The Best Way To Send Money to India From the USA
Monito's Managing Editor, Byron has spent several years writing extensively about financial- and migration-related topics.
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Online money transfers from the US to India form a highly competitive market, abuzz with many services and providers. According to search data from Monito's real-time comparison engine for 2022, the money transfer services XE, Instarem, and Remitly were, on average, the cheapest of all across over a hundred thousand comparison results.
However, before you rush into any of these three, the first thing that you should aim to do is to determine whether you're looking for the cheapest option every time you send money to India or whether you're looking to sign up with one or two services who are on average (although not always) cheaper than the rest.
Once you know which route you'll be taking, the best service or services to suit your needs would depend on how much money you'd be sending, as the amount you'd pay in fees would depend considerably on this factor.
Find the cheapest US to India transfer in real time:
Remitly is one of the cheapest and most popular international money transfer services for sending money to India. They offer fee-free transfer options, plus exchange rates that sometimes match the actual mid-market exchange rate. You can choose from four delivery methods: bank transfers, cash pick-up, mobile wallet, or cash delivery. With in-person pick-up locations across India, Remitly is a reliable service for transfers from the US to India. Take a look at our guide to transferring money to India with Remitly here to learn more.
- Cost /transfer: $0 fee + 0.3% exchange rate margin
- Cheapest: 35% of Monito comparisons from the US to India in 2022
- Speed: Up to 1 business day
- Pay-in options: Credit/debit card
- Pay-out options: Bank deposit, cash pick-up, mobile wallet
- Transfer limits: $1 - $60,000
- More info: See our full Remitly review or visit the website.
2nd Best: XE
XE Money Transfer has a long track record of delivering money from the US to India. It's a time-tested online money transfer provider offering excellent fees and exchange rates for US dollar conversions to the rupee.
- Cost /transfer: $0 + 0.3%
- Cheapest: 27% of Monito comparisons from the US to India in 2022
- Speed: In minutes
- Pay-in options: Direct bank payment, credit/debit card
- Pay-out options: Bank deposit
- Transfer limits: [Up to a maximum of 5 transactions per day.}
- More info: See our full XE review or visit the website.
3rd Best: Panda Remit
A reliable and well-priced remittance platform, Panda Remit is an excellent option for transferring money to India from the USA, where many other remittance services don't operate or charge high fees. Panda Remit is especially fast, with most transfers arriving in just minutes!
What’s the Cheapest Way To Send Money to India From the USA?
Are you interested in the convenience of signing up with only one or two services that are on average cheaper than the rest? If this is the case for you, our research has found that, generally, regardless of the amount sent, opening an account with XE Money Transfer would be your best bet.
According to our search data, if you were to send money with XE, you'd pick the cheapest transfer option to India from the USA more than 49% of the time.
However, there's more to the story yet. The services that are the cheapest on average will also vary depending on how much you plan on sending.
Small Amounts (Under $2,000)
If you're sending small amounts of money abroad, our research found that opening up an account with XE Money Transfer would be your best course of action. More specifically, if the amount you're sending is less than $500, XE alone is the cheapest service 75% of the time.
Medium Amount ($2,000 - $4,000)
Looking To Save on Every Transfer?
There's probably a fair chance that you're looking to save money on your transfers from the US to India, no matter what.
If this sounds like you, then we recommend that you make a point of checking our comparison engine before every transfer. That way, you'll ensure that you both discover the cheapest service in real-time and make considerable savings on your transfers to India:
Find the best way to send money online to India from the US:
What To Avoid
Our firm recommendation for those interested in cutting the costs on their transfers from the US to India would be to steer well clear of banks and traditional transfer services. These services include Money2India from ICICI Bank, Western Union, and even expensive non-bank entities such as PayPal (which is no longer available for transfers to India.)
Not only do these services charge hefty base fees, but they typically also charge hidden fees built into their exchange rates. These fees, known as exchange rate margins, are often not transparent and can clinch a lot of cash from the final rupee amount to arrive in India. (Read our guide comparing specialist money transfer services to banks here to learn more.)
Take a look at the graph below to get a sense of how much you would pay on a $1,000 transfer to a bank account in India by choosing XE, Instarem, or Wise.
FAQ About Sending Money to India
🚀 Can I send money from the US to India instantly?
Unfortunately not. While some services are indeed faster than others, depending on which service you ultimately go with, you can expect to wait anywhere between several hours and several days for your money to arrive in India.
💸 What about Xoom?
According to our analysis, the much-loved Paypal-backed money transfer service Xoom was the fifth-cheapest online money transfer service to India between November 2020 and March 2021, coming in as cheapest on 7% of searches during that period.
🧾 Is money sent from the US to India taxable?
In general, yes. In India, the transfer recipient will be required to pay gift taxes on all amounts greater than 50,000 INR per year unless they're a close relative of yours, in which case they'll pay no taxes. On the American side, a maximum of $14,000 is allowed to be transferred per person per year without having to pay tax. Anything exceeding that amount, and you, as the sender, will be taxed by the IRS.
💳 Can I send money from the US to India using Google Pay?
Yes. As of May 2021, users can send money from the US to India using Google Pay in partnership with Western Union and Wise. To set up a Google Pay transfer, you'll need to make sure that your recipient in India also uses Google Pay and that their bank account is connected via UPI. From there, you'll be able to transfer just like you usually would on Google Pay, with the additional step of clicking through Western Union or Wise.
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