Transfer Money From India to UK- 9 Options Compared
How To Transfer Money From India to UK
In this post, I will talk in detail about the money transfer process and I will also compare the major options which are available among the online remittance companies and the banks. Finally, you will be able to finalize which is the best option available to you. How To Transfer Money From India to UK
Why Transfer Money from India to UK
A large number of Indians have migrated to other countries in order to earn money or have a better growth or career opportunities. As per the United Nations, there are more than 17.5 million Indians living abroad. Nepal has the largest NRI population with more than 6 million Indians residing in different parts of Nepal. Apart from Nepal, USA has the largest Indian population with around 4.4 million Indians (Ministry of external affairs, India).
Indians residing abroad strong connections with their origin country and it is no surprise that Indian financial companies and banks are able to gain more business from NRI accounts of people living abroad, due to the high economic standards there.
RBI Rules On Money Transfer
RBI’s Liberalized Remittance Scheme (also known as LRS) allows resident individuals (Indian nationals and expatriates) to remit foreign exchange of a maximum of US$250,000 (or equivalent) per Indian financial year. Resident individuals can usually send foreign exchange overseas for one of the following purposes:
- Overseas education expenses
- Medical treatment
- Care for a close relative
- Emigration fees
- Visa fees
- International visits for private purposes
The individual needs to hold an appropriate account at an RBI authorised dealer, generally a bank having international branches. He or she needs to designate a specific branch of the particular bank, using which he or she will be making all foreign exchange remittances under the LRS. The individual can also make overseas remittances through an entity which is not a bank (but has appropriate permission from the RBI to deal in foreign exchange), but the remittance has to be funded from a bank.
Earlier, it was not necessary to produce PAN card for money transfer transactions abroad up to USD 25,000 or its equivalent. However, in April 2018, this rule was amended. Now, it is mandatory to produce the PAN card for all remittance transactions from India to Abroad regardless of the amount being transferred. This is to ensure that a resident individual is being compliant to the LRS limit of USD 2,50,000 in a single financial year.
What Are The Options
There are many ways you can use to send money from abroad to India or otherwise. These are
- Demand Draft
- Transfer Via International Beneficiary
- Transfer Using Forex Card
- Using Online Remit Service from Banks
- Online Remittance companies
Now, let me tell that sending money using a Demand Draft or International Beneficiary is not a good option. As it may takes longer time and due to elevated exchange rate, you will end up loosing a good amount of money.
Transferring using Forex card can be a better option as if you opt for a Forex card then you do not have to pay for the cross-currency fees which banks usually charges if the transfer is via a debit card or credit card. You can load your forex card in the currency you want to send and then transact the same currency. But again, the loading and reloading of forex card can have additional charges and also the exchange rate of Forex card will be little expensive then the other two options.
In recent years, several banks have started the online remittance services. The process is not that lengthy as 2–3 years earlier, but again the problem is with the bad exchange rate. If you opt for a bank to transfer the money you may need to open a bank account, visit the bank to do this transfer.
The last option using the online remittance companies is the best option. The entire process is online and you will see that the exchange rate is much better than banks. As the market has become competitive, there are fierce competition among them which has resulted in a good exchange rate. Sometimes the exchange rate is almost the same as the real exchange rate you would find in Google or Xe.
What To Look Out For
There can be many reasons for you to transfer money from the UK to India – living expenses, college fees, business purposes. So depending on your requirements, you shall also look out for the below criteria when using an online remittance
- Reliability – How reliable is the money transfer service, you are choosing?
- 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?
- Hidden Fees – Are you paying more than you should? Sending money using a debit or credit 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?
- Tracking – Are you be able to track the process online? Or you need to call the customer care or visit the branch
Sending Money Then Vs Now
Sending money internationally was a daunting task earlier. It used to take multiple visits to banks, waiting for hours, arranging documents and then after everything is fine, it would take 3–4 days for the money to be sent. But thankfully, this is not the case anymore, now this process has become convenient and affordable and you can complete the process in 2–3 minutes, without comprising the security.
