India Post International Money Transfer: All you need to know

Aman Saxena

India Post has played a pivotal role for millions of Indians across the country, whether it is sending mail, getting your pension, providing limited banking services, or even life insurance schemes. But another area that India Post can help in now is also International Money Transfers. Read on to learn more about how your local designated post office branch can help you receive money from abroad.

But if you are looking for a way to not only receive money but send money from India, look no further than Wise. Whether it is for further studies, a holiday or a celebration, Wise’s free account lets you send money in 60+ currencies to local bank accounts. All from the comfort of your own phone or computer.

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Receive international funds with India Post

India Post allows recipients in India to receive funds from abroad through it’s International Money Transfer Services. It will require you to go to the post office branch and you may need an India Post account to get transfers more than Rs. 50,000. And there are some restrictions on how much you can receive and why. Let’s dive in.

India Post has tied up with Western Union to enable post offices to facilitate remittances into India. But the remittances you receive through India Post can only be for supporting your family, or ‘family maintenance’ as it is called, or for foreign tourists visiting India. Other reasons for remittances are not allowed. With this tie-up with Western Union, around 7212 designated India Post offices across India can receive money from 195 countries, and the overall process to get the funds can be relatively fast.¹

How to receive money with India Post

Your sender abroad will have to first go to a nearby Western Union branch and begin the process to send money to India. Once it is processed, your sender will receive a Unique Money Transfer Control Number, or UMTCN, which is a reference number for your specific transfer.

As a recipient, your sender should give you the UMTCN, and then you can head to a designated India Post branch that does Western Union transfers. At the post office, you will have to complete the required form and show valid identification to verify the transaction. IDs that can be used are an Election Card, Driving License, PAN Card, Ration Card, or Aadhaar Card. And a copy of the chosen ID will need to be submitted to the post office. For any of the IDs that don’t show residence, proof of residence will also be required. Once you are verified you will receive the money in Indian rupees.

But there are some limits to how much you can receive. You can only receive a maximum of $2,500 USD as a rupee currency equivalent at one time. And again, it must be for personal use and not for any commercial reasons. Next, you can receive up to ₹50,000 in cash from the India Post branch. Anything above this amount will be paid by cheque or credited to your Post Office savings account. These restrictions are primarily for Indian residents, so if you are a tourist from abroad you are able to get a higher amount in cash.

A single recipient can also only receive up to 30 transactions in a calendar year, so if you are looking for consistent deposits or transfers this may not be the best option for you.²

If your sender is based in the US, there is also an option to receive money through a partnership between India Post and MoneyGram. But it is only available for pickup through few selected post offices.³

Charges and fees to receive money with India Post

There are no fees for recipients of a money transfer by India Post, Western Union or Money gram. All fees and costs are borne by the sender.

How much time does it take to receive money with India Post

This will depend on where the money is coming from. With popular routes, Western Union can take 1 business day, but from other routes it can take longer. Keep in touch with your sender and stay informed on when the money will be ready.

The India Post website says that the entire process of verification at the post office branch should not take more than 10 minutes.

To note, India Post does also provide extensive services to send and receive remittances domestically.

Send money abroad with India Post

Unfortunately, India Post does not have services to send money abroad from its branches. The India Post and Western Union or MoneyGram partnerships are only for receiving money into India.

Want to send money internationally directly to your local bank account? Give Wise a try. It is easy to use with an award-winning app and convenient website to let you do transfers from your phone or computer. It is fast and cheap too. Join the 7 million customers that use Wise globally for their money transfers.

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The true cost of international transfers with India Post

When we look at the cost of India Post for an international transfer, we actually have to look at the cost of Western Union for global transfers. India Post itself does not charge you to receive funds or take a cut of any transaction. They only facilitate delivery.

But if we take a look at Western Union’s costs to transfer money to you in India, there are two main fees your sender will bear. The first is a transfer charge. That is the cost of Western Union providing the service. This fee is dependent on how your sender is making the payment for the transfer. So for instance, if your sender is sending $1000 USD to you in India, the fee can range from $5-$34.⁴

On top of this transfer charge, Western Union sneaks in an additional fee into the exchange rate your sender gets. The exchange rate for transfers is set by Western Union and is pegged to be weaker than the mid-market exchange rate. The mid-market exchange rate is the rate that the banks use themselves, and the same one you see on Google. It doesn’t have a mark-up and is the fairest and most transparent exchange rate. By setting their exchange rate weaker, Western Union is able to take a cut of every dollar or currency exchanged. That means more money out of your sender’s pocket.

So between the transfer fee and the exchange rate, the amount you are receiving through India Post is probably more expensive than you realize. That is where Wise comes in. With one low fee and the true mid-market exchange rate, you can get transfers directly to your Indian bank account easily, cheap, and quickly.

A cheap, fast and transparent alternative: Wise

India Post has been a steadfast service provider for many Indians. But if you want a modern way to send and receive money in India, look no further than Wise. You can send money globally to over 140 countries, whether to family, friends, or colleagues. And for those who are sending you money, you will receive it directly to your local Indian bank account. You won’t have to fill out forms or even leave your house with Wise.

Plus with Wise you are not restricted from how many transactions you can receive to your account. And the best part is that anyone that uses Wise will always just get one low fee and the real mid-market exchange rate with every transfer. So not only can transfers be cheaper, but they are more clear and upfront.

So sign up for a free Wise account today and see how much you can save on every global money transfer.

Sources used for this article:
  1. Receiving funds from India Post
  2. International Money Transfer Process
  3. MoneyGram
  4. Transfer Fees from Western Union

All sources checked as of 10 June, 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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