Just in 2017, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) sent approximately $69 billion dollars back to India allowing India to retain its top position as recipient of remittances followed by China, the Philippines, Mexico, Nigeria and Egypt. The $69 billion was a sharp 9.9% increase from the $62.7 billion that India received in 2016.
The current economic dynamics have only accelerated the revamping of the general money transfer process including revisiting high remittance costs, increasing daily sending limits, and streamlining the sender experience itself to cater to the highly evolved needs of the NRI population, which is the largest of any other country in the world.
USA accounted for $11.7 billion in remittances to India accounting for 17% of the total remittances received. Indians in the USA are not only the highest educated and the highest earning groups in the country but also make up the third largest immigrant group here. So it goes without saying that this is a huge, and highly competitive market for money transfer operators/remittance companies servicing this diaspora.
From our primary research it emerged that a money transfer customer’s intent can be divided into four broad categories:
1. Family maintenance – a monthly constant/variable
2. Emergencies – dependent on various factors
3. Loan repayment – a monthly constant
4. Domestic investment – dependent on various factors including the current exchange rate and tax laws
The industry has certainly come a long way in adapting to the needs of international money transfer customers. The competition is neck-to-neck and it is possible for a loved one in India to receive money as soon as a transfer is initiated in the USA. Of course, there’s a price to pay for that kind of speed, but the advancements have it possible to have options and spring to action in time of need.
With multiple money transfer operators in the market, it can get overwhelming for a first-timer to decide on what service to pick. If you’re new to transferring money to India, here are some tips to ensure that you’re getting the best deal based on your needs:
- Security Policy: The last thing you want when you are giving away personal, sensitive information is for it to be stolen or for you to be hit by fraud.
– Pay close attention to what the company claims to take responsibility for. Do they say your personal security on their website is up to you or do they guarantee to safeguard your details?
– Are they using a secure SSL (https://) connection between your device and their server and does their site provide the green padlock on your browser?
– Make yourself familiar with their security policy. It’s good to know things like whether or not they’ll call you to verify your identity so that you can be prepared and not mistake them for a scammer.
Most important of all choose a service whose security policy you understand and are comfortable with.
- Exchange Rate: Compare the company’s exchange rate with that provided by similar companies.The importance of the exchange rate in a money transfer transaction depends on various factors. You could be transferring money to help with an emergency back home, in which case you’d be paying more importance to the speed of the transfer rather than the exchange rate. Or, you could be transferring money to your own NRE account in India as an investment, in which case you’d probably pay more attention to the exchange rate than the speed – so that you’re getting the most value for your hard earned dollars.Choose a service based on a combination of the purpose of your transfer and the exchange rate being offered.
- Transaction Fees: Beware of hidden fees that often don’t appear initially. Some companies lure you in with a great exchange rate only to reveal at checkout that there’ll be a $5 transaction fee, which reduces the effective exchange rate significantly. Some companies have a minimum amount for zero-fee transactions. Make sure you read the fine-print and make yourself aware of the fees you’ll need to pay, depending on the amount you want to transfer.
If you’d like to avoid transaction fees no matter how small they might be, plan your transfer so that it meets the zero-fee minimum.
- Benefits Beyond Exchange Rate: Look for the perks of using a money transfer service. A lot of services offer attractive features like promotional rates, complimentary services to benefit your family in India, discount codes, a mobile app, and more. Look beyond the exchange rate and make the most of what your favorite service has to offer to you.
- Customer Reviews & Social Media: to gain a better insight into the company and its services, nothing speaks louder than customers’ actual experiences of a service. Remember to take reviews with a pinch of salt though. Like they say “A happy customer tells a friend; an unhappy customer tells the world”. A good indicator of reliability is a company that responds to both positive and negative reviews about them. If a company has stated the reason for a bad experience and expressed their willingness to make it up to the customer you will know that they take customer satisfaction seriously. If they just ignore or belittle negative customer reviews, that’s a bad sign. You can also check their social media presence on sites like Facebook to learn more about the company and its customers. If there’s no activity, again that may be a bad sign.
- Call Customer Service: If you’re not able to decide between services because of various similarities, don’t be afraid to pick the phone and call customer service. Do this for two reasons:
– Ask them how they are different from the other services you are considering. Are there any benefits that you might have missed while researching the company online?
A competent company should be able to give you a satisfying reply.
– Gauge how easy or difficult it is for you to reach a customer service professional. If you have to leave voicemails or jump through hoops to get in touch with a human being who can actually answer your questions, consider it a red flag.
Lastly, remember that no money transfer service is “one size fits all”. If you’ve found a service that meets your needs, great! But, be open to new players in the space and see what benefits they have to offer. You might find a new player in the market who provides better value for your money than your current service. Remember to use this checklist with every new service you consider to transfer money to India.
Check out this money transfer comparison tool to get started on knowing the rates and fees for different service providers:
The remittance industry is highly competitive and as you will notice below most services are similar when it comes to exchange rates, speed of transfer and instant identity verification. Gone are the days of uploading documents for proof and waiting to receive bank deposits to verify your bank account and waiting for a week for the money to reach India!
