For the past 25 yrs I have been trying to find the best way to send money to India. Till now, it was horrendous. About 3yrs ago I came across HDFC and it has worked out pretty well for me. I keep money in my NRE acct and do third party transfers and my recipient(who also has to have a HDFC acct) gets the money transferred into their acct immediately. If I need to replenish my acct, it takes a month for the check to clear/lockbox etc. HDFC banks in Bombay - watch out - they dont give you the exchange they promise! I dont trust them. The ones in Kerala ALWAYS gave me the best rates and they delivered the rate they promised!! Also, watch out for those hidden transaction costs too! Charge when you deposit more than 50,000Rs and another charge when I deposited a personal check in India. They claim that the lockbox facility from the US does not get charged. I will find out when I try it. All in all, I was oaky with it.
I have been living in US for 7 years now and I have been regularly sending money to India.
During this time, I have tried several methods to send money to India.
Disclaimer: Following are just my views from my own experiences and I don't have interest of any kind of any company.
Western Union: They charged me $39 and exchange rate was quite poor.
Citibank Rupee Checking Account: I never tried this because I don't want to open Rupee account and keep $1000 in Rupees just to transfer money.
Cashier's check(something similar to demand draft in India) from First Union. I had to go to bank and get it done. They charged me $15 to do it. Then I mailed it to my father. He deposited it in the local bank who in turn sent it to some bank in Bombay and then I guess they might have sent it to US for clearance and then my father got money after long time. And my father's bank charged some money to do iti.
remit2india: When I did it, online application was quite buggy. It timed out, gave errors and I was quite worried whether I got charged, whether money would be sent etc. I am not sure what the status is.
money2india: Finally, I found this. So far, this has worked out best. I asked my father to open an account in ICICI bank. I registered online (I did not open any bank account with them.) I have given them all the details of my bank in US. And whenever, I want to transfer money, it takes less than 5 minutes to do it. And, currently, I have set up automatic transfer of x amount of money every month to be remitted to my father for maintenance. This has worked best to me so far.
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