How to Send Money Internationally from India

Transferring money overseas can be a complex and tedious process, but it doesn’t have to be. This article is your step-by-step guide on how to send money abroad. It will cover most of the things that you need to know to make an informed decision on what type of provider to choose for your next overseas money transfer from India.

This includes topics like choosing a provider, the types of transfers you can do, information you need, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each type of provider. 

Cost is a very important consideration when choosing a provider. We will take a detailed look at all the fees, including hidden ones, that providers generally charge. Finally, we will give an overview of some examples of international money transfer providers to make the decision-making process even easier.

Learn more about WiseCompare money transfer providers

How to make an international money transfer from India

In this section, we’ll look at the steps needed to successfully transfer money overseas. It includes choosing a method to send money to how your money is converted and finally sent out. These are general steps to send money and may differ depending on which provider you choose.

Step 1: Choose the method to send money abroad

When you want to send money abroad, the first step is to choose how you would like to send the money. Each option has different steps, as well as advantages and disadvantages. Consider these when deciding which method is best for you.

Method 1: With a traditional bank

One of the traditional and most well-known ways to send money overseas is through a bank. Most banks use the SWIFT network (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) which is used to identify banks. 

Some banks also use the IBAN (International Bank Account Number) to identify certain accounts within the bank. But, while the majority of banks are connected to the SWIFT network, not all countries and/or banks have adopted the IBAN system, including India.

Steps to send money abroad with traditional banks

  1. Get the SWIFT codes of the recipient’s bank account.

  2. Get the recipient’s bank account number, or name of the nearest branch if they don’t have a bank account.

  3. Apply for the transaction by completing an A2 Application and Declaration form (in person or online).

  4. Submit the forms and await approval.

  5. Once approved, the recipient will receive the amount within 2 - 5 working days. (This excludes bank holidays, public holidays, and weekends).

What information do you need?

To transfer money abroad via a bank, for example, for Axis Bank international transfers, you need the following information for setting up the transaction:

  • Permanent Account Number (PAN)

  • Original receipt, bill, or fee slip

  • Proof of adequate funds

  • Form A2

  • Recipient’s identification number

Always check with the bank to ensure that you have all the correct information.

Advantages of sending money with traditional banks

  • Safe and reliable

  • Large transfer caps and little to no transaction frequency limits

  • Options to transfer from a branch, online or mobile

Disadvantages of sending money with traditional banks

  • Can be expensive due to high fees and poor exchange rates

  • Potentially long transfer times

  • May contain  hidden costs

Method 2: Using a money transfer provider

Transfer providers are dedicated international money transfer services that focus on providing users with a quick, easy and cheap way to transfer funds abroad. 

There are many transfer providers like Western Union, Skrill, and Wise that allow you to send money from India to dozens of countries overseas.

Steps to send money abroad with money transfer providers

Most transfer providers like Wise pride themselves in making the process of transferring money overseas a hassle-free experience with only a few steps:

  1. Create & verify your account

  2. Choose destination & transfer amount

  3. Input the recipient’s details

  4. Choose payment method

  5. Send money

What information do you need?

To transfer money abroad via a transfer provider you may need the following information. Make sure you have all the information before you set up the transaction:

  • Recipient’s full name

  • Recipient’s bank details such as IBAN number

  • Your payment details, like a credit card

Send money with Wise

Some providers may require different or additional information, so check with the provider before setting up the transaction.

Online specialists such as Wise do not require SWIFT codes for money transfer. To learn more, you can read our How does Wise work? guide. 

Advantages of sending money with a transfer provider

  • Often lower fees and better exchange rates than traditional banks

  • Fast transfers

  • Safe & secure

Disadvantages of sending money with a transfer provider

  • Most services don’t allow you to send cash

  • Capped transfer limits

  • Risk of scams

Method 3: Sending money with PayPal

PayPal is one of the most well-known money transfer providers and is used by millions of people each year. While PayPal has been facing increasingly stiff competition from newer providers like Instarem and Wise, it remains a popular choice.

Steps to send money abroad with PayPal

PayPal was one of the first providers to make international fund transfers more user-friendly, and the process continues to be fairly straightforward:

  1. Create a PayPal account and log in on either the mobile app or website.

  2. Go to ‘Send & Request’

  3. Search for the recipient in your contacts, or by entering their name, email address, or phone number, and click ‘next’

  4. Choose ‘Sending to a friend’

  5. Enter the amount, choose the currency and add a payment reference, and click ‘continue’.

  6. Select the Payment Method or add an alternative method.

  7. Review the details and click ‘Send Money Now’ 

What information do you need?

