Nowadays, an increasing number of businesses are hiring remote employees. This is often because they hear about the positive effects that other companies enjoyed in their overall business development thanks to remote workers.

Although there are numerous benefits, not all companies are comfortable with having a distributed team. Many employers may come across various problems, such as choosing the best payment option. This is a common concern when sending money to India, where there is a large pool of talented freelancers in India who can help your business succeed.

The purpose of this post is to outline the many options that companies have to send money to India.

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It’s never been easier to transfer money to India

Sending money to India is easy and efficient, but there are so many money-sending options available that the business decision of which to use is a daunting and demanding task.

The different options have unique advantages and disadvantages to consider. It’s imperative that you do thorough research before making your final decision. Here’s what you should look for when sending money to India:

  1. Speed – How soon do you need it to get there? You may end up paying more if speed is a priority.
  2. Exchange rate – Are you getting the best rate or are you paying more for convenience or speed?
  3. Fees – Sending money from bank to bank shouldn’t add fees. Are you paying more than you should? Sending money using a card may have fees attached.
  4. Convenience – How easy was the experience from start to finish? Could you do it online or did you have to go to a location to complete the transfer? Is there an app that makes it even easier?

Best money transfer services in India:

  1. ACH transfer
  2. Transferwise
  3. Money orders
  4. Remitly
  5. Wire transfer
  6. Xoom.com
  7. MoneyGram
  8. Western Union
  9. PayPal
  10. Hubstaff
  11. Transfast
  12. Personal Checks
  13. Email Money
  14. NRI-NRE account
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Here are the best ways to transfer money to India

Below are some of the best ways of sending money to India, categorized by what they’re best at so you can find what matters most to you.

By price: Cheapest services for sending money to India

ACH transfer

An ACH transfer, or Automated Clearing House transfer, is a great option for businesses based in the US. All you need to do is send money from your bank account by using an ACH transfer, and the recipient will get it within 4 working days. Since no additional fees or trips to the bank are necessary, this method can save you both time and money.

According to The Balance, “ACH payments are good for small, frequent, non-mission-critical payments” such as direct deposit of pay or monthly bills.

OFX offers both a wire or ACH transfer option for sending money. In fact, many of the P2P payment services that transfer money from bank account to bank account do so by initiating an ACH transfer. When transfer fees are important, using an ACH transfer from a service that is the most convenient to you makes the most sense.

The Good:

  • Convenient because it’s a one-time process.
  • Can be free at some banks or money transfer services, with small fees at others.

The Not-So-Good:

  • Not the best option if you’re in a hurry as it can take 3+ days.

TransferWise

TransferWise markets itself as a cheaper way to send money abroad. This online-only option gives you the mid-market rate, which is also known as the “real exchange rate.” This payment method is available in India, making it one of the most popular options of sending money there.

Like other money transfer options, TransferWise can take longer to complete the transaction so this one’s best if speed isn’t an issue.

transferwise homepage

The Good:

  • Cheap because of the middle-market exchange rates. To send $1,000 to India, you’ll pay a total of $8.94 in fees to Transferwise.
  • Convenient (online or in app).
  • Minimum payment amount is £2 (or the equivalent in other currencies).
  • Maximum payment amount is £1 million.
  • Average customer rating of 9.6/10 – probably one of the highest ratings in the domain of money transfer services.

The Not-So-Good:

  • Can take 2-3 business days for Canada-to-India transfers.
  • Additional documentation needed at times.
  • Transfers are sometimes delayed.
  • Credit card may not always be approved.
  • Limited to some countries within the UK, EU, America, Africa, and Asia.
  • No flexibility on margins for larger transfers.

Money orders

When it comes to sending a small amount of money, money orders are regarded as the safest and most affordable choice. Most banks offer this service and charge very little. You’ll need to deposit the international money order into your bank account. Some sort of ID is usually required for cashing the checks, which may be sent in the local currency. As added security, the full amount can be recovered when lost.

The Good:

  • Economical, especially if your bank waives fees for having an account with them.
  • Safer option: ID required and can be traced.

The Not-So-Good:

  • You’ll have to go into the bank or a Western Union branch to send.
  • Can take a while to receive it.

Remitly

Remitly money transfer to India
Remitly takes pride in the fact that it offers money transferring services from the U.S. to many different countries, including India. Remitly is a stable, fast and secure money transfer service with very low fees.

Remitly is a stable, fast and secure money transfer service with very low fees. Click To Tweet

Pros

  • Very cheap transfers – $3.99 for transfers up to $1,000, no fee for transfers above $1,000.
  • Fast transfers – basic rates are processed within 3 business days (no fees); express rates are instant (fees included).
  • Instant transfers supported with many major Indian banks, including ICICI Bank, Citibank, State Bank of India, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank.
  • New customers get $40 Amazon gift cards if they send $1,000 four times.
  • 24/7 customer service.
  • Very secure: registered as a Money Services Business with the US Department of Treasury.