Banks had been one of the most reliable ways to send money. But there are many disadvantages to choosing banks
- inflated exchange rate
- takes longer to process
- high fees – while sending and/or receiving
- requires more documentation
Because of these issues, people have now shifted to online remittance companies. There are now plenty of online companies that offer very attractive exchange rates and joining offers.
Process For International Money Transfer
The money transfer process in online remittance companies are quite simple and mostly follow these steps
- Create an account (Email, PAN card, Passport may be required)
- Provide bank information of receiver
- Transfer the amount using bank transfer/credit card/debit card
Comparison – Sending Money from India to the UK
Now let’s compare if you would send 1,00,000 INR from India to the UK. All of these options below are reliable and had been in this business for years. Let’s see the final amount you would receive if you use them
1 – Transferwise (Avail Offer on Transfer Fee)
TransferWise is an online money transfer service, which lets you transfer money up to eight times more cheaply than with a bank. It is one of the most popular apps/sites and has the highest customer satisfaction ratings on Google play and Trustpilot. TransferWise was founded in 2010 by two financial gurus and its system is beautifully simple. It bypasses pricey international payments entirely by using two local transfers instead of one international transaction.
Is Transferwise Reliable?
Google Play Ratings
It is also one of the fastest growing online remittance companies (more than 7 million customers) having more than 50% over last few years. You would see that their profit has not increased as much as their revenue. This is because the company is expanding and growing its customer base, and another most important thing is its attractive exchange rate and low transfer fees as compared to its peers.
How Transferwise Works?
Transferwise works in three different steps (in this case, India to UK transfer)
- You send money from your Indian bank to their Indian bank
- Transferwise transfers money from their Indian bank to their UK bank
- Transferwise sends money from their UK bank to your UK bank
For safety purposes, Transferwise might ask to verify your address when you use TransferWise. They are a financial institution and it helps them combat money laundering, and keep everyone’s money safe.
Now let me show you where does Transferwise stand when you compared it with other options for sending money from India to the UK. There is a current offer going on Transferwise for relaxation on Transfer Fee. So you can avail of this offer by following the link I shared above. Using this you would see no transfer fee is charged on the low transfer amount and the reduced transfer fee at a large amount.
How much can I send?
You can send up to 1.5 million GBP per transfer to a private individual. You can send up to 15 lakhs per day to businesses. However, the minimum amount is 20,000 INR.
How long does it usually take for the money to arrive?
Once TransferWise receives and converts your money, it usually takes 1 working day to arrive in your recipient’s bank account. Conversion can take up to 2 working days. The first transfer can take longer time but the successive transfer is usually quicker.
- Cheap because of the real-time middle-market exchange rates.
- Convenient (online or in-app), no visit to the branch required
- The minimum payment amount is £2 (or the equivalent in other currencies).
- The maximum payment amount is £1 million.
- Lock-in rate available for 24-72 hours
- Highest customer rating on all platforms – Google Play, TrustPilot, Monito, etc.
- The first transfer can take 2-3 business days
- A large amount of money may require to verify the address.
- A credit card may not always be approved
- Not all countries are included, for example – India-China, Israel-India, etc.
- No flexibility on margins for larger transfers.
2 – BookMyForex (India to UK)
BookMyForex is a fully-fledged money changer (FFMC) licensed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It started operations in November 2012 and has tied up with major Indian banks and foreign exchange providers to offer its customers preferential rates and seamless service.
BookMyForex does not charge any fees to its users for transferring money, but there is a bank fee of INR225 and Goods and Services Tax (GST) as per Indian laws which the customer is responsible to pay.
- You can lock the exchange rate for up to three days by paying 2% of the order amount.
- Low transfer fees/bank charges in comparison to banks and other competing providers.
- Foreign nationals can transfer money overseas subject to verification from BookMyForex.
- Carry out money transfers to most countries across the world.
- No minimum transfer amount.
- BookMyForex does not support all currencies, so you may have to consider an alternative provider if you’re looking to transfer money in an exotic currency.
- The entire process cannot be completed online since the partner branch must verify KYC documents. Alternately, you can opt to have the partner branch pick up the KYC documents from you (free for amounts greater than INR 50,000).
