There are dozens of service providers to choose from while transferring money from US accounts to Indian Bank accounts. Each one of them has their own pros and cons. Some service providers offer fast transfer times, some offer good and guaranteed exchange rates, and some have good customer care support.
If you are transferring your money for the first time or looking to switch your service provider, do your thorough research. There are lots of remittance rate comparison sites out there (like ww.dollar2rupee.net or www.compareremit.com ). They update their exchange rates in real-time and are unbiased as they are not affiliated with any bank/institutions. You should also look up historical data which should help you in deciding the service you want to pick from.
I personally prefer using a service which is affiliated with a Bank or financial institution but I have heard good reviews about others too. Following is a compile of feedback I have heard from others:
ICICI Money2India – I personally have been using them for past few years and am quite happy with the experience. The time of remittance is within 3-5 days in most cases with a decent exchange rate. If you are eligible for Express Transfers (if destination bank is ICICI and you have a good history), you can expect the transfers to take less than a day. They have improved their customer care support recently and proactively check with customers regarding their experience.
XOOM – This is a paypal owned service and known for its speed of money remittance. They charge no transfer fees for remittances above $1000 and have guaranteed exchange rates. For remittances to ICICI, HDFC and PNB, they also offer instant transfers. Their exchange rates are usually a little higher than its competitors but its sometimes worth for the features and customer care they support. They also support other modes of delivery in India: Cash Pickup by recipients, Cash Delivery.
RemitLite/Remit2India – The service is owned by TimesOfIndia group. Exchange rates are not as competitive and with 3-5 days of remittance time. Have occasionally heard issues with this changing exchange rates and blocking money for few days too. Again, they too do not have any fees for transfers over $1000 and offer guaranteed exchange rates. They have app available on iOS and Android.
TransferWise – Offer the exchange rate as you see on www.xe.com and rates are probably the best among its competition. They do a price-match on exchange rates too. They charge transfer fee for each transaction and a typical transfer takes upto 3-5 business days. They too have apps available on iOS and Andriod.
WireTransfers – Most of US based banks offer wire transfers to Indian Banks using swift codes. They charge a flat fee ranging from $40- $60. If you are planning to send higher amounts (of the order of few tens of thousands), this will turn out to be more cheaper.
Indus Fast Remit – Tied up with Indus Bank. Offers locked in rates, but the delivery time is 3-5 days. The initial setup is little complex but the experience is quite smooth later on.
Transfast.com – Better exchange rates than XOOM and offers transfer rates upto few hours.
Western Union – A trusted brand for money transfers. Exchange rates are often the lowest (but keep a close eye on their daily rates to get a good deal). The transfer times are typically 2-3 days.
AxisRemit – Tied up with Axis Bank. They usually offer the best exchange rates but transfer times is typically 2-3 days.
Also, do read about this blog I came across which gives a good comparison of each transfer service.
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