Cons

  • Hidden currency conversion cost of $13.
  • Sending limits that are comparable to Xoom’s, but you can also set a custom limit.
  • Not as fast as MoneyGram.

By speed: Best options for quick money transfers

Wire Transfer

A wire transfer is considered a traditional method of payment, since it’s the oldest method and has existed for more than 50 years. If you decide to use this method, you’ll need to go to your bank or through certain agencies in order to send the money.

As soon as you provide the institution with all the necessary information about the recipient, they will start the wire transfer and send the money.

ICICI Bank offers wire transfer services, which you can initiate on their website. A wire transfer service is available in most banks, but you’ll have to check with your own to get the most accurate information. In addition to bank-to-bank transfers, “wire transfers” can also refer to money transfer services like Western Union, which we’ll cover in the following section.

The Good:

  • Very quick service, usually within 24 hours.

The Not-So-Good:

  • You’ll pay a fee for the speed – anywhere from $10-35 USD (check with your bank for the most accurate fees).
  • Less secure for sender: can’t stop payments once sent.

Xoom.com (part of Paypal)

Xoom, which is a PayPal service, is a great way of transferring money to India because it’s fast and the recipient doesn’t need a bank account or Internet connection to get the money.

Xoom is regarded as one of the best money transfer services worldwide, and it has been providing quick and affordable money transfer services for 14 years.It’s an online-to-offline money transfer, which means the money can be withdrawn at a specified location in India as soon as the online transaction is complete.

The Good:

  • Operates 365 days per year with 24/7 customer service.
  • Fast transfers – you can expect a 4-hour delivery to banks in India, if the transfer is made during Indian bank processing hours.
  • Instant deposits to PNB and HDFC accounts.
  • Sending money to NRE/NRO accounts.
  • Great mobile app, intuitive user interface on the website and the ability to track transfers with ease.Max transfer is $10,000 USD.
  • If you refer someone to Xoom, there is a referral benefit of $25 eGift card.
Send a money transfer to India in as little as 4 hours with @xoom Click To Tweet

The Not-So-Good:

  • Higher fees and exchange rates than other services.
  • There are hidden conversion fees, expect to pay around $6.50 extra on top of the fees.
  • You’ll get the best fees and rates if transactions are $2,000+ US.
  • Not as fast as MoneyGram.
  • Limits on the money you can send daily, monthly and six-monthly – these limits depend on your account level.

By ease of use: The easiest options to send money

MoneyGram

MoneyGram is a big market player in international money and remittance transfers. It helps hundreds of thousands of people across the globe to transfer funds every day and sending a money transfer to India is no different.

MoneyGram is very fast, it offers a same day transfer, albeit at a slightly higher fee than some other services. However, it is still an affordable service and it provides the best money transfer to India in terms of consistent speed.

Pros

  • Very fast transfers – same-day service, which means that the recipient will get the money within 24 hours (most transfers are finalized within 10 minutes).
  • Adding personal notes to money transfers, so you can mark your amount as a gift if you’re sending a remittance or list a particular purpose if paying an invoice.
  • 347 thousand local MoneyGram agents in 200 countries worldwide.
  • Secure and reliable.
  • Daily limit (with agents) is fairly high – $9,999.
  • More than 70 years of providing the service.

Cons

  • Fees are a bit higher than usual – sending $1,000 from the US to India would cost you $13 in fees.
  • Around $10 of hidden currency conversion costs.
  • Online daily limit is significantly lower – $2,500.
  • Required documentation varies across different countries.
MoneyGram is for those who need an ultra-fast, yet affordable, money transfer service Click To Tweet

Western Union

Western Union is one of the most popular money transfer brands, most likely due to its dependability and convenience. The biggest advantage of Western Union is that transfers are easy to understand and make.

Western Union has branches in almost every country in the world and offers a local withdrawal option. Considering its brand awareness, it’s no wonder that Western Union is one of the most popular ways to send remittances. The service is quickly gaining popularity for business transactions, also.

However, you should bear in mind that transfers may take varying amounts of time; even up to a week in some cases. Paying online instead of at a physical location will change transfer limits and timing.

Also, Western Union is not recommended for small amounts of money, since the fees depend on both the amount and the destination.

The Good:

  • Convenient and easy-to-use app.
  • Over 125,000 locations in India for pickup.