3 – ExTravelMoney (India to UK)
ExTravelMoney is an online aggregator for foreign exchange services in India. Launched in December 2014, ExTravelMoney claims to have tie-ups with more than 4,000 foreign exchange outlets across India, so their customers can get the best rates.
Since ExTravelMoney acts as an aggregator for foreign exchange providers, they display rates from reputed forex providers located in the area of your choosing. For example, if you would like to transfer money from Mumbai, you can filter the search results to show providers in different locations in Mumbai.
- Get access to a wide range of foreign exchange providers in your preferred location.
- Get access to competitive exchange rates and low fees since there are multiple providers competing to serve you.
- Lock in an exchange rate for 2 days by paying a refundable deposit of INR1,000.
- A number of currencies around the world are not supported, so you may need to use an alternative provider if you’re sending a more exotic currency.
- Must send at least US$250 (or equivalent).
- Have to be physically present to complete the formalities for the wire transfer.
4 – InstaReM (India to UK)
Headquartered in Singapore, InstaReM is a leading digital payments solutions provider across Southeast Asia, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas. InstaRem Logo With InstaReM, individuals and businesses can make low-cost money transfers to 55+ countries. InstaReM also offer customers Zero-Margin FX Rates and Best Transfer Amount Guarantee.
For its business clients, InstaReM offers MassPay – an international business payments platform that allows them to send single and bulk payments using the same web, file and API interfaces to over 60 countries in multiple currencies.
- Low transfer fees between 0.25% and 1%
- No extra margins to exchange rates & guaranteed best transfer amount
- Complete transparency and absolutely no hidden charges
- InstaPoints – loyalty points to redeem against transactions
- Dedicated customer support team
- Coverage: No presence in the Middle East and Africa
- Unable to send money to or from New Zealand
- Account activation can take longer than promised
- They don’t accept credit card
- 24/7 support doesn’t extend to personal financial advice
5 – Western Union (India to UK)
- Low minimum transfer amount of $1.00
- Option to send money in minutes
- Transfer to a wide range of countries
- Not the cheapest option depending on transfer location
- You may need to visit the nearest branch
How Banks Perform
A wire transfer by virtue of its speed will naturally be costlier than a demand draft. While a wire transfer costs anything between Rs. 500-800 per transaction excluding taxes, a demand draft for the same transaction will incur charges between Rs. 200-500 plus taxes.
Some banks do not have the SWIFT facility so you will need to make a demand draft and hand it over to a bank offering this facility. In this case, as a remitter, you will have to bear the SWIFT and demand draft charges to the issuing bank.
Now, some of you may be thinking, why I have not included here bank. Let me clear your doubts and show you how a bank performs for this transfer from INR to GBP.
1. State Bank of India SBI, Rate = 95.19
SBI is India’s largest bank which operates foreign offices network and has correspondent banking arrangement with about 600 banks worldwide. You can send and receive money internationally through SBI accounts using any of the methods described below.
- SBI Express Remit
- SBI Demand Draft
- SBI Wire Transfer
- SBI Personal Cheque
|Method of Remittance||Charges|
|Demand Draft||0.30% of the amount, with a minimum of ₹300/-|
|Wire Transfer||Current TT buying rate + exchange margin @0.125% + interest @ 15% (depending on bank branch)|
|Personal Cheque||Current T.T. buying rate + exchange margin @0.125% + interest @15% + ₹100|
GST for conversion of foreign currency to Indian currency or vice-versa was revised by the Government of India, Ministry of Finance with effect from 1st July 2017. The revised tax rates are as follows⁷:
- Up to ₹1,00,000: 1% of the gross amount of currency exchanged for an amount of ₹1,00,000, subject to minimum of ₹250/-
- From ₹1,00,001 to ₹10,00,000: ₹1000 plus 0.5% of the gross amount of currency exchanged for an amount of rupees exceeding ₹1,00,000 and up to 10,00,000
- Above ₹10,00,000: ₹5,000 Plus 0.10% of the Gross amount of currency exchanged for an amount of rupees exceeding ₹10,00,000 subject to Maximum amount of ₹60,000/-
2. HDFC Bank, Rate = 95.90
If you have an HDFC bank account, you can send money abroad with HDFC through their netbanking option called RemitNow¹⁴. You can send money anywhere in the world using RemitNow, other than to countries under OFAC sanctioned countries list.
