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5 questions to ask yourself when sending money to India

Sending money to India? Here are all the things to consider before you hit ‘send’.

Zak Killermann

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With so many money transfer providers on the market, choosing the right provider to send money home to India becomes a balancing act of priorities. Are you in a rush to get your money overseas as quickly as possible? Are you simply looking for the best bang for your buck? Perhaps you’re confused on whether you should send money for cash pick-up or straight to a bank account.

Every provider on the market will have its strengths and weaknesses and, unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all for your money transfer needs. Figuring out what provider to go with is a process of considerations. Knowing exactly what to consider when picking a provider can save you money and time. We’ve done the research for you and broken it down into five key points.

How quickly do you need to send the money? 

Consider this scenario: your sister just lost her job and is out of savings but still needs to pay rent next week. You’re happy to play the hero and you need to get the money to her as soon as humanly possible. To save her, you’re probably going to want to go with a provider that offers 24-hour transfers. In another scenario, you might need to send money home to India after selling a property in the United States. You probably want to consolidate the funds into one account, but you’re not in any rush. In this instance, a provider that prioritises features like low fees over speed may be better. If time is on your hands, watching the market and waiting for stronger exchange rates is definitely something you should do. 

Are you trying to get the best bang for your buck? 

If you’re the type of person who loves a deal, you’re in good company. After all, you’re sending your hard-earned money, so you want to maximise the amount received. To do this, it is important to look beyond face-value prices so you can truly compare apples for apples. Some providers will advertise low fees but then take a high percentage of the money being sent, while others will take a lower cut of the money but then charge higher fees. Comparing the total amount received by your recipient is one of the easiest ways to see how providers stack up.

Is this an ongoing transfer or a one-off? 

Imagine you’re sending money home to your family every time you receive a paycheque, or maybe you’re earning a monthly pension in another country and need to transfer it to where you live. Either way, you’ll be making regular payments on an ongoing basis, so your best bet is to set up an ongoing transfer. These types of transfers allow you to automatically make payments so you can forget about it and live your life. According to Expatica, some providers even offer benefits on transfer fees in exchange for your customer loyalty. Sometimes they’ll waive the fees altogether or lock in a fixed rate so you don’t get any nasty surprises. Loyalty often pays dividends – a penny saved is a penny earned, after all.

Do you need an online or in-person transfer? 

In-person transfer providers are a great solution for people trying to send money overseas to someone who doesn’t have a bank account. Your loved one can pick up the cash after you’ve sent it, oftentimes within a few minutes. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic to consider, you might prefer removing close contact from the equation. In some countries, Western Union lets you send money online to an unbanked person by sending money to a mobile wallet. Other great options for online transfer providers include PayPal, TransferWise, OFX and Remitly. 

How much are you planning to send?

When sending a large amount of money, it’s worth looking into the tax implications of sending your money overseas. For instance, according to CompareRemit, when sending money from the United States to India, there is a limit of US$14,000 per person for gift tax-free transactions. If you’re sending more than that per person in one financial year, the person sending the money will be responsible for paying tax on the amount over $14,000. If you’re planning on sending a large amount, make sure you understand the tax implications so you’re not surprised when the IRS comes knocking. 

Ready, set, send!

Have you asked yourself these questions and figured out your top priorities in a money transfer service? Great, you’re almost ready to send money home to India. To quickly compare providers using all of the methods listed above, use Finder’s handy guide on how to send money home to India. Now, go forth and be the hero who pays your sister’s rent!

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