The Not-So-Good:

  • Can take up to a week (Faster if using debit or credit, but fees apply).
  • Not recommended for small amounts.
  • Fees and rates changes by location and type of transfer.

PayPal

PayPal is considered the largest online payment processor. Thanks to PayPal, you can easily transfer money from one account to another without directly using your credit card or bank account.

Moreover, the sender doesn’t have to pay for the transaction, although the recipient must sometimes cover a small fee. Another great advantage is that PayPal is mobile-friendly, which makes transferring money even easier.

Automatic money transfer to India with Hubstaff

As mentioned above, you can pay outsourced employees in India by using Hubstaff. Our service is a combination of all the methods mentioned so far.

Hubstaff’s automatic payments are fast, inexpensive and guarantees that the money will reach the desired location.

 

Hubstaff employee payroll

Moreover, Hubstaff can track the time each of your employees spends working so you can immediately tell how much you should pay them. When your remote employees track time using the intuitive Hubstaff desktop timer, that time can be used to automatically calculate how much they should be paid (just input their hourly fee).

You can automate the entire process by turning on timesheet approvals in Hubstaff. You’ll get automatic reminders to review work hours, and payments will be sent once you’ve approved the time.

Use a payment integration such as Bitwage, Payoneer, PayPal, or TransferWise so that payments can be sent without hassle every pay period.

The Good:

  • Best for easy, automatic payments on an ongoing basis.
  • Easily pay remote teams, contractors, freelancers and virtual assistants for time worked.
  • Use timesheet approvals to ensure you’re sending the right amount every pay period.
  • Activity monitoring and optional screen capture means you can check hours against recorded work progress, ensuring you’re paying only for time spent on your projects.
  • Automated payroll is included with your premium account, so there are no additional fees from Hubstaff to send payments.
  • Use Hubstaff Tasks to manage your projects with a visual project board. You can also use the weekly sprint functionality to organize all of your work for your team. Track time directly toward detailed tasks.

The Not-So-Good:

  • You need an account for Hubstaff and Paypal or another payment integration to send money.
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Transfast

Like PayPal, Transfast focuses on ease and convenience. Simply enter where you want to send money, the currency and you can get started. When you use a bank account, there are no fees, but paying by card will add one.

Transfast is great for the recipient, as the service partners with banks and cash pickup locations worldwide as part of their payout network, making it easy to collect the sent funds.

The Good:

  • Simple website experience with an app available.
  • The service has been around for 25+ years.
  • Free if you pay by bank.

The Not-So-Good:

  • Takes 3-5 business days to receive the money.

Other ways to send money to India

Personal checks

Another option for transferring money to India is by sending a personal check. This is one of the safest options since the check can be made out to a specific person and cannot be cashed by anyone except for someone with his or her ID. Also, any checks that don’t reach their destination can be cancelled.

However, you should be aware that the employee may not be able to cash the check immediately, because a bank verification of the deposit is necessary. Moreover, an additional fee needs to be paid for the exchange rate.

The Good:

  • Secure because it’s written out and verified.
  • Can be cancelled anytime.

The Not-So-Good:

  • Some banks may not accept foreign checks.
  • Exchange rates apply and might need to be paid by recipient.
  • Must be mailed, which can take time and has some risk of being lost in the mail.

Email money transfer

Many people consider this type of transfer unsafe, however, no personal information is shared. All you have to do is fill in a form on your bank’s website, submitting the recipient’s email address, and answer a security question.

You don’t even have to know the name of the recipient’s bank. The recipient will need to provide the same answer to the security question and the money transfer process will begin. It may take up to five days to complete, but there are no extra charges.

The Good:

  • Low-cost way to send money to India.
  • Functions like an electronic check: the email initiates the send but does not physically transfer money.

The Not-So-Good:

  • Not available at all financial institutions.
  • Security: make sure you know who is receiving the money as this route is commonly used in phishing scams.

NRI-NRE account

Many freelancers in India prefer this service because of its convenience, although you might have to open an NRE account.

The greatest advantage is that the service offers you the ability to deposit money in U.S. dollars, while the recipient may withdraw it in Indian Rupees. If you’re an NRI (non-resident Indian), you won’t have to pay taxes on the amount sent to an NRE. The only disadvantage is the time. It can take a week to complete the payment.

The Good:

  • Favored by freelancers and NRIs.
  • Ability to deposit in one currency and withdraw in another.

The Not-So-Good:

  • Not a quick process.
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Whatever method you choose, be sure to communicate with your contacts in India to avoid any misunderstandings. Consult your virtual employees about which payment methods they would prefer, and don’t forget to research and test out your decision before making a commitment.

This post was originally published in June 2015. It has been updated for accuracy, and to include more relevant platforms in May 2019.