Money can be transferred through banks, Web sites such as
Remit2India.com, and money transfer companies such as Western Union.
However, each has its advantages and disadvantages.
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Telegraphic transfer or wire transfer is the fastest way to transfer funds through a bank. You do not have to be a customer of the bank to wire funds, and this is faster than a foreign draft. But the catch is you have to pay cash and the fee varies based on your relationship with the bank (customer or non-customer). You will also have to furnish such information as name of beneficiary bank/branch, beneficiary's name, address and a/c no, remitter's name and address, and so on to the bank.
Banks also offer online banking transfer facilities which enable you to track your remittance online. For instance, ICICI Bank offers products, such as Power Transfer, e-transfer, and cheque transfer. The time taken for realising money varies from product to product. For more details contact the banks.
Banking transfers are very convenient, particularly for cheque/drafts/wire transfer/online banking transfer, if both the sender and the beneficiary have accounts in the same bank.
Money transfer companies
Some companies, such as Western Union Money Transfer and MoneyGram, also transfer funds. All you need to do is locate the nearest agent who represents the money transfer company, fill in "to send money" format, and pay the cash and the service fee. The agent will, in turn, provide you with a money transfer control number. You have to communicate this number to the beneficiary.
Within an hour, the beneficiary can collect the money from the nearest agent by filling in the "to receive money" form and providing a valid identification. Generally, in India, identification such as valid Passport, Voters ID, PAN No, and driving licence are accepted. Depending on the location and amount of money involved, the beneficiary may be asked a "test question" to verify whether he/she is the intended receiver. The test question is created by you (the sender).
Web site transfers
Many Web sites also transfer money. For instance, (remit2india) www.timesofmoney.com offers this service.
These Web sites also enable you track your money online. All you need to do is log on to the site and fill the requisite details (yours and the beneficiary's, the amount and the payment mode) for sending the money. The beneficiary will receive the money in the form of cheque or demand draft or through direct deposits (if the beneficiary has account with any of the company's partner banks). The fee varies based on the transfer amount, mode of payment and sender's location.
A word of caution to those who send money through Web sites — kindly ensure that the Web site is a reputed one and recognised by the Reserve Bank of India. Before deciding on the mode of transfer, evaluate the cost involved in each method, the time taken, the ease at which you can send and receive funds, safety and the transaction limit.