International money transfers: a guide to sending money to India

Finding an option to send money to India is one of the painstaking task.

Transferring money to India always involves expenses: either in the form of direct charges or due to poor exchange rates. You need to research well before you plan your transfer.

Below are some of the common questions:

  • How can I send money to India?
  • How do I get the best rates for my transfers to India?
  • When is the best time to send my money to India?
  • How do I transfer money to someone with no bank account?

We all have these questions in our mind when we come over. Don’t worry. I have you covered.

In this post, I will go over these specific questions you have when making your money transfer to India. I will explain why each one of them is crucial to help you make the right decision.

Note: This is a comprehensive guide explaining everything you need to know how to send money to India using alternatives to banks saving you huge amounts of money in hefty fees and hidden charges. This is a long post. If you are looking for quicklink to transfer money please refer the link here.

If you have travelled from India to work in the UK, US, Germany, France or anywhere, you will be sending a significant amount of your earning back home for your EMIs, family support, retirement saving etc.

With so many different options of sending money to India – all of them claiming to be the best – it is indeed very confusing.

Without truthworthy recommendation, how can you send using any online website. So, below are couple of options which I tried and have been using for time now.

Note: I am not affiliated to any of these organisation. This is with the aim to share the honest review and give and earn the joining bonus.

In this guide, I have tried to covered everything you need to know (including the secrets) when sending money to India and getting the best out of your money transfers abroad!

Why sending money to India with banks might not be a perfect idea?

  • High transaction charges
  • Low transfer rate
  • hidden charges (at time you are charged service tax at destination country also)

Is Online transfer save and trustworthy?

First thing I check while I make a transaction using any new website is SSL certificate

Next is the regulatory authority(example FCA)  it is tied up to.

What is the regulatory Authority? Refer here.

Here is list of all regulatory authorities by countries

After all the due digilence, I compare the rates and benefits.. which we will discuss later in this article.

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This post is a comprehensive guide for NRIs sending money to India. It includes everything you need to know when you make your first money transfer from the UK to India but the guide is pretty much suited even if you live in any other country.

So let’s get started.

How do you send money with alternative money transfer services and save 5-10% in fees and hidden charges?

A majority of the companies that allow you to send money to India online operate on a simple 3-step process.

  1. Place the money transfer request with them.
  2. Pay them in GB Pounds from your local bank to the provided UK Bank account.
  3. Money is transferred locally from company’s bank account in India to recipient bank account.

If you have stayed outside India for more than 182 days, your status changes to NRI and that’s when you need to use the right account to remit funds to India.

As an NRI, you can no longer use your resident savings account for remittances to India. Many people ignore this rule but that’s a mistake.

How to choose the right service suited to your needs?

Comparing money transfer services when sending money to India can be a daunting task.

Finally choosing the one you trust with your money is a challenging task given the over-crowded market and the number of companies providing this service.

That’s where I come in to help you choose the one best suited to your needs. In this article, we shall also look at various things to look for in your money transfer company.

What to look for in the best money transfer company to send money to India?

You can transfer money to India for less using a service that charges lower fees and is transparent about the exchange rate it offers – doesn’t hide any additional costs in the conversion rate.

Whether you send money abroad once in a while or more regularly – once in a month or weekly – the fees add up over time and can make a lot of difference in your pocket.

With so many services offering international money transfer to India from the UK, choosing the best one can be overwhelming for you, especially if you are doing it for the first time.

Here are a few things you should look for in the best money transfer service for you that gives you the least hassle.

  1. Offers you the best price for each Pound/Euro/Dollar
  2. Charges the lowest fees and is transparent about it upfront by showing you the overall figure you will receive in your destination country India after including all fees and charges.
  3. Gives you plenty of options to choose from to suit your needs – Cash Pickups, Bank Account Transfer, etc
  4. Delivers money quickly and sticks to the agreed timelines

Many services only allow a minimum amount to be transferred – so knowing how much you want to transfer will help you scrutinise the services with who you cannot send that amount.

With this, you will be left with only the ones that accept sending the lower amount which will make things easier for you (like with TransferWise, you can send anything above £1 – though I would not recommend sending very small amounts unless you really need to. You will incur the minimum fee of £2 up to £500 after which it is 0.5%).

I will elaborate on each of these points in a separate post.

What are the transfer and conversion costs involved?

When you send a part of your monthly income back to India, don’t just look at the exchange rate you are getting. You have to consider all the costs involved in the transfer.

Most commonly, below are the two key drains on your money transfers to India:

  • Transfer fees – This can either be a fixed fee or a percentage of the amount transferred by the service you use for sending money.
  • Conversion fees – The hidden charge! Some banks or companies provide fee-free transfers but then cover the commission charges in bad conversion rates.

Banks apply fees for each transfer you do and then apply hidden fees bringing down the currency rate offered.

Transfer Options:

1. Worldremit– Usually gives better price than Transferwise

  • Join TopCashback 
    • Join Worldremit -> You’re invited | WorldRemit
    • Navigate to World remit from top cashback
    • once you transfer 100GBP or 125 euro or 150 dollars you will earn the cashback. Check here for other countries (remember to use code FREE for first free transaction on Worldremit)

Below is what you will earn using WorldRemit and topcashback combination.

  • Joining bonus on topcashback i.e. 10 gbp+ / 100 SEK / 10 dollars
  • 15 gbp/ 150 SEK / 15 dollars on topcashback for navigating to world remit from top cashback. You can transfer this money to your bank once the transaction is ‘payable’. It takes time but worth the time. Also, topcashback is good for any other shopping.
  • 20 gbp / 200 SEK on worldremit (check here for other countries). You will get a coupon of the mentioned amount and you can transfer that amount to any country. Their is no minimum amount restriction.

