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How Does International Money Transfer To India Work?

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By Author: Neha Sharma
Total Articles: 241
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One of the first things that people do when they move abroad is figure out a way to send money to India. With the evolution of payments and transfers, there are newer and newer ways to send money to India. Let us understand how international money transfer works.

Different ways to transfer funds:

1. Through banks:
One of the most reliable ways to do an international money transfer is to go through your regular bank account. Banks transfer funds to a local Indian account using the SWIFT code of the bank. These are interbank transfers that happen between the two banks. SWIFT stands for Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The speed of this transfer depends on whether the two banks have a banking relationship or whether they go through an intermediary bank. It takes longer when an intermediary bank is involved.

If two banks have a direct relationship, then the sender bank credits the second bank’s account and the second bank credits the recipient’s account. If there is an intermediary bank involved, then the amount gets credited to the intermediary bank’s account. The intermediary bank credits the recipient bank’s account. Finally, the recipient bank’s account credits the recipient. As it is clear, it takes a fair amount of time to get the funds because of the number of parties involved. It can also turn out to be costly since these SWIFT transfers involve a lot of bank charges.

Some Indian banks like HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank have their own portals which act like online remittance agents which you can use to send money to India at an affordable rate with a short downtime.

2. Through money transfer agents:
Transfer agents like Western Union or MoneyWise use a network of agents all over the world to transfer money. This money is deposited at a branch of the agent and can be withdrawn or delivered to the recipient in their country of residence. Western Union has been transferring funds through agents since the year 1851.

3. Through payment gateways:
With the improvement in financial technologies, there are many payment gateways and online payment service providers who can be used to transfer funds directly to the bank account of the recipient. It is not even necessary to use the bank account with providers like PayPal. However, PayPal has very high fees when it comes to transferring money.

Depending on the country of transfer, there are many different providers who will transfer funds for a small commission or fee. There are websites that will help you find out the service that will provide the cheapest transfer. Depending on that, you can select the service provider to send money to India.


Cost is not the only consideration when it comes to an international money transfer. It is also important to consider the time taken to transfer. Some transfers may take a few days while others may take a few hours. This balance between cost and time to transfer

How to do an international money transfer?

To send money to India, the first step is to find out which method will you use to send money to India. After deciding that, it is important to open an account, whether it is a bank or an online service provider. Most of the service providers may have a discount code for new accounts that will give a discount on the fees.

The next step is to add in the amount you would like to remit.

The third step is to add details of the recipient. This includes the bank account details, address, email ID and any other detail that the payment service may require.

Once these details are entered, you will have to enter your bank or credit card details that will be debited for the amount of transfer.

After all the details are submitted, the payment service will process the transfer and send a confirmation of the transfer being initiated.

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