How to receive international payments in India

Aman Saxena

Digital businesses know that all it takes to reach the world is some good online marketing and a strong payment partner. The latter often being the most important piece in the puzzle. Even if you are a freelancer, it is now easier than ever to have clients in Europe, South America or anywhere in the world.

But with all the different online and offline payment options out there, it can be difficult to sift through them all to figure out which one is best for you and your clients. And, to know which factors to consider when making the decision. Or how international payments are taxed. So let this be your guide on the best way to receive international payments in India.

Table of contents

How do I receive payment in India?

Banks and money transfer providers offer differing services at differing costs which can make the process of choosing one overwhelming. But the main areas to look at when receiving payments into India is the ease of use, the time it takes for the money to arrive, limits to how much can be received, and last but not least, fees.

Next, is to ensure that you aren’t getting hit with hidden fees when you are receiving money into India. A fee is often hidden in the exchange rate that is offered. Instead of using the mid-market exchange rate that the banks use themselves, they’ll often give you a weaker exchange rate than the mid-market exchange rate.

One way to check is to compare the exchange rate being offered with Google or Reuters. If it is different, then you know you are getting a hidden fee. Want an easier way to compare exchange rates and costs? Try out Wise’s honest rate comparison tool which will always tell you the best option for your transfer, even if it isn’t Wise.

The true cost of sending USD to INR


Wise offers Indian businesses and freelancers with account details in 8 different currencies to receive payments from abroad. You can use these account details to receive payments from platforms like Upwork or your clients pay you with a local transfer in their currency, and you receive rupees in your INR bank account — with eFIRC for every transfer.

Get started with a Wise Business Account 🚀 and save with a low-cost transfer fee and mid-market exchange rate - which is the same as the one you see on Google.


PayPal has long been in the global money transfers market. And while it is nearly a household name in most of the world, that doesn’t mean it's the cheapest or easiest to use. It usually requires you to also open a Paypal account and then you get charged when you pull it into your regular bank account. So while it is well known, there are often cheaper and better partners for the overall payment receiving process.¹


Instamojo offers seamless payment links and a payment gateway for your online business, with no annual fee, maintenance fee or commitment. But that is really only for domestic payments. The platform does not have a multi currency option and all payments are processed in Indian rupees. To be able to accept international payments, you will have to contact Instamojo directly as it doesn’t come with an account.²


Payoneer offers the option for customers to pay in local accounts in USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, AUD, CAD & MXN. That makes it easier for your customers and clients. And you can move the money into your INR account when it's complete. But all that does come with a 2% fee above the mid-market exchange rate to move to your local bank, plus fees to your customer.³


Xoom is actually a PayPal-owned company that helps do money transfers, rather than offering a payment gateway. But your clients can still use it to send you money directly to a bank account in India, or for a cash pickup. That being said, they will need to sign up for Xoom and there are high fees for using a debit or credit card. And a hidden exchange rate fee with every transfer.⁴


SBI offers 3 options to send money to India from abroad. You can receive money through a wire transfer, demand draft or through their Express Remit. But Express Remit is only to individual accounts and not a business account. The charges and fees will be borne by the sender, so the fees and exchange rate may clearly cut into your payment.⁵

HDFC bank

HDFC offers international money transfers into India in 22 currencies: AED, JPY, USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD, NOK, SEK, QAR, KWD, SAR, DKK, THB, CHF, NZD, HKD, KRW, BHD, ZAR, SGD, AND OMR. A foreign currency demand draft and foreign currency cheque collection are also available. There is no charge for receiving money but the charges will be taken from the sender’s side.⁶

ICICI bank

ICICI offers inward remittances using a wire transfer into your business or individual account in India. You will need to provide your overseas client or business partner your account number and the details of the money with the wire transfer instructions. Once the payment is received on your sender’s end, it’ll take 24-48 hours to receive it at ICICI. You may then need to provide supporting documentation to the bank to receive it in your business account.⁷

Axis bank

Axis bank lets you receive inward remittances or payments directly into your business account through either their online inward remittance option, SWIFT or wire transfer. These are however only offered to 14 currencies and you will need to provide necessary documents to verify the service or transaction.⁸

When it comes down to choosing a provider, it is important to look at the cost and speed it takes to receive the money. Often with some banks or providers, there are lower fees for transfers that take a few days, while there is a premium on next-day transfers. So it is important to find the balance between the two that works for you. And just to keep in mind, Wise offers international transfers with just one low fee and mid-market exchange rate on foreign exchange - which is same rate you see on Google.

Is money transferred from overseas to India taxable?

So you’ve chosen a provider which works for you, but that’s not the end of the story. How about tax ramifications on you and your business when you receive international transfers?

If you receive income as a freelancer, the amount received will be added to your total income for that year and taxed accordingly to your income slab. If you are a business receiving the funds, you are not taxed on the amount received but on the profits of the business as income tax.⁹

Lastly, if you are an individual and receiving the payment into your personal account and it is from a client, any amount above Rs. 50,000 is liable to taxes. This is different from receiving money from a relative where the amount is not taxable under the gift tax.¹⁰

Read more: Tax on international money transfers with India

Sources used for this article:

  1. PayPal
  2. Instamojo
  3. Payoneer
  4. Xoom
  5. SBI
  6. HDFC
  7. ICICI
  8. Axis
  9. Tax treatment of foreign income
  10. Individual gift tax

All sources checked as of 23 March, 2020

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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