In this article I tell you my experience sending money from USA to India using different methods: bank transfer, Ria MoneyTransfer, MoneyGram, Wester Union, PayPal and TransferWise.
Updated Feb 17, 2021
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0. The different ways of sending money from USA to India
On several occasions I have had to send small amounts of money to relatives from USA to India using traditional methods, online payment services and P2P money transfer methods.
Let’s analyze what it costs today to send $500 to India from USA, with the recipient receiving the money in Indian rupees, by comparing 3 methods:
- Traditional methods: RiaMoneyTransfer or MoneyGram
- Online payment services: PayPal (Xoom service)
- P2P money transfer services: TransferWise.
For comparative purposes, all calculations were made on Feb 13, 2021. The results are very similar if you send euros, pounds or Australian dollars.
The first thing I have to say is that for small amounts of money, a bank wire transfer is the worst method, since the fees charged by the banks (from both the issuing bank and the receiving bank in India) are usually very high. For this reason, I have stopped using bank transfers for sending money to India many years ago, since these are very expensive.
1. Traditional methods: Ria and MoneyGram
Ria Money Transfer or MoneyGram are specialized companies in sending money abroad. They have an extensive network of offices, which I have used on different occasions, though they are now offering the money transfer service through their Internet website.
Sending $500 to India from United States through Ria Money Transfer asumes an exchange rate of 72.52 INR.
This means that if you send $500 to India today, the recipient in India will receive 36,260.00 INR. In addition, you have to pay a commission of $4.
RiaMoneyTransfer offers a good support service in case you have any problem.
2. Online payment services: PayPal
PayPal is a payment method already known by virtually anyone, which allows you to buy in many websites, as well as transferring money between users by email.
PayPal has a service called Xoom. but is not an economic method to send money to India, mainly due to two reasons:
- Firstly, when it comes to international personal money transactions to India, the commission is not free, as PayPal charges a fee that varies between of 4.99 USD (PayPal balance or bank account) and 15.49 USD (debit or credit card).
- Secondly, when you send dollars to a recipient in India, Paypal applies a rather unfavorable exchange rate. Today it applies an exchange rate of 71.77 rupees per dollar.
Thus, if you send $500 to a relative or friend of India, the commission would be at least $4.99, but your friend or Indian family member would receive a total of 35,890.00 Indian rupees.
Also, PayPal support service is very bad and I say this from my own experience.
3. P2P Money Transfer Services: TransferWise
Recently, several financial peer to peer (P2P) online services have emerged, offering money transfers with low commissions and that apply the actual exchange rate of the moment. The most popular of all is TransferWise (from the creators of Skype).
For example, sending $500 from US to India today has a commission of 5.09 USD, but the good thing about TransferWise is that it applies an exchange rate close to the real exchange rate, 72.59 rupees per dollar.
As a result, the recipient in India receives 35,927.99 Indian rupees, having discounted already the applied commission, unlike other methods where commission is paid separately.
The great advantage of TransferWise is the simplicity of use and the good support they offer in case of any problem. For this reason this is the method that I have been using.
TransferWise is the money transfer service that offers the best support service.
4. In summary
- You send $500 and the recipient in India receives 36,260.00 INR
- In addition, you have to pay a commission of $4.
- You send $500 and the recipient in India receives 35,890.00 INR
- In addition, you have to pay a commission that varies between $4.99 and $15.49.
- You send $500 and the recipient in India receives 35,927.99 INR (with the commission of $5.09 already discounted of this amount in rupees, unlike previous methods where commission is paid separately).
In my experience the two best alternatives to send money from the United States to India are TransferWise and RiaMoneyTransfer. While Ria is a bit cheaper, TransferWise offers better support in case you have any problem.
All calculations were made on Feb 13, 2021.
Have you sent money from US to India? You can tell me about your experience below.