Over the past many years of living abroad (in the US for long time and in Germany for a short time) I have had the opportunity to send and receive money for managing my expenses. On all the occasions that I have sent money from the US to India (either to my NRI account) or for vendor payments, I have used several different services. I always wonder as to what is the best money transfer service, to send money to India. (or to send money overseas to your family in any country) Before I start on a long story, here is a calculated opinion based on the value of money alone, without looking at the time of transaction:
The quick verdict: TRANSFERWISE
is the best value service currently!
Blue and Pink red lines indicate the INR lost with XOOM and Money2India based on current transfer fees/fixed rupee exchange rate etc. Green dots at the top form the baseline
The raw conversion numbers were:
|USD Amount||XOOM (INR)||ICICI M2India||TransferWise|
Starting with State Bank of India's Online GLS system, ICICI's Money2india, TimesMoney's Remit2India, Western Union's Online FX and XOOM's simple to use interface (xoom.com). They have all varied in how much they take away from you, and after learning quickly I have switched out of many of these -
Remit2india was the worst culprit - so I used them only once years ago then stopped.
State Bank of India was quite good with competitive rates but they shut their service down. The system was hard to use with uber complicated password entry systems, One time passwords and other hoops to jump through.
Global Link Service: https://remit.onlinesbi.com/
ICICI's Money2India service was convenient because of the ease of remitting my own NRI account with ICICI. But overall it was a pain, although their rates are ok. http://www.icicibank.com/nri-banking/money_transfer/money2india.page
XOOM was convenient to send Raksha Bandhan gifts to my sister due to their simple to use interface! Their rates leave much to be desired though!
Finally, I think I see the best money transfer service in the horizon. I got a facebook sponsored post recently from TRANSFERWISE and while I normally do not click the ads, I thought their pitch was worth investigating. So I ran the numbers and here is a comparison chart of these three services below.
MONEY TRANSFER USD-INR
After adjusting the amounts, from USD 50 to USD 2500 at various slabs, it can be seen that XOOM was the worst service so they formed the baseline. The extra benefit you are able to send in INR to your recipient was plotted against the USD amount.
* For XOOM, I assume that people are using the US Bank option (and not credit card or debit card or wire) and the fees of 2.99 are incorporated for amounts up to USD 1000. Hence the comparison for 1001 USD is what is presented on the map.
** the Google spreadsheet pertaining to this is available at: Docs
or full link below:
if you find any errors in how I back calculate from ICICI's Fixed Rupee transfer please let me know.
Update: After testing Transferwise for the first time against Xoom, I noticed that it does a lot more time for the money to transact with Transferwise. Xoom is veryyy fast in transferring the money, Transferwise on the other hand has one full week and still the money has not reached the recipient account! (it is the first transaction so I understand some set up and checks etc.)
So overall, I may not be as thrilled with Transferwise, if my goal is to send some money urgently to someone back home. I would probably use Xoom or Western Union for those. But, if not in a rush, but just a routine payment, then Transferwise still gets my vote! Hope they are able to resolve the timeline issues as time goes on!
Sources:XOOM: www. xoom.com
Disclaimer: Some of the links to the various services are referral or affiliate links and I may end up getting some referral bonuses if conditions are met. However, the data presented on this page and the related spreadsheets are accurate at the time of publishing and show an objective assessment of the fees and money transferred. However, any use/gain/loss of mentioned services is by your own will and information here is provided merely to compare based on my personal experience. If you make any data entry errors, I am not responsible for that.