The maximum limit per transaction is USD 5000, and only up to two transactions are allowed per day. The international transfers using HDFC RemitNow is subject to the rules of RBI Liberal Remittance Scheme (LRS). This means that the maximum money that can be transferred in one financial year is USD 250,000. Money can be sent in 19 currencies using RemitNow, given below-
UAE Dirham (AED), Australian Dollar (AUD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Omani Riyal (OMR), Swiss Franc (CHF), Danish Krone (DKK), Euro (EUR), Singapore Dollar (SGD), Pound Sterling (GBP), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), JPY (Japanese Yen), South African Rand (ZAR), Korean Won (KRW), Norwegian Kroner (NOK), New Zealand Dollar (NZD), Saudi Riyal (SAR), USD (US Dollar), Swedish Krona (SEK), Thai Baht (THB)
|Amount of Currency Exchanged (ACE)||GST rates||Minimum GST||Maximum GST|
|Upto ₹ 1 lakh||0.18% of ACE||₹45||₹180|
|Between ₹ 1 lakh and up to ₹ 10 lakh||₹180 + 0.09% of ACE||₹180||₹990|
|Above ₹ 10 lakh||₹990 + 0.018% of ACE||₹990||₹10,800|
3. HSBC Bank, Rate = 96.68
How your money will be transferred depends to an extent on where it’s going. If you bank with HSBC UK you might see international transfers referred to as SEPA payments, international payments, Worldpay or Priority Payments. The payment route used, as well as costs, cut off times, and the processing times vary, depending on where your money is headed.
|Provider||Fee||Exchange Rate||Total Cost|
|HSBC (UK)||£4||Exchange rate + markup||£4 + exchange rate markup + likely fees from both intermediary and recipient banks|
|HSBC UK International Transfers||Regular Fees|
|Incoming international transfer||Free if the transferred amount is under £100, £6 for sterling transfers over £100, £8 for non-sterling transfers over £100|
|Outgoing international transfer||Worldpay to another HSBC account – free if processed online, via telephone banking or in branch. Worldpay to a non-HSBC account – £4 if processed online, £9 if processed by telephone or in branch. Priority Payments to another HSBC account – free if processed online, via telephone banking or in branch. Priority Payments to a non-HSBC account – £4 if processed online, £30 if processed by telephone or in branch|
4. ICICI Bank, Rate = 96.80
ICICI bank is one of India’s leading banks which offers international money transfer solutions to and from India. But transferring money to loved ones overseas has always been a tricky experience for many expats, especially NRIs. Many of you might’ve faced difficulties in the past with varying foreign exchange rates, money not being received on time, or spending much more than you planned.
|Currency||Charge/ fees||Currency||Charge/ fees|
|Upto USD 1000||USD 4||Upto INR 26000 from Canada||2.99 CAD|
|Above USD 1000||–||Above INR 26000 from Canada||–|
|Upto 45,000 INR from UK||0.65%||Below 500 CAD||2.99 CAD|
|45,000 – 90,000 INR from UK||0.60%||Above 500 CAD||–|
|Above 90,000 INR from UK||0.50%||Australian Dollar||–|
|Upto 500 GBP||0.65%||Singapore Dollar||–|
|500 – 1,000 GBP||0.60%||United Arab Emirates Dirham||AED 15|
|Above 1,000 GBP||0.50%|
So you can observe that online remittance companies were offering the exchange rate around 93, whereas the exchange rate in the bank is above 95, meaning for sending every GBP, you will lose 2 INR. In addition, the bank will also charge you a transfer fee, which was already calculated in transfer for online remittance companies. I have been using Transferwise too for quite some time and had no complaint so far. You can also note that if you are sending a large amount than your first transfer may take a bit longer time as it needs to verify your identity and/or address.
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