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How to Transfer Money to a Foreign Bank Account From India

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com
Dec 9, 2021
Affiliate disclosure

Transferring money to a foreign bank account from India can be a challenge, with a maze of different services and providers claiming to have the best deals. What's more, depending on which country and currency you're sending your money to, the challenges can be made even more complex still.

In this guide, we explore how to transfer money to a foreign bank account from India and what you should watch out for along the way.

How to Transfer Money to a Foreign Bank Account From India

Sending a money transfer from India to a foreign bank account is an increasingly easy thing to do. Not only are outgoing wire transfers via SWIFT admissible through most major Indian banks such as SBI, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and Axis Bank, but they are easy to do through third-party operators too — many of whom can facilitate transfers via UPI.

Cost of Transferring From India to a Foreign Bank Account

Although accessible, international payments from India can cost, especially when done through the bank. These fees include the following:

  1. Transfer charges: Indian banks charge a flat fee or commission on each international wire transfer. These are usually levied at around ₹ 750 to ₹ 1,000 per operation.
  2. Exchange rate margin: A mark-up on the mid-market exchange rate is made when Indian banks charge their own exchange rates.
  3. Correspondent charges: Third-party correspondent and intermediary banks can levy external fees while money is being transferred via SWIFT. This is often the priciest fee in the transfer process.

Combined, these fees can quickly stack up to between 5% and 10% of your entire transfer amount — making international payments to foreign bank accounts from India a relatively expensive process when done through the bank.

Best Ways to Transfer Money to Foreign Bank Account From India

As we touched on above, the cost of sending money from India to a foreign bank account tends to be rather easy but very expensive. However, with the right money transfer provider, you can easily ensure that your transfers abroad are not nearly as pricey as they could be, saving you money — and seeing that more arrives in your's beneficiary account on the other end.

Indeed, there is a competitive (and growing) market of specialist money transfer services available to Indians which offer faster, smoother, and cheaper transfers than traditional Indian banks, while still maintaining the same high levels of security. We've summarized the most competitive ones to major destinations below:

To Nepal — No Clear Best

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The Indian and Nepalese monetary systems are closely tied, with the value of the INR and NPR having been pegged at a value of 1.6:1 NPR to INR since 1994. However, due to strict foreign exchange controls, it's currently very difficult to send INR from India to NPR in Nepal online via your bank, and in many cases, it makes more sense to convert your INR to USD before b singing it across the border.

If you do have a USD bank account balance in India, then sending money to Nepal from India is possible, and Wise is the best service to get the job done according to Monito's comparison data. Read our full Wise review to learn more. However, if you really need to send money to an NPR account in Nepal you can use the mobile wallet Skrill to do so using your debit or credit card.

To the Philippines — Western Union

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For bank transfers from India to the Philippines, Western Union is often the cheapest service available, usually offering even better INR to PHP exchange rates than popular local competitors such as GCC Exchange, local banks, and even fintech rival Wise and mobile wallet Skrill (which was the second-cheapest on our comparison after WU).

For transfers from India to the Philippines, Western Union currently only supports bank transfers and deposits as pay-in and pay-out methods, respectively. Furthermore, only payments from individual savings accounts are accepted.

To learn more about Western Union, take a look at Monito's in-depth Western Union review.

To Bangladesh — GCC Exchange

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Dubai-based GCC Exchange is by far the cheapest money transfer provider available for INR online transfers to a bank account in Bangladesh, processing telex transfers via SWIFT as well as electronic funds transfers between the two countries. On Monito, the cheapest money transfer service was the global mobile wallet Skrill, and other cheap alternatives include SBI, ICICI Bank, and Baroda Bank.

To Canada — Instarem

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According to over 60 thousand comparisons run in 2021, the cheapest money transfer to a Canadian bank account from India is with Instarem, a Singapore-based money transfer service with over two million customers worldwide.

With Instarem, you'll be able to pay the platform via bank transfer in India and the funds will then be deposited into your beneficiary's account in Canada within around two days. Read Monito's in-depth Instarem review to learn more about the platform.

To Pakistan — Skrill

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Data from over 25 thousand comparisons on Monito in 2021 tells us that the global mobile wallet Skrill is the cheapest money transfer service for international payments to Pakistani bank accounts and, on average, offers the best INRPKR exchange rate of all.

Other services such as Wise and GCC Exchange also offer good exchange rates for India to Pakistan bank transfers.

To the US, UK, EU & Australia — Instarem

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INR transfers from India to USD bank accounts in the United States is a forex service that’s generally offered at most Indian banks, however, it's seldom the cheapest. The same applies to transfers to other major Western currencies such as the GBP, EUR and AUD. In these cases according to hundreds of thousands of comparisons on Monito, Instarem is usually the cheapest service of all, offering consistently excellent exchange rates between the rupee and the above currencies.

Just as with transfers to Canada, you'll be able to use Instarem to make a bank transfer in India and the funds will then be deposited into your beneficiary's account within around two days. Read Monito's in-depth Instarem review to learn more.

To the UAE, New Zealand & South Africa — Wise

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For INR transfers to bank accounts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), New Zealand, and South Africa, Wise is most often the cheapest money transfer service compared by users on Monto.

The only way to transfer money is with Wise by instructing a local UPI transfer to Wise's Indian account and then waiting for anywhere between one and four working days for your money to be deposited into your beneficiary's foreign AED NZD or ZAR bank account.

To learn more, take a look at our full Wise review here.

Looking To Save on Every Transfer?

Regardless of which country you're sending money to, there's probably a fair chance that you're looking to save money when you transfer money to a foreign bank account from 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 Cheapest Transfer to a Foreign Bank Account From India

Best Ways to Transfer Money From India To Other Countries

In general, if by 'best' we're meaning 'cheapest', then there's no doubt that the best way to transfer money from India to a bank account overseas is to use a bank transfer. This could either be as a traditional SWIFT wire transfer via your bank's online banking portal, or (as we saw above) a much cheaper domestic UPI transfer via a third-party money transfer specialist.

However, while there are other ways to pay for your transfer too, bear in mind that these methods are usually either more expensive, time-consuming, or both. A few of them include:

  1. Credit/debit card payment: Most money transfer services allow you to fund your money transfer using your debit or credit card. This method is very convenient but usually slightly costlier than a bank transfer.
  2. Cash: Paying in cash at an agent location is a service that's typically offered by traditional big-name remittance services such as Western Union, MoneyGram, and Ria. It's usually very safe and fast, but also slightly costlier than a bank transfer.
  3. Bank draft/cashier's check: Some banks offer cashier's checks and bank draft, two different methods which both work by using a paper certificate to deposit money into a beneficiary's bank account (usually in the same country but also abroad). Traditionally regarded as better for large transfers, this method is becoming increasingly antiquated in favour of cheaper digital alternatives.
  4. Money order: Similarly, money order certificates are still used in India and can even be used to transfer overseas. However, we don't recommend this method if both you and your recipient have a bank account, as bank-to-bank transfers are usually far faster and cheaper.

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