If you need to transfer money to India, you have plenty of options. When your family needs money, the fastest and cheapest way to send it should appeal to you. Consider the following methods that are most used by those needing to send money home to India.
1) Use special programs offered by banks. Wells Fargo has made it easier than ever to remit money to other countries, particularly India. It costs $5 to send money from one bank account to another in India, and $7 to use cash instead of your checking account. Either way, the transfer is instant. Citibank offers similar convenience with the Citi Online Remit program. In fact, if you have an account at this bank and are a Non Resident Indian, it is free to transfer money to India. HSBC also offers special services, such as the ability to send a Rupee Draft, which enables the money to get to India within three business days. Such programs are helpful and inexpensive, if not free for account holders.
2) Open an account that you and your family have access to. If you need to send money frequently, such as weekly, this could be the most cost-effective. Pick a bank that exists in both the US and India. Bank of India is one example that has a large presence in India but is also located in New York. Alter the account settings so that you and your relatives have equal access to it. This way, you can deposit money into the account, and they can take money out as needed with no fees. This is also one of the fastest ways to give them access to money.
3) Use a prepaid debit card. If you decide to go this route, you can simply select the company to go through, and then have a card sent to your family in India. Call them with the PIN, and then add money to the card either online or by phone. Expect to pay $5 each time you add money, no matter the amount. As long as your family members have access to ATM’s and stores that accept credit and debit cards, such as larger cities like Delhi and Bangalore.
Before you select the best route for you to transfer money to India, you should remember a few facts about the money there. The main currency is the rupee, which has been around for hundreds of years. One rupee equals about .02 US dollars, and 1 USD equals about 49.17 rupees. Major banks include State Bank of India, ICICI, HDFC, Union Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, and Allahabad Bank. Most of these banks offer online service that is on par with most banks in the United States, and you can call any of them to ask if they have branches in the US for the ultimate ease of use when transferring money or opening an account. Some knowledge about the currency, banks, and methods to transfer money to India helps before you commit to one route.