To transfer money overseas with PayPal, you will need the following information. Note that this information might be different for transactions between certain countries, so make sure you that check first:

  • Recipient’s PayPal details

  • Recipient’s email or phone number

  • Recipient’s country of residence and/or preferred currency

Advantages of sending money with PayPal

  • Fast processing and payment

  • Secure payment

  • User-friendly interface

Disadvantages of sending money with PayPal

  • Recipient needs to have a PayPal account

  • Fees can be very high (also charges fees from the recipient)

  • Popular target for scammers

Method 4: Through the post office

While India Post does not provide international money transfers directly, they have partnered with transfer providers Western Union and MoneyGram to offer the service.

Method 5: Cash pick-up

Sending money overseas via a cash pickup is another popular transfer method. Instead of transferring money into a bank account, a cash pickup involves collecting cash from a physical location such as a shop, kiosk, ATM, or even a traditional bank by using a special code. 

Steps to send money abroad using a cash pickup service

Cash pickups are relatively simple to set up:

  1. Login in to the provider’s app.

  2. Enter the amount you’d like to transfer, as well as the payment method (usually a linked bank account or credit card) 

  3. Provide the recipient’s contact details, including name and identification details.

  4. Submit the payment and wait for the verification code to confirm that the transfer was successful, and to track whether the recipient has picked up the cash.

  5. The recipient will receive a unique code to retrieve the cash from a participating location

  6. Once the recipient has received the cash, you will receive a notification that the transfer is complete.

What information do you need?

Aside from information retrieved from logging into your account, most cash pickup services require only a few details, including:

  • Recipient’s ID details

  • Recipient’s contact details, usually email or phone number 

Some providers may have different requirements, so it is a good idea to check with the provider first before setting up the transaction.

Advantages of sending money through a cash pick-up service

  • Can be fast

  • Receiver gets cash, no bank account is needed

  • Many pickup locations

Disadvantages of sending money through a cash pick-up service

  • Often expensive and complicated fee structure

  • Poor exchange rates

  • Risk of theft

Step 2: Choose a provider

Choosing a provider to transfer money overseas is very important and you should take your time to consider the following factors:

1. Does the provider support the currency route? 

For instance, can you send Rupees to US Dollars or British Pounds?

2. What payment options do they provide?

Does the provider offer bank transfers and cash pickups or can you pay with your debit or credit card?

3. The fees for international transfers

This can be fixed or percentage-based transaction fees as well as currency exchange fees and the like.

4. How long will it take for the recipient to get the money?

Take into account the transaction processing time, as well as time added by intermediaries

5. Does the provider use mid-market exchange rate or do they add a markup?

Some providers may charge both. This can often be difficult to determine upfront as many providers don’t make this information freely available.

6. What are the transaction limits?

Most providers have a daily limit, as well as an annual limit.

Step 3: Get your recipient’s details

Most transfer providers, whether it be traditional banks or dedicated international fund transfer providers, will require certain information and/or documents, including the following:

  • Account information of both sender and recipient

  • Identification and in some cases also proof of residence
  • The recipient’s full name and address
  • Name of the recipient’s bank, along with their SWIFT code, IBAN number, or Routing Number for payments to countries not on the SWIFT or IBAN networks.

Some countries may require additional information, especially when transferring large amounts or making regular transactions. Check with your chosen provider to consult for more information on large transfers.

It is important to note that the information required by providers may differ, so remember to check with the provider to ensure that you have the necessary information before setting up the transaction.

Step 4: Compare fees

Comparing fees is important because some providers have hidden fees that can increase the price of the transaction. These include fees like transfer fees, exchange rate markups, intermediary fees and differences in exchange rates used.  Traditional banks often have fairly high fees, although this is changing and many are lowering their fees to compete with transfer providers. 

What’s more, many traditional banks charge a hefty exchange fee, as well as a high GST percentage.

Many transfer providers like Skrill and Wise offer ‘guaranteed rate’ where the exchange rate is guaranteed for a certain period of time, usually 24 hours. 

Learn more about WiseCompare money transfer providers

Step 5: Send your money in

Providing funds for sending money may differ between providers. Traditional banks usually deduct money from your bank account, while providers like some cash pickup services may require you to deposit money into a special account from which the cash will then be paid out. Some providers like Wise will also allow you to send money via your debit or credit card. 

Check with the provider before setting up the transaction and choose the option you feel most comfortable with.

Step 6: Your money is converted and sent out

Finally, your money is converted to the target currency and then paid out to the recipient via the method of choice, whether into their bank account, into a provider account like PayPal, or cash. 