2. XendPay – Usually gives better price than Worldremit or Worldremit 

Join XendPay using this link and transfer more than 100 Pounds or 125 Euros or 150 dollars or to get free transaction charges and good exchange rates. Yes, you do get 10£ / 10 Euro / 10 dollars as you join.

It gives incredible mid-market rates and gives you the option of paying ‘NOTHING’ in fees (if your conscious allows you!).

They also show a recommended fee to pay which you can also consider paying if you feel like (even adding a small fee – if you decide to pay – it beats the rates offered by most of the banks and services).


  • Only for UK, Australia and New Zealand residents

This is one of the MOST BENEFICIAL MONEY TRANSFER  i came across till now which also takes a fixed fee of just 2 £ or 2.3 .Benefits include Low cost, speedy delivery of funds, ease of use and all payments guaranteed. You get so much more with OrbitRemit.

It gives a maximum referral bonus of 75 £ or 86 € for 3 referrals and that too with a minimum transfer of just 25 £ or 30 €.

  • Direct link to get 75 £ or 86 € referral benefitsORBIT REMIT 
  • Fees: Variable, Fix fee of 2 GBP or 2.3 € irrespective of the amount.
  • FREE first Transfer 
  • Time: 1 – 2 working days.

4. Remitly : Till date I found it best of all in UK. First 800 GBP is at a special rate! So, enjoy 🙂

5.Azimo  is the better way to transfer money. Use my invite and get 10 GBP off your first transfer -> Azimo 

Try if it has started it’s service for your source and destination also

Depending of the location you can collect the money in cash or transfer it directly to a bank account. Because no one like to pay fees or have a low rate exchange. Furthermore, Azimo  rates are often better than the official rate found on The World’s Trusted Currency Authority.

IF YOU Navigate to Azimo  from TopCashback get additional 21 GBP for first transaction.

6. Transfergo Get First free transaction use referral code: 61qQub

If you Navigate to transfergo (register on transfergo first) from TopCashback get additional 12 GBP for first transaction. Try if it has started it’s service for your source and destination also. 
Good for large amount as it has only 0.99P charge for transactions more than 2000 GBP

7. TransferWise 

Transferwise is transparent about the conversion rate applied up-front and charges fees as low as under 1% and is very open about it. You know what you will be charged when you place the request.

No surprises with any of these alternatives – you know up front what you are being charged.

You can register to TransferWise and then navigate from TopCashback get additional first time bonus

8. MoneyGram: navigate via TopCashback for additional cashback

9. WesternUnion: navigate via Quidco for additional cashback

Two important tips here before you transfer funds to India.

  • Do not trust your bank blindly! Do some shopping around to avoid hidden fees and charges.
  • Don’t get seduced by ‘fee-free transfer’ marketing tactics and do your calculations.

Why does this matter?

When you take a quote for sending money to India, banks give you FEE FREE transfers, but the conversion rate is very low in comparison to alternatives.

In reality, banks may be charging you as high as 5% (or even more), but this cost is included in the reduced conversion rate of transfer. That might not seem massive, but that is £50 per £1000 sent which means your receiver in India will get around 4500 INR less per £1000 transferred.

Different methods of delivery of money to India

There are two most common ways in which money can be received in India from the UK.

  • Bank Transfer – when placing the request, you mention recipient details whose Indian bank account is to be credited. It can be your own bank account or any other person’s bank account who you want to pay in India. You pay them in UK Pounds (Sterling), usually online transfer. The company converts it and sends it to your bank account in India. Almost all companies today provide this facility – TransferWise, XendPay, WorldRemit and WesternUnion.
  • Cash – Using this method, the receiver can show his identity proof along with the transfer reference number and pick cash in person. Please note that you get better rates if you send money to an account in India and also fees is usually less compared to cash pickups. So, if your recipient has an account, prefer sending it directly to their account. WesternUnion and MoneyGram provide cash pickup service.

Other methods of transferring money to India include Prepaid Cards, Mobile TopUp, Mobile Banking. Let me know in the comments below if you need more information about these and I will update this article.

How long does online money transfer to India take?

How long it takes to send money to India will depend on the money transfer service and the method of delivery (deposit into the bank account or cash pick-up) you choose.

Any public/bank holidays in the UK (country you are sending money from) or India (country you are sending money to) can also add to the time it will take your money to reach its destination.

On average for online transfers, it takes around 2-3 working days for the money to be moved to India. However, with TransferWise I have mostly got it credited to my account in India the next day. On some other occasions, it was in 2 days. Xendpay follows similar timelines.

You should also consider what day you initiate the transfer request. If you are doing it on a Friday, for example, where your transfer service says it will take 2-3 working days to transfer the money; because it’s a weekend, the money might not reach into your account till Tuesday/Wednesday.

Over to you…

Consider these often-ignored facts and take action now to get the best exchanges rates!

There are a lot of options available for sending money to India. I hope you found this post helpful and now feel more confident about how to find the best way to send money from UK to India.

If there is any tip that worked for you in the past that find missing on this post, or if you have any queries about anything here, please leave a comment so others can benefit too.

I am interested in hearing what you have to say about these.

I will be updating this post regularly with latest changes so recommend you to bookmark this post!

If you like it, don’t forget to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and wherever your friends and family members are on social media. ?

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