4 Things Before You Send a Penny
Today I will show you the safest and cheapest ways to send money to India from the UK.
That’s Not the Best Bit
Until recently money transfer services used to charge expensive fixed fees (some still do) which meant a huge cut of your money did not arrive!
These days, competition is white hot but many proclaim “No Fees” and “Fee Free” which can be helpful but often not the main cost.
- Much of the fees are in the exchange rate they offer
- Watch out for those fees that banks charge to receive or send.
Need to Know;
- Some services work better for smaller amounts, some for larger amounts.
- Some services have hidden fees, some are quite transparent and upfront
- Some services focus on online transactions, others provide great telephone support as well which can be surprisingly important as we will discuss.
Jump Links – 4 Things
- The Amount
- How You Fund the Transaction and Delivery Methods
- Bank Account Networks
- Exchange Rate Guarantee
Money Transfer Services in the UK
|Phone/ Online Service
|Fees + Conditions
|Transfer $5000 to UK (see *Note)
|Transfer $50000 to UK (see *Note)
|Online/ Phone/ Branch
|£15 + bank at other sides fee
|TorFX Full Review
|Click here to get all transactions free
| OFX - Full Review
|UK, Australia, US, NZ, Hong Kong , Canada
|£7 fee or transfer £3000 or more and it’s free. *See Offers >>
|No Fees when you register now
|World First - Full Review
|UK, US, Australia
|No Fixed Fees
|Click Here for no fees for ever
|Transferwise - Full Review
|Based online. 50+ Supported Countries Including AUS, CAN, UK and US
|Price depends on route (eg. AUD>USD is 0.7%)
|Click for very competitive rates
|Currencyfair - Full Review
|Australia, UK, Ireland
|Check rates and get your first three transactions free
|TransferGo - Full Review
|From £0, 3 levels based on speed of delivery.
|Use promo code "transumo" for zero fee on first transfer
As highlighted, some services work better for smaller amounts, and some for larger amounts. Generally, P2P or peer-to-peer companies are very effective and relatively inexpensive at transferring smaller amounts.
P2P services work by pooling the currencies, which in this case is GBP and INR and then simply swapping the amounts. So, no money is physically transferred across borders, it is just swapped.
The resulting savings are passed on to the customers.
These services work best for smaller amounts, because for larger amounts they have to use banks and this makes the transaction costlier.
On the other hand, non P2P companies tend to become cheaper as the amounts increase.
If you are looking to transfer small amounts, P2P services that specialise in these tend to be easier for you to sign up and start using them.
Generally, as long as you are transferring small amounts (less than GBP 4000), you should be able to sign up and transfer funds very quickly – often instantly.
However, when the transfer amount exceeds a certain point, you will be asked to provide additional information and documents to meet regulatory requirements.
While it is a great thing that for small transfers you can start using services with minimal documentation, it could also mean that your account would be put on hold if you fail to provide additional documents for larger transfers.
In fact, we did come across some reviewers on TrustPilot, who complained that their accounts were frozen when they tried transferring higher amounts. This can occur with any money transfer service until the relevant documents are approved.
On the other hand, non-P2P services from the very beginning are designed to compete with banks for transferring larger amounts.
As part of sign up they are more likely to ensure all compliance requirements are met early on. So, the initial sign up phase may be a little more involved, but it ensures smooth operations thereon, regardless of the amounts you transfer.
Another factor that differentiates P2P and non-P2P services is the local customer support.
Most non-P2P services have account managers who can help you with your sign up and transactions.
This can be particularly helpful when you transfer larger amounts, because different banks in different countries operate differently in terms of the daily limits on the amounts that can be sent, how the funds can be sent and the fees.
So, having someone who can provide this information can make the fund transfer stress free and potentially save some money.
P2P services are usually online focussed as it helps them keep the costs low.
Some of the most popular P2P services are TransferWise and CurrencyFair.
For amounts exceeding £4000, OFX is a popular choice.
See links in the table above for offers to save you even more.
Key takeaway: If you are looking to send less than £4000, P2P services will prove cheaper and more efficient. However, you will do everything online except troubleshooting.
For larger amounts, it can be better to choose a non-P2P service. You will get better rates for higher amounts and local costumer support which make things hassle-free.
All money transfer companies allow bank to bank transfers. This can prove cheap if the company operates a local bank account in India as well as the UK.
Some services may also accept credit card and debit card payments. This is the quickest way to fund the transaction, but not the cheapest as card operators may levy some fees.
Generally, the funds that you send are credited to the recipient’s bank account. However, some services also allow cash pick-up through their local network of intermediaries.
