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 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.
It’s Never Been Easier to Send 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:
- Speed – How soon do you need it to get there? You may end up paying more if speed is a priority.
- Exchange rate – Are you getting the best rate or are you paying more for convenience or speed?
- 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.
- 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?
Below are some of the most popular methods of sending money to India, categorized by what they’re best at so you can find what matters most to you.
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 moneys. 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 speed is important, and ACH transfer using the service that makes the most sense for you is the way to go.
- Convenient because it’s a one-time process
- Can be fee-less at some banks, with small fees at others
- Not the best option if you’re in a hurry as it can take 3+ days
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.” Hard to argue with that.
Like other money transfer options, Transferwise can take longer to complete the transaction so this one’s best if speed isn’t an issue.
- Cheap because of the middle-market exchange rates
- To send $1,000 to India, you’ll pay $8.94 in total fees
- Convenient (online or in app)
- Can take 2-3 business days for Canada-to-India transfers
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.
- Economical, especially if your bank waives fees for having an account with them
- Safer option: ID required and can be traced
- You’ll have to go into the bank or (Western Union) to send
- May take more time to receive
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.
- For sending money quickly – within 24 hours
- 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 transfering money to India because it’s fast and the recipient doesn’t need a bank account or Internet connection to get the money. Xoom only supports international transfers, so if you’re looking to make a payment within the U.S., you’ll use PayPal for a similar experience.
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.
- Quick deposits are available for some banks in India and some amounts, as fast as 4 hours
- Max transfer is $10,000 USD
- Higher fees and exchange rates than other services
- You’ll get the best fees and rates if transactions are $2,000+ US
Ease of Use
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. Further, Western Union has branches in almost every country in the world and offers a local withdrawal option.
However, you should bear in mind that transfers may take varying amounts time, up to a week in some cases. Paying online instead of at a physical location will change transfer limits and timing. Also, they’re not recommended for small amounts of money, since the fees depend on both the amount and the destination.
- Convenient, easy-to-use app
- Over 125,000 locations in India for pickup
- 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 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.
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.
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).
Hubstaff has an iPhone app which also tracks employees’ locations through GPS location tracking along with the other essential features like time tracking and payroll/invoicing. The app enables you to manage your field workers and team members who’re on-the-go easily.
- Best for easy, automatic payments on an ongoing basis
- You need an account for Hubstaff and Paypal to send
Set Up Automatic Employee Payments via Hubstaff
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Like PayPal, Transfast focuses on ease and convenience. Simple 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 also has a large payout network because they’ve partnered with banks and cash pickup locations worldwide. That makes things a lot easier for your recipient.
- Simple online experience and app
- They’ve been around for 25+ years
- Pay by bank for free
- Takes 3-5 business days
Other Ways to Send Money
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.
- Secure because it’s written out and verified
- Can be cancelled anytime
- 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
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 e-mail 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.
- Low cost to send
- Functions like an electronic check: the email initiates the send but does not physically transfer money
- 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
Many freelancers in India prefer this service because of its convenience, although you will 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 requirement, as each transaction may take a full week to complete.
- Favored by freelancers and NRIs
- Ability to deposit in one currency and withdraw in another
- Not a quick process
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.