up to $4500 would be free of charge. Really exciting offer, don’t let it go. Viewing wont harm, also you can test your transfer and cancel it anytime if not satisfied.

    transferwise.com/u/61ded6

    Go for it – link shared above is referral from my account. Please share same with friends to avail this exciting offer
    Thanks and regards to all
    Vishal

    Reply
  12. hi kumar,

    I have returned back to India for good from the US. I have some dollars in my US account which is linked to my prior US address (Its my old US address when i was there and linked to my US bank account). I would like to know if it is ok to use Xoom service from India to transfer all funds from US bank account to India bank account.

    1> Is it perfectly fine to use Xoom to transfer funds from USA to India after returning back to India . ie. from India.

    2> What other options to transfer funds from usa to India while i am in India.

    Thank you and early response on the same is appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Lisa

    Reply
    • Lisa, Please speak to Xoom customer service once. I heard from one of my friends that they allowed him to transfer money with the old address. There was some cap on the amount you can send though.

      Reply
    • Kumar- you can transfer using xoom as long as you have your foreign account in open status. thr are multiple sites now,, but personally I prefer xoom(cap is 6k per month but you can transfer more if you share your ssn and employer details to them) .

      Reply
  13. Hi – request you to answer this question as soon as you see this. thanks. I have returned back to India for good from the US. I have dollars in my US account which is linked to my prior US address (I don’t stay there anymore. its my old US address and linked to my bank account). I would like to know if it is ok to use Xoom service from India to transfer all funds from US bank account to India bank account. 1> Is it ok to use Xoom after returning back to India 2> What other options to transfer funds to India. Thank you and early response is appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Lisa

    Reply
  14. State Bank of India New York branch is the worst. Horrible service ever. Xoom is very good and there are some other services equally good like xoom. I thought SBI is our bank and contacted them to open an account – the people sitting there have zero customer service or courtesy. They first look whether your money status – If they dont find good money business in you, they no service for you or you should be son of a minister in India! Shame SBI !

    Reply
  15. Hi, Kumar. thank you for sharing your experience. I think it is very helpful, as finding a good service is a difficult task when there are so many alternatives in the market.
    I have some experience with Xoom transfers. I liked this service. Using is very easy, exchange rate for India is usually relatively good and, as far as I know it provides few options of money delivery, which is very convenient. Also online, it is the most mentioned method. For transfers in euros or dollars I sometimes use Paysera services. It is also easy to use and makes transfers directly to a bank account for a small fee. However here I had to register and create an account.

    Reply
  16. Hey Guys, for everyone who wants to send money abroad I use TransferWise. It’s the most convenient and cheaper way that I found. It’s the only company that gives you the same xe rate with 0,5% fee( no hidden charges likes banks do) . I was using bank to bank before always less, not the rates they display. Transferwise is started by the founders of skype and paypal. It uses peer-to-peer system, innovative way of transferring money. Its far far better than abanks ot any other service. use the below link for your first transfer for free upto $4500: transferwise.com/chandra

    Reply
  17. Anyone requires to transfer US dollars to indian currency, we are providing those services . Anyone can contact nagarajotk at hushmail dot com

    Reply
  18. Hi Kumar,

    Great post! Have your experience and recommendations changed since you wrote it?

    We have been researching this area over the last couple months and found vast differences in the FX markup and fees structures across providers
    – from zero fee and high FX markup to no FX markup but higher fee
    – a provider typically changes FX markup daily, some change it even during the day (e.g., Ria) and few have different FX markup based on a channel (e.g., MoneyGram)
    – resulting overall costs could be vastly different depending on a day, method of sending money, and the amount, so we have to compare providers right before sending money

    We also discovered significant differences among Indian Americans who send money home – some prefer the lowest cost, some – speed, some – familiar customer service; and those habits-preferences tend to stick. The good news is that there is a fierce competition in the USA-India corridor and costs tend are slightly declining while service offering seems to be improving.

    There are at least 20 sites globally that compare providers for money transfer. We also built such tool – let us know what you think.

    Thanks, Yakov

    Reply
  19. Sir, my name is Gnanasekaran i am very poor family member so i need more money please give solve problem please help me siq

    Reply
  20. Hey, how to pay the fees which my bank sacntions to the university in USA, and as the loan is sanctioned in small amounts how to contact them each time, once I have been to USA ?

    Reply
  21. I always prefer RemitLite service for money transfer, this time tried their new service and was really easy to transfer money directly into my mother’s Bank account.