The Truth About “0% Commission” and “Zero Fee Transfers”
Many banks promise Fee-Free transfers, but the reality is that there is nothing like “free” transfers.
While they may not charge you any upfront transfer fee but they will charge a mark-up on the exchange rate.
It is always better to choose a service that has a bank account in both the UK and India. This way, your bank will not change you any unexpected fees.
These fees can be anywhere between £15 and $50 and are charged by banks on both sides.
Moreover, these fees are often hidden and you may not know what you will pay until you are actually charged the fee.
Apart from this fee, you may have to pay some additional fees depending on how you choose to find the transaction.
Key takeaway: Bank transfer is the most common way to fund transactions although it may invite bank fees and other hidden fees. The best way to avoid these fees is by choosing a service that has local bank accounts in both the UK and India.
TransferWise, OFX and WorldRemit all maintain local bank accounts while CurrencyFair does not it tends to have the lowest fees for smaller amounts.
The rate that you are quoted by a particular service may not be the rate you get. Some services may want you to fund the transaction before they can guarantee the rates. This helps cut their risk so they are able to offer low-cost transfers.
There are some services that can guarantee rates for up to 24-48 hours giving you ample time to fund the transaction. You can keep the funds in your bank account for an additional day and earn some interest on it, and still make a transfer at the promised rate. This can prove quite beneficial if you want to make large transactions.
Key takeaway: Some services can guarantee rates for up to 24-48 hours. However, the companies that do not guarantee rates may be able to offer cheaper transfers because of the lower risks.
To find the right service for you we recommend having a quick read of our top recommendations then click on the link to learn more and make sure they are awesome for you.
Indian expats appreciate the low costs and the ability to send money to India fast. Mostly focused on the UK and Europe – India is a focus for them. If you plan to send money to other parts of the world apart from Europe or India we would suggest one of the next options due to the fees you recipient may have to pay to the bank.
TransferGo is regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) which is the financial regulator of the UK. We also like them because of their great customer support although this is limited to 7am – 4pm GMT.
Makes our list easily because they are great at everything. For example, they let you calculate the fees and exchange rate even before you sign up, so you get a fair idea of the deal you are getting. Moreover, they guarantee the rates for up to 24-48 hours.
TransferWise is based in the UK and is authorized as an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) by the FCA in the UK. It is also approved by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for facilitating outward remittances from India.
TransferWise enables reasonably quick money transfers from the UK to India, especially if you use a debit or credit card although this attracts some (reasonable) fees.
A good option is you are looking to transfer smaller amounts and prefer to do everything online.
If you need human support or you want to transfer larger amounts, we would recommend a non-P2P service.
CurrencyFair offers the most competitive exchange rates. However, they require your funds upfront to offer the best exchange rates.
You can fund your transaction using bank transfers. There is also an option of Express deposits whereby you can use your Visa or Mastercard debit cards issued in the UK to fund the transaction. Prepaid debit cards are not supported. You can use Express Deposit for sending in up to £10,000 GBP which incurs a fee of 0.25%
InstaReM is a great choice for medium size transfers and well known for sending money to India. Low and transparent fees mean they are solid rivals to CurrencyFair and TransferWise although they do not have the network of bank accounts the TransferWise has which means the fees that the receiving bank charges may be greater (especially smaller amounts)
This is why we recommend them if you are likely to be sending more than about £1000 up £4500. Just keep an eye on the fees the recipient may have to pay. For amounts above the £4500 mark and the non-P2P services (below) become more competitive.
If you are looking to transfer large amounts from the UK to India (greater than £4500), OFX is a great option due to its low costs and 24X7 customer support. Their knowledgeable customer support team can guide you through the banking process in both countries.
Only bank transfers are allowed and it may take a maximum of up to 2 days for the money to reach recipient’s bank account in India.
OFX does not allow transfers from India to the UK.
WorldRemit is also a solid choice when it comes to money transfers from the UK to India. Their rates are very competitive and they charge a nominal upfront fee for transfers. The fee can range from GBP 1.99 to GBP 2.99 depending on the amount you are sending.
You can use WorldRemit to send money to any bank account in India. Transfers to personal accounts are completed on the same day. However, transfers to business accounts may take a day’s time. As always you will need to add on a few days for the banks at either end to do their thing too.
An added bonus of WorldRemit is the ability to add mobile airtime as well. They cover almost every mobile service provider in the country.
When sending money from the UK, you can choose from a variety of payment options to fund the transactions. You can pay using Debit, credit or prepaid cards; Bank account transfers; Apple pay; Android Pay; Sofort.
Money transfers to India from the UK are far cheaper than the once were. The key is to choose a service that best meets you needs.