5 Best Traditional Bank Alternatives to Send Money to India from the UK

15 days ago   •   5 min read

By Silverbird Content Team

British businesses often send money to India.

After all, over 14,100 UK VAT-registered businesses imported goods from India in 2020, and that number will increase — Indian manufacturing could grow to $1 trillion by 2025, according to a UK government report. To put that into context, India could soon match China's industrial output.

Now more than ever, it’s important for UK businesses to find a cost-effective, safe and fast option to send money to India.

Rest easy. Transferring money internationally has never been easier. Lucky for you, we’ve done the boring work so you don’t have to. Here’s a list of popular options to transfer money to India from the United Kingdom.


This article at a glance

High-value cross-border transactions via traditional financial institutions are expensive and time-consuming. SMEs can turn to fintech payment providers for speedier and more cost-effective transactions. Even with these fintech companies, businesses making high-value payments will face upper limits on transactions. Only Silverbird provides an alternative.


5 ways to transfer money to India

Traditional banks are usually the first place businesses go for money transfers from the UK to India.

There’s a problem. Traditional banks don’t offer competitive exchange rates and many charge exorbitant transaction fees.

Moreover, bank transfers are time-consuming. Each money transfer has to go through every intermediary bank that comprises SWIFT, and those intermediaries each take a cut of your transaction.

Let’s say someone sends $1,000 to a client in India who has an account with one of the major Indian banks. The banks of both sender and receiver will take a cut of $10 and each intermediary bank will take $5.

Are there any other options?

You want an alternative to traditional banking to send money to India. Online money transfer services are a good place to start. Let’s dive deeper into your options. Fortunately, there are many different payment methods.

Wise
Wise is a great way to send money online – it's simple, available in 50 countries, and the exchange rate is competitive. Moreover, it’s regulated by FCA and HMRC in the UK. It’s a good option for sending money to family. However, additional costs mount up depending on the amount – this makes it a last resort for businesses paying their suppliers.

WorldRemit
WorldRemit is a London-based fintech company that enables people to send money to over 130 countries in 90 different currencies. It’s a safe, secure and reliable payment service. While it’s a fast option for paying individuals, large transactions are limited to £15,000.

Western Union
Western Union is a popular cross-border payment provider. Fast, and convenient, but replete with hidden fees, and vulnerable to fraud. Between 2004 and 2012, Western Union employees were involved in money laundering and fraud. If you want to guarantee the safety of your funds, this money transfer service should be a last resort.

Xoom
Xoom is a PayPal service that’s great for individuals to send money to family and friends in over 160 countries. It’s more difficult for B2B transactions, with big limits. It’s also vulnerable to fraud — in 2015, $30.8 million was fraudulently transferred to overseas accounts using employee impersonation.

Silverbird
Silverbird is the safest option for high-value cross-border B2B transfers. FCA-regulated and EMI-certified, Silverbird keeps 100% of your money in Tier-1 UK and EU banks. Businesses can send money to over 100 countries and in 30+ currencies with a multi-currency account primed for international trade, and enjoy great exchange rates. Customers can enjoy a smooth, secure, low-cost payment process.

How much does it cost to transfer money to India?

Wise
Wise’s transfer fee includes a fixed fee of £0.28 + 0.63% of the amount you’ve converted. Remember: some payments are subject to additional fees.

WorldRemit
WorldRemit’s transfer fee is £2.99 per transaction. There’s also an exchange rate markup to consider, which WorldRemit calculates for you.

Western Union
The cost varies depending on the amount and the payment method you plan to transfer. The transfer fees increase as the amount increases. A £2,614 transfer would cost upwards of £17.40.

Xoom PayPal
The transfer fee for each transaction varies depending on the transaction type, the amount transacted, the currency rate and the payment method.

Silverbird
Silverbird has a transparent fee structure – businesses pay £4.30 for every transaction. Fees are personalised to the nature of your business, the goods you export, your annual turnover and the amount of money you plan to receive.

How fast does it take to transfer money from the UK to India?

Wise
Typically, it takes 1 business day for your money to arrive at your recipient bank account.

WorldRemit
Transfers take minutes.

Western Union
International bank transfers will take 1 to 5 business days to complete.

Xoom Paypal
The transaction can be completed within minutes or take between 2 and 3 business days.

Silverbird
Transfer time takes between 2 hours and 5 business days, depending on several factors — fraud prevention, timezones, currencies, and bank holidays.

What’s the maximum amount of money you can send from the UK to India?

Wise
With Wise, can send a maximum of 1.5 million INR (roughly £15,976) in an online money transfer from the UK to India for business purposes.

WorldRemit
With WorldRemit, the maximum of money you can send to India from the UK per transaction is 1.5 million INR (£15,976). Despite the fast transfer, WorldRemit has a high transfer fee.

Western Union
Western Union lets you send a maximum of £50,000 through your bank from the UK to India.

Xoom PayPal
With Xoom, it depends on the period you make online money transfers. For instance, if you send money within 24 hours, you can only send $2,999. Likewise, within 30 days, the amount will increase to $6,000. And for 180 days, it will be $9,999.

Silverbird
There are no minimum limits with Silverbird. Transactions have an upper limit of €500,000 (£435,219).

What information do you need to transfer money online to India from the UK?

Wise
To transfer money from the UK and India, you will need to prepare the following information:

  • Government-issued ID
  • A photo that shows the individual holding the photo ID
  • Proof of address
  • Sender and recipient's bank account details

WorldRemit
Here are the steps if you are planning to send money from the UK to India:

  • Government-issued ID
  • Proof of address
  • Sender and recipient's bank account details

Western Union
To send money from the UK to India, you can do these quick and simple steps:

  • To prevent fraud, Western Union may require you to verify your identity with a government-issued ID
  • Sender and recipient's bank account details

Xoom Paypal
Government-issued photo ID

  • Bank statement
  • Proof of address
  • Sender and recipient's bank account details

Silverbird
You can open your account at Silverbird in minutes, and you can do it in three simple steps:

  • Government-issued ID
  • In some instances, the following information may be required: a bank statement, a certificate of incorporation, annual returns or invoices
  • Sender and recipient's bank details

Alternative ways to pay your global suppliers

Silverbird is the best option for global SMEs to make large transfers. The upper transfer limit far surpasses Wise or Western Union. Moreover, it’s the safest low-cost alternative to a bank transfer — Silverbird boasts a bulletproof security solution backed by Tier-1 UK and EU banks.

Silverbird lets you control 30+ currencies from a single multi-currency account primed for international trade. Enjoy competitive exchange rates. Transparent fees. Super-fast payments.

Free trade is at your fingertips with just a few taps.

Come and join Silverbird today.


Author: Renee Yang
Illustration: Kate Faldina

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