    Reply
  22. Regarding the tax and NRE/NRO account related questions:
    1. Go for NRE account as it offers many benefits like no tax liability (bank would not do TDS), fully repatriable money (easily transfer money outside India, if required). And all this with the freedom to use that money in India in any way you deem fit (can be transferred to your normal savings account anytime without any permission). Your NRE account would not figure in any bank report to any of the agencies as NRE money is deemed untouchable for taxation. ONLY drawback is that money can arrive in NRE account only from foreign repatriation (local indian ordinary funds cannot be deposited into NRE account).

    2. NRO – If you have a bank account in India and then go abroad, you are *supposed* to inform the bank. Upon information your account is converted to NRO account (NR ordinary). Just like any other account but with a few restrictions.

    So, go for NRE account. It’s in your best interest.

    Reply
  23. Do you what’s the charge of ACH for the payee? Also is there any charges if we receive money in our Indian bank? I sometimes get paid from my US clients, currently I’m getting paid via Paypal, they charges nearly 5% of the amount.

    Reply
  24. One of the most useful site I found out on the internet was http://www.compareremit.com . This website has a good comparison tool that give the best exchange rate and gives more information about the money transfer company.

    Reply
  25. Hi
    I use these sites to compare the rates and services. Hope this helps
    http://www.entryindia.com/exchange_rates
    http://www.inrrate.com/
    http://www.dollar2rupee.net/

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing, these sites are useful. I like their rate comparison page especially this link http://inrrate.com/Providers/Rates

      Reply
  26. Try Xoom to send money? I have been using this for nearly 1.5 years and I love the way they transfer the money in my bank in India. It only takes 24hrs for the transaction. If you would like to try it out, we both earn a $15 gift card from amazon! The best thing is you can send money right from your computer or Smartphone. email me your email at “ash_nutty [at] yahoo.co.in” and we both can earn a $15 referal bonus.

    Reply
    • Xoom is one of the best service provider to send money to India, We will get the money in India within 4 working hours once you initiated

      Reply
  27. Xoom is really good – easy and convenient – also heard about their collaboration with Dabaang 2 – wow!

    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/12/prweb10200685.htm

    Reply
  28. Does anybody have done wire transfer from Bank of America to SBI Rapid Remittance account? Need help to fill-out BOA wire form. It is so much of confusion. Visited BOA branch thrice but they are filling form differently than SBI Rapid remittance instructions. Please help.

    Reply
    • Please do not try for SBI rapid remittance, go for the SBI onine Remit Express. Rapid remittace is a manual stuff , which will not be suitable. Suggest to go thru xoom or if you are trying transfer to NRI accounts use SBI remit express…

      Reply
  29. I use Xoom and Wellsfargo express send.
    Wellsfargo to Icici express send service is good. 50 paise lesser than Xe.com .
    Transfer will happen on the same day. But only 5000$ per month limit.

    Xoom also good . But 6000$ limit per month.

    Any other service with Locked-in exchange rates ?

    Reply
  30. Hi ,
    I am an NRI working in europe, and i often send money to india via wire transfer or western union , ,,My question, is it must that i should have an NRE account to transfer money, is it wrong if i do it in the ways i mentioned….Is it illegal to transfer the money to india by western union or wire transfer ??? Becaues i have been sending money like this for years, pls clarify my doubt…

    Reply
  31. hi ,
    Ihave been transfering cash from Bank of america to sbi .. BOA charges around 50$ per transaction . I could have used Xoom but my problem is from Xoom we cannot send cash to NRI account ..

    is there any solution for this . does anyone know anyother way to send cash to NRI Account

    Reply
    • Use Money Dart – Registered online..they have branches..you can do cash transaction to your NRI account upto $2,500 per day..Best exchange rates + Lockedin rates..call them or visit moneydart.com..I am using this service since 5 years..they have a great customer service..fast and reliable..

      Reply
    • Sara,
      Have a look at https://remit.onlinesbi.com/glsus/. They give the best exchange rates and you can also send demand draft if you don’t have an account with SBI wth some nominal charges.

      Reply
    • HI Shara, I tried the option of sending money from from BOFA to NRI account, but please do not try that , the rates are very less and the Fee of 45$ is really unnecessary. Since you say that you have your account in SBI it would make sense to use https://remit.onlinesbi.com/. Transfer is done in biz days . You cannot use Xoom for transferring the money to NRI accounts, hence suggest to try this. The Rates are good and the security of transfering money is excellent. I do not see any lack of service in SBI, may be I am yet to experience it from my end. The good thing about this is that it uses ACH services just like xoom, and remember if you have SBI NRE accounts and SBI remit services , you are not limited to USA, even in case you are shifted to Canada, Europe, AFterica, Asian countries you still have a branch servicess provided unlike anyother banks.

      Reply
  32. I have been using Xoom for over an year now. Their service is fast and customer service is good. Typically fund reach the recipient in 1 business day.