Most exchange rates are calculated using a so-called exchange rate margin (also known as the currency exchange margin). This is the markup that providers add to the ‘real’ exchange rate when converting funds. The percentage can vary between providers, and banks are known for charging high margins. 

Always check the provider’s policy, as well as the quoted rate to ensure that you know at what rate the provider will exchange your money.

Is it possible to cancel an international transfer?

Some banks have the option to cancel international payments, but these are not always guaranteed. Some banks and providers do allow you to cancel a payment if it’s not already been processed. Always check the provider’s policy before making a transaction.

H2: How much does it cost to send money internationally


Countries you can send money toFees appliedExchange rate usedTransfer limitsHow long it takes
Wise transfer fees40132.67 INR + 2.04%

0.012 USD per 1 INR


1.5 million INR per transfer


0 - 2 days


Skrill Money Transfer37up to 1% + 4.99% exchange fee0.0125 USD per 1 INR

Variable, Skrill notifies if over limit


1 - 5 days


Kotak Bank International Transfers15

1,250 INR + 18% GST on commission/fee & currency conversion.



500 INR (on mobile) + 18% GST on commission/fee & currency conversion.


0.0127 USD per 1 INR

250,000 USD per year


2 - 5 business days*



based on previous research from 2020, bank does not indicate


Axis Bank International Transfer161,500 (1,000 INR fee + 500 INR SWIFT fee) + 0.125% + 18% GST on commission/fee & currency conversion.

1 USD per 0.0121 INR


250,000 USD per year


2 days


ICICI Bank International Transfer21

750 to 1,000 INR + 18% GST on commission/fee & currency conversion.


0.0126 USD per 1 INR


25,000 USD per transaction


1 - 3 days (more if intermediaries are involved)


*Fees and rates correct at time of research - 16 September 2022

Go To WiseCompare money transfer providers

Is it possible to send free international money transfers?

Yes and no. While many providers like Skrill and Western Union may offer overseas transfers for no fee, it does not mean that the transaction is completely free. Many providers make money from ‘hidden fees’ like transfer fees and adding extra fees on exchange rates. These fees get added to the price of the transaction.

How long does it take to transfer money internationally

Most international money transfers from India can take anything from a couple of minutes up to as long as five business days. Often, the transaction will be processed within 24 hours, but since the funds and exchanges often have to go through intermediaries, it can add a day or two.

It is important to note that there is a difference between how long it takes for a transaction to be processed and how long it takes for the recipient to receive their money.

Is it safe to transfer money internationally

Yes. Almost all foreign money transfer services have strict measures in place to protect foreign transactions and personal data. This includes things like Visa’s 3D Secure verification system, the built-in security protocols of the SWIFT transfer system and more. Many providers have dedicated teams of specialists who ensure that transactions are safe and secure. 

However, you should always be vigilant when conducting any financial transaction, especially online. Watch out for suspicious websites and emails, and use 2-factor authentication where possible. 

Here are some tips to stay safe:

  • Always make sure that the provider is registered and regulated

  • Double check all information before you confirm a transfer

  • Scams through money transfers are common. Be sure that you are sending money to someone you know or a business you trust. 

Conclusion

In this comprehensive guide to sending money overseas from India, we covered many things that you should consider when choosing an international money transfer service. We looked at the different types of services, their advantages, and disadvantages, the steps involved in sending money overseas, as well as the fees involved. 

The information in this guide is meant to equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision when choosing the best international fund transfer provider. It is by no means exhaustive since other factors like currency routes should also be taken into consideration. Remember to always do thorough research before making your final choice. 

Go To WiseCompare money transfer providers

FAQ

How can I send money internationally?

You can send money overseas with traditional banks, specialist money transfer providers, cash pickup services, and at the post office (through intermediaries).

What information do you need to send money abroad?

It depends on the transfer method. Traditional banks may require information like name, address, sender’s proof of residence, recipient’s identification, as well as SWIFT and/or IBAN codes. Most transfer providers require names, identification, bank account numbers, or service account details.

How much does it cost to send money abroad?

Costs vary between providers, it could also depend on the country you are sending money to and the transfer amount. Traditional banks usually charge a fixed fee or percentage, as well as a foreign exchange fee and GST. Transfer providers usually charge a percentage of the transaction amount. Some providers might add a transaction fee.

How long does it take to send money abroad?

Between a couple of hours to 5 business days. Transfer time could depend on various factors such as the provider, currency, transfer method, local financial regulations, and whether intermediaries are involved. For example, Wise international transfers usually take between 0 and 2 days, while transfers with Kotak Bank can take between 2 and 5 business days.

By Seyma Mektepli
Updated 27 October 2022