Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Transfer Money to India? A quick comparison of PayPal, Xoom.com and AxisRemit

If you are an NRI or a PIO living outside India, you will often have parents or relatives in India whom you would be sending money. Plus, whenever you are traveling to India, you would transfer some money to India to spend on purchases (and for jewelry for your wife ;) ) Many people may be investing in Indian stocks or real estate. You may be running a business in the USA and employing people back in India. For all these scenarios, you will need to find a good reliable service to transfer money to India. I have used 4 of the leading players and I can give you some important tips.

1. PayPal: http://www.paypal.com
Having been using PayPal frequently within USA, and it being a leading service to accept and send payments, I tried PayPal one time (and that was the last time LOL) to send money to India. I strongly advise anyone to avoid PayPal for following reasons.
* Excessive fees. Around 3% transaction fee. So for a $1000 transfer, PayPal will cost you around $30.
* If the fees are not enough, greedy PayPal has the worst conversion rates. You will get lowest rupee rate for your dollars compared so I guess most other money transfer services. Plus when the dollars are converted to INR, they will charge cross currency fees too.
2. Xoom.com: Like PayPal, you can fund your transfer with any Credit or Debit card, or from a bank account transfer. For Credit card funded payments, they will charge a higher fee but it is still very low compared to PayPal.com. Plus, your credit card issuer may charge such transaction as money advance and you may end up paying some fees to it. So use a debit card or a bank account to lower your transaction fees. However, at the time of transfer, enter the coupon code COMEBACK2014 and your transfer will be free.

The benefits: Your counterpart in India will get money within hours!! Plus their USD-INR rates are very good. Nice website. I loved their service when I tried it yesterday. You can access them and look at current promotions by clicking here.

3. AxisRemit: If your relative has account in Axis bank, this can also work well for you. Their conversion rates are best in the industry. I happily used them until I found Xoom.com
There are some problems with AxisRemit IMO. Their website, particularly for NRIs like us, is very difficult to navigate! You have to first click on Send Money and than have to make sure you are in the Remit to India part of the website. I couldn't feel comfortable with AxisRemit website even after few months ;)
The biggest problem with AxisRemit is, it takes 5-10 days for your funds to reach India! This creates currency risks.
The biggest plus about them is the best rates and no fees.

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