    But the catch about Xoom is, their rates are usually lower than other Remittance providers. Unlike other providers, you will know how much the recipient will receive exactly. Service providers like remit2india, Axis bank , SBI and others have indicative rates, which are usually higher than Xoom’s rate. But there is a catch here too. The rate you finally get depends on the rate on the day the service provider processes your transaction. You may get higher or lower rate than you expected. Also, it takes 4-5 days for the transfer to complete.

    So sending through Xoom or Remit2India or others is really a gamble…

    Reply
    • There are NRE and NRO accounts. You can have those accounts to transfer money from your account to those accounts. One holds the currency in both INR and USD (so it can be withdrawn in either currency), and the other will hold currency only in US (so it cannot be taken back to US, although their are certain exceptions). To travel to others, you can use services like Remit2India, Xoom etc.

      Reply
    • It is always suggested to open NRI accounts ( NRE/NRO both together). This will help to get home loans, and attract an interest of more 8%, provided that you are in for a longer term basically more then 8 months atleast…. If you are in for a short term period , I would not suggest to open NRI accounts . Just try the XOOM, which is very faster and provides better exchange rates, but you must have a US bank account to use this facility.

      Reply
  33. Is there any fee for ACH and how do we set it up? My husband is in US and I am in India. Can he transfer money from his a/c to mine without any fee?

    Reply
  34. I have call centre process business in India,where i used to process in USA getting funds from USA, Since i don’t have usa bank account I requested my NRI friend to provide the bank account, i sent around $35,000 to his account now, he says he can’t pay the amount, he keeps on saying he paid to IRS, what to do please let me know. because i have paid the same amount to my centre which i barrowed from my relatives. I have very critical position. What should i do. PLEASE SEND ME YOUR COmments and solutions. I really thankful.

    Reply
    • I don’t understand why you sent funds to your friend in US? Was it to distribute to other people in US?

      Seems like your friend paid taxes to IRS by declaring that as an income.

      Reply
  35. www.indusfastremit.com – I think this is Ashok Leyland sponsored bank. These guys are giving fixed exchange rate; almost on par with other remits (ICICI or Remit to India)..I am using this for the past 1 year..service is also good.

    Reply
  36. Hi,
    This is an interesting article. I will check on remit2india site during my next transaction.
    Which site is quick and easy to get daily exchange rates (like a rss feed) ?

    Good job. Would like to appreciate your work and looking forward for more articles to come.

    Reply
  37. Hi Kumar:
    Great Post!! 🙂
    xoom.com, is a great site to transfer money to India. Though it has some limitations like
    1. U cannot transfer money to NRE account, it can be any account except NRE accounts.
    2. There is a monthly limit of $6000 for transfer.
    3. Their spread is about 50 paise to the current USDINR rate traded on the exchanges i.e if the current rate on any fored exchange is say INR44.50 to 1 USD, their offerd rate is INR 44 to 1 USD.
    4. Locked in rates, the day you book your transactions, unlike ICICI or Remit2India
    5. Great customer service.
    6. Really quick, usually 2-3 days and you have the money in your Indian bank Account.

    I am not advertising them, but I have been using time since last 4 months, I they are good.

    Reply
    • Vishal,
      Glad to know Xoom is good. Well, the limit could be a concern if you plan to send more than that amout…The way I did was, I accumulated a chunk of cash by savings, waited for good exchange rate and sent it at once… Thanks for sharing your experience !

      Reply
    • Hi Vishal,

      I saw different kinds of good comments about xoom .com . But i need ur little bit help that how can i do this transaction , (step by step help).
      If u help me ,I am very much glad to u for ur kindness. I have need ur immediate repaly . God Bless you.

      Reply
    • Well, I never had to do this…But usually, people can get checks on their name or use other services like Western Union…not very familiar with this option. My cousin got some money from India, will check and write an article soon 🙂

      Reply
  38. xoom.com is also good for its speed & good exch rates.
    Also SBI is good if you can wait for 5-6 days, these days SBI is lot improved.

    Reply
  39. Thanks for the info kumar. You’ve mentioned about exchange rates, do explain in detail. Like if someone transfers, what amount is deducted as charges? Is is some percent of the transfer money or a fixed rate? And wont we have some kinda income tax problem or so ? Coz we’re sending quite a sum of money directly to a indian account !

    Reply
    • Pratik, It is a fixed rate. You can check the remit2India website for full details on how much they charge. If you transfer over $1000, it is free to transfer money. Up to my knowledge, there may not be any tax issues because these are personal savings and they are taxed in US already…If you own a business then it may be different issue.

      Reply
      • Hi,

        Is there any specific comment/reason we have to mention while transferring money to india?

        If yes, what can be mentioned in the comment/reason , so that it is clear from tax perspective ( in India), and no hassles later on.

        Cheers,
        Prash

        Reply

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