For anyone that has to send money overseas on a regular basis, you know that money transfers can be a nightmare. Hidden fees, abysmal exchange rates, and slow transfer times can make just sending a few bucks home to Mom and Dad a massive, expensive chore. If you frequently send money from the USA to India, you’ve spent a great deal of time trying to determine the fastest, cheapest, and safest way to get your money there. Let me save you a little heartache; I’ll share with you everything I’ve learned over the years about getting your money where it needs to go without the hassle.
Most Important Things to Look For
What are the most important things to look for when you choose a company to send your hard-earned dollars to another country? Consider that your money will be in the hands of complete strangers. Are they trustworthy? Also, it’s imperative that your money reaches its destination with speed, accuracy, and with as much of it left as possible.
So the most important things to look for in a transfer company are:
- Speed: Getting your money to where it needs to go quickly is important. However, extra speed can mean extra cost. If you don’t have days to wait for your transfers, make sure that to company you’re looking at using is up to speed without costing you too much in the long run.
- Great exchange rates: How much of your money will you lose to bad exchange rates? A lot! Especially when you’re making larger transfers. Make sure you’re getting the best possible rates; they will make all the difference when your money gets where it needs to go.
- Low fees: Just like bad exchange rates, high fees can make your simple money transfer very expensive. Make sure you aren’t losing a whole bunch of money by checking up on their user fees. Some companies charge extra for paying with a debit or credit card, so watch for that too!
- Ease of use: How easy is your chosen transfer service to use? Do they offer options that are convenient for you? Can you pay with a card, pick up money at a physical location, or even get money directly to your bank account? Making sure your service fits your needs is one of the most important things you can research.
- Trust: Does your potential transfer company have a lot of positive reviews from happy customers, or do they have low ratings from people warning you away from their services? This can be a great indication of how trustworthy a company is.
Getting Your Money There Faster
Which transfer company is the fastest? When you send money from the USA to India, you most probably want to make sure that it gets there fast. I researched several companies, pulling stats of how much it costs to send money from the US to India. Some companies offer multiple ways to send money, so we covered each of those separately.
|Western Union (bank deposit)||4 to 5 days|
|Western Union (credit card payment)||1 day|
|Zoom||1 to 2 days|
|Zend||1 to 3 days|
|Remitly (economy)||3 to 5 days|
|PayPal||3 to 5 days*|
*PayPal also requires extra time to move money from the recipient’s PayPal to their bank.
As you can see, all of the options will get your money where it needs to go in less than a week. However, there are companies that obviously go the extra mile to move your transfer as fast as possible. The winner of this round is obviously Remitly Express, but is it really the best? Let’s dig deeper to find out.
Which is the Cheapest Option?
When you transfer money between countries, you can lose money in several ways. There are tons of fees that companies can pile on between the US and India. There are obvious fees and hidden ones that can really drag down the percentage of your money that reaches its destination. To get a real in depth view of how much fees can cost us, I compiled the costs of sending money from the US to India using all of these options. Here’s what I found out:
|Provider||Amount||Deposit Type||Deposit Fee||Transfer Fee||Total Fees||Rate||Amount Received||Hidden Fees|
What a difference! Each company is going to take a little off of the top; it’s how they stay in business. However, there is one company that really stands out when it comes to saving you some serious cash. When sending $1,000 from the US to India, there is a clear winner in this list. TransferWise is the best when it comes to low fees and the final amount that gets sent overseas. However, this isn’t a full picture. Of course, certain vendors have better prices for larger or smaller amounts of money. But overall, TransferWise has always saved me a boatload when sending money from other destinations.
I wanted to add a brief note on hidden fees. While the fees from these companies may seem straightforward, there are a few who sneak in fees. It can make a big difference when you are trying to send smaller amounts. So where do these hidden fees come from?
Hidden fees usually appear in the exchange rates. Instead of real rates, you’ll get a lower rate when your money converts. This shaves a little off of the top, giving the company a little bit more profit without making it look like their fees are higher. Ensuring your exchange rates are as close to the real rates as possible will make sure more of your money gets to your family and less ends up in your transfer company’s pocket. So how do you know if you’re getting the best rates? Simple! Both Google Finance and xe.com are great ways to compare each company’s exchange rates to makes sure more of your money stays in your pocket.
Ratings for Each Company
So how trustworthy are these companies? The best place to turn to is people like you and me, who have used these products and can give us a real idea of what they are like to use. Let’s check out each of these companies’ ratings on TrustPilot and see what real live customers have to say about them:
|TransferWise||9.1 / 10|
|Western Union||8.4 / 10|
|Zoom||4.1 / 10|
|Remitly||9.3 / 10|
|PayPal||1.7 / 10|
Wow! You can easily see which companies are loved by their customers. Both TransferWise and Remitly has amazing, over 9.0 scores with their fans. However, you can also see which companies don’t stack up when it comes to customer service. Zoom’s 4.1 score is bad enough, but can you believe how low PayPal ranks with their users? It’s always awesome to know which transfer service treats its customers like royalty and which do not!
There are so many money transfer companies out there, more than I could ever cover here. When you have to send your next round of money from the US to India, will you make the right choice for you? While most companies don’t have a huge difference between transfer costs, those costs can add up over the years.
While it might not be the perfect company for your needs, I have found that TransferWise is the best company for me. While Remitly can be faster and some of the others can be cheaper in certain situations, I really like TransferWise. They have a great rating on TrustPilot, give great exchange rates, and help me save money on fees every day. Also, they get my money where it needs to go in only a couple of days.
I also have a least favorite company to send money from the US to India, and that is PayPal. While they are a massive company with a huge following, they have a lot of problems. Their low rating on TrustPilot is just the tip of the iceberg. Their fees are insanely high, and they have terrible exchange rates. I used PayPal to send money once upon a time, but now I know better!