In this interconnected world, sending money abroad to family doesn’t sound foreign anymore. Thousands of people send money abroad daily for their kids' education, medical expenses, or leisure. In India, transferring money overseas is facilitated through Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS). Before LRS, sending money abroad was a cumbersome process, but now, it has become easier than ever. There are several ways through which you can send money to family abroad. In this article, we have covered the different ways of sending money abroad in detail.
What is LRS?
The LRS was introduced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in 2004 to ease up and streamline the process of sending money abroad. The scheme allows all residents to send money abroad freely up to USD 250,000 per annum. Any authorized banks and dealers facilitate the transfer by using your PAN Card.
Parents can use LRS to send money to their children studying abroad. The scheme also allows transferring money abroad for medical, traveling, and investing purposes. Apart from this, LRS also allows investment. You can invest in shares, mutual funds, and other securities, open a bank account in a foreign country, or invest in real estate.
All citizens of India are eligible to transfer money aboard through LRS. However, corporates, partnership firms, and organizations cannot use LRS.
Best ways of sending money abroad
The Liberalized Remittance Scheme allows you to send money abroad in any of the following ways.
Cash is still widely used by many as they feel a lot more comfortable using physical money. You can send cash to your loved ones abroad through any of the authorized dealers or money transfer facilities. However, sending cash is not only slow but also costly compared to other methods. There are a lot of overhead costs involved when you send cash abroad.
Prepaid cards are just like debit cards. You can load money into the card and send it abroad to your family. They can withdraw money from the card through any ATM. Alternatively, they can use it as a debit card to purchase in stores. Prepaid cards are usually preferred when a big amount is involved. Since you must send the card physically, transferring money through this method takes time. Moreover, there are several charges levied on such cards, such as activation fees and monthly fees.
A bank draft or foreign currency demand draft is a financial instrument that facilitates international money transfers. It is one of the oldest money transfer methods that are still in use. To send money through bank drafts, you and the person you send money to must have active bank accounts. Once you draw up a demand draft, the bank transfers the money from your account to their account for a small fee.
Sending money through foreign currency demand drafts is very simple and convenient. The fee the banks charge is minimal and is also one of the safest methods of international money transfer. However, it takes about 7-28 days for the money to reach the recipient.
Some banks, like Jupiter Money, have also introduced electronic foreign currency demand drafts that enable international money transfers.
International money order
Did you ever see a piece of paper that is delivered through the post and can be used to get money from the post office? The piece of paper is called a money order. They are one of the most traditional ways of sending money to family. A money order is a certificate issued by a government agency directing a bank to pay a certain sum of money to the person whose name is mentioned. With increased digitization, post offices started issuing electronic money orders as well.
Using a money order, you can send money in India or abroad. It is one of the safest ways of sending money to family as the money order can only be encashed by the payee and no one else. Moreover, it is also the cheapest way to send money. However, it is one of the slowest ways of sending money.
Wire transfers are one of the easiest and most convenient ways of sending money abroad. You can do a wire transfer through banks or authorized dealers. The money is transferred from your account to the recipient's account through an intermediary. This is a very cost-effective method of sending money abroad, and hence is one of the most popular methods as well. It is cheaper than direct online transfer and faster than an international money order or demand draft. However, it takes slightly longer time than a direct online transfer.
One of the fastest ways of sending money abroad is through a direct online transfer. You can transfer money abroad from the comfort of your home, provided you have all the details of the recipient's bank account. There are no intermediaries involved in this process, and hence is the fastest way of sending money aboard. However, with speed comes additional charges. Banks and financial institutions charge a hefty fee for facilitating an online transfer.
Transferring money abroad has become as easy as domestic money transfer. However, it is still regulated strictly by the RBI. Moreover, it is costly and time taking to send money abroad. Hence, before transferring money abroad, it is important to consider the costs. Faster the transfer, the higher the fees. Hence compare the costs of different methods and choose the one that bests suits you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I send money to my family in another country?
You can send money to your family living in another country through online transfer, wire transfer, or a demand draft.
Can I transfer money to a relative abroad?
Yes, you can transfer money to a relative living abroad. The Liberalized Remittance Scheme allows you to send money up to USD 250,000 per annum for different purposes. Do checkout the purposes allowed by the LRS.
What's the cheapest way to transfer money internationally?
Sending money through an international money order or foreign currency demand draft is the cheapest way of sending money abroad.
How much money can you send abroad without tax?
As per the Liberalized Remittance Scheme, banks or authorized dealers cut a TCS (Tax Collected at Source) of 5% if the remittance amount is above Rs 7 lakhs. So, you will not pay tax on the entire amount but only on the amount exceeding Rs 7 lakhs.
How much money can I send overseas to my family?
As per the LRS, you can send a maximum of USD 250,000 per annum abroad to your family. To send an amount more than this, you will have to seek special permission from the RBI.
What is the safest way to send money to a family?
Money orders are considered the safest way to send money to your family living abroad. However, they are one of the slowest when compared to other ways, such as wire transfers or online transfers.
How much do banks charge for international money transfers?
Sending money abroad through banks involves a lot of fees. The biggest expense is usually the exchange rate and marked-up exchange rates. Marked-up exchange rates are an additional fee charged on the exchange rate. Apart from these, banks also charge intermediary and overhead fees, which are usually not disclosed upfront.
How much money can be sent from India as gift to family staying abroad?
You can send up to USD 2,50,000 (approx. 2 crores) per financial year (April – March) for any permissible current or capital account transaction or a combination of both.
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