India’s diaspora population is the largest in the world. Approximately 16 million non-resident Indians (NRIs) live outside the country, says a 2015 United Nations report.
Many NRIs remit to India on a regular basis. For instance, some send money to support their families back home. Others send money for investment purposes. Many others transfer money to repay
In December 2018, the World Bank reported that India is the world’s top recipient of international remittances. India received a whopping $80 billion from international money transfers
So, Indians and NRIs are no strangers to international money transfer. And they can choose among offline and online money transfer modes.
Money transfer to India: An overview
Traditionally, NRIs have relied on money transfer services, but these can often be cumbersome and inconvenient for both issuer and beneficiary.
Bank wire transfers have improved matters. But such transfers could come with a high cost.
Of late, there has been a shift in how money is transferred. Thanks to digitisation, NRIs now have another option—online money transfer. This is free of many drawbacks shared by other modes of remittance.
Ways to send money to India
NRIs use several remittance modes to send money to India:
- Online–offline mode
Here, the sender approaches a service provider that offers both online and offline modes to remit money. Depending on the mode chosen, the beneficiary receives cash
or a cheque. This may take a few minutes or a few days. Some providers courier a draft to the beneficiary within a week.
But such services have a drawback: You can transfer only a limited amount through a limited number of transactions
- Bank transfer mode
Senders use their bank account to remit money to the beneficiary’s bank account. If the bank has a branch in India, the beneficiary could receive the money by the next working day. However, if the bank does not have a branch, the transfer could take up to four days.
In the latter case, the bank uses an intermediary bank to transfer the funds. This results in an extra charge per transfer.
banks often charge a commission on foreign currency conversion. And each bank has its own transaction limits.
- Online money transfer service mode
The sender can use this mode to remit money from a foreign credit card or bank account to any bank account in India.
Online money transfer scores over
other modes in terms of convenience, speed, and cost. For example, an online money transfer service like RemitMoney has the lowest transfer time. The beneficiary could receive the money in their bank account within an hour. RemitMoney also
allows NRIs to send funds in nine different currencies.
Advantages of online money transfer
- Speed: Traditional modes can take up to four to seven days. But online remittance can take place within an hour.
- Cost: Bank wire transfers and offline modes can be quite costly. Online money transfer services like RemitMoney make international money transfers much more affordable.
- Convenience: The sender can transfer funds by clicking a button. The beneficiary receives the money directly into their bank account.
- No hidden charges: Senders may get stymied by hidden charges when using other remittance modes. Online money transfer services tend to be more transparent about their charges.
- Scheduling a transfer: Some online transfer services may allow you to schedule a transfer for the future. This service is not usually available via other modes.
- Transaction record: Online remittance services provide users with a transaction record.
NRIs should compare different money transfer services to zero in on the best option. It is important to look beyond traditional transfer modes to derive the maximum benefits. Convenience and speed are the most important factors. But keep a watch
on the associated charges as well. Online money transfer services like RemitMoney top the remittance options with these benefits.
Disclaimer: This article is for information purpose only. The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily constitute the views of Axis Bank Ltd. and its employees. Axis Bank Ltd. and/or the author shall not be responsible for any direct / indirect loss or liability incurred by the reader for taking any financial decisions based on the contents and information. Please consult your financial advisor before making any financial decision.