Depending on the amount you’re transferring, you could be looking at anything from $0 to $5+ based on the service you choose. Given the ease of creating accounts and completing verification you even have the liberty to use a different service every time given the benefits each offers at that point of time.
We tried out all the services mentioned in the exchange rate comparison tool and here’s our verdict:
Oxigen: High exchange rate, reward points, value-added services
Remitly: Great promotional offer, high exchange rate
Transfast: No fees for bank account transfers, no minimum
Transferwise: Flexible fees based on amount being spent
Western Union: Number of outlets for cash pick-up in India
Xoom: High exchange rate, best speed with low fees
|Competitor Name||Oxigen||Remitly||Transfast||Transferwise||Western Union||Xoom|
|Offers for new customers||Free Rs 500 mobile recharge + Chance to win Sachin -signed cricket bat||Higher exchange rate for first $2,999 of transfers||None||None||None||None|
|Details required for registration||Facebook account||Email, recipient’s country||Identity verification details||Email/ Paypal account|
|Identity Verification Requirements||Date Of Birth (DOB), Phone, Address||DOB, Phone, Address||DOB, Phone, Address, Recipient Country||DOB, Phone, Address, Location of bank account opening||DOB, Email, Address, Security Question||DOB, Phone, Address|
|Time to complete Identity Verification||1 minute||1 minute||1 minute||1 minute||1 minute||1 minute|
|Transfer options||ACH||Checking/ Savings/ Credit/ Debit Card||ACH/ Credit Card||ACH/ Credit/Debit Card/ Wire||ACH/Credit/Debit Card||ACH/ Credit / Debit Card|
|Transfer fees||$5.00 for transfers below $500||$3.99 for transfers below $1,000||$0 for ACH transfers; $4.99 for Credit Card transfers||Dependent on amount being sent||$2.99 for Credit Card transfers; $0 for ACH transfers||$2.99 for up to $499;
$4.99 for $500-$999;
$0 for $1000+. Using a credit or debit card costs an additional $2.
|Time to complete transfer||1- 3 business days||3 business days higher FX; immediately lower FX||3 – 5 business days||3 days weekend included > 100; less than $100 immediately||0 -1 days CC; 4 – 5 days Bank||Next business day|
|Mobile App availability (yes/no)||Fully responsive mobile website||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Do they offer mobile recharge or bill payment services?||Yes||None||None||None||None||Yes – only mobile recharges|
Data as of November 1, 2018.
Why Consider OxigenUSA.com for your money transfers to India?
As we mentioned above, there is no ‘one size fits all’ money transfer service. Here are some benefits of transferring money on OxigenUSA.com to help you evaluate if it is a good fit for you:
- Happiest exchange rate on the market: What this essentially means is that we compare our rate to other companies so you can see who is currently offering the highest true exchange rate, which is the real exchange rate of any service with fees taken into account.
- More than just money transfers: Oxigen provides a one-stop shop to send payments, gifts and money to India with a single check-out and always at the best exchange rate. It’s a great way to keep Sending Happiness to your loved ones in India.
- Reward Points on all Transactions: At Oxigen you earn Reward Points on all transactions including money transfers, that you can use for discounts on payments and gifts. So, every time you send money to India, you’re earning discounts to send payments and gifts as well! It’s a sweet deal!
- Infinite Reward Points Program: Earn 10,000 Reward Points ($10 value) for every friend that you refer to Oxigen and continue to earn reward points every time they refer somebody who uses Oxigen. The rewards are never ending and so are your discounts.
- Game of Happiness: Earn extra easy reward points and discounts for completing simple tasks ad leveling up in our Game of Happiness modeled after the famous Game of Thrones!
- 24/6 Customer Service with Live Chat: Have a question? Call us or hit that live chat button.
- Norton Shopping Guarantee: Receive free ID Theft Protection up to $10,000, Purchase Guarantee up to $1,000 and Lowest Price Guarantee up to $100 for free, with all your purchases including money transfers to India.
- Exclusive Offers: Some of our customers got to meet Sachin Tendulkar in the USA in 2015. YES…those are the kind of exclusive offers we’re talking about! Participate in our money transfer launch offer for a chance to win a cricket bat signed by Sachin Tendulkar.
- Company Culture: Oxigen’s culture revolves around Happiness – of the customers, the team as well as individual employees. We like to listen closely and come up with solutions to challenges.
How to send money to India using OxigenUSA.com
With real-time identity and bank account verification on OxigenUSA.com, you can send money to India from USA in less than 3 minutes!
The Future of Money Transfers to India
What do you think the future of money transfer to India is? Get inside the head of our CEO, Amir Alexander Hasson, to learn about FX commoditization, value-added services, cloud-based transfers, and Blockchain: https://oxigenusa.com/blog/2018/11/02/the-future-of-money-transfers-to-india/