SWIFT/ IBAN/ Wire transfers India: Your full guide

Aman Saxena
📝 Table of contents

What is SWIFT money transfer?

SWIFT is an integrated communication system between member banks to send money worldwide. Many banks are part of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication or SWIFT for short, and so it comes up for sending money overseas. You’ll be asked for a SWIFT code and a bank account number for international transfers from India.

The SWIFT system gives every bank a unique code from which to be identified. So when you are sending a transfer to an account abroad, the bank it is going to is identified by the SWIFT code first, then the account number. SWIFT has a membership of over 10,800 financial institutions, corporates, exchange payments, and trade finance.

Most global wire transfers are done through the SWIFT system. Let’s take a look at how you can transfer money with an Indian bank and a SWIFT code.¹

How to transfer money using IBAN/ SWIFT code?

When you are looking to send money overseas, you will need a few key pieces of information. Here are the main details required:

  • Your beneficiary name and details
  • Beneficiary’s bank SWIFT code
  • Beneficiary’s account number
  • Amount you want to send

If we break down the details, the first is to know and match the personal details of the beneficiary. The SWIFT code then helps the transaction identify the exact bank the funds are to go to, and the account number helps to identify the account within that particular bank. And the name associated with the account number must match your beneficiary name and details.

SWIFT Transfer with HDFC RemitNow

Let’s take a look at an example of sending money overseas with HDFC’s outward remittance system RemitNow. With RemitNow, you can send outward remittances from India abroad if you are an HDFC account holder.

First, per the Reserve Bank of India a transfer abroad has to meet one of the following 13 reasons for sending money overseas:

  • Business Travel
  • Personal Travel
  • Education
  • Medical Treatment
  • Travel for pilgrimage
  • Employment Abroad
  • Immigration Abroad
  • Fees for examination like GRE / GMAT / TOEFL
  • Maintenance of Close Relatives (Relatives as defined under Companies Act, 2013)
  • Remittance to Own Account Abroad
  • Indian Portfolio Investment Abroad - in Equities
  • Indian Portfolio Investment Abroad - in Debt Instruments
  • Remittance towards Personal Gift

The minimum you can send with a transaction with RemitNow is the equivalent of $100 USD and the maximum is the equivalent of $25,000 USD.

Once you have met all the requirements, it is time to get your beneficiary details in order, including their bank’s SWIFT code. Be sure to ask your beneficiary for any information you don’t have, as it can hold up the transfer.

Next, follow these steps to add your beneficiary to the system:

  1. Log into your HDFC online banking through the app or website
  2. Click on the Funds Transfer tab
  3. Click on Request
  4. Select ‘Add Beneficiary’
  5. Fill in your beneficiary personal and account details, including the SWIFT code
  6. Click on Confirm
  7. Enter the OTP sent to your phone for verification

HDFC takes 30 minutes to register a beneficiary in their system once you have verified your OTP. So after the 30 minutes are up, you can start with the next part of your transfer:

  1. Log back into your HDFC online banking
  2. Click on the Funds Transfer tab
  3. Click on Foreign Outward Remittance
  4. Complete the remaining details
  5. Click on Confirm

To make sure your transfer goes smoothly, ensure that your PAN is up to date with your account.²

🔍 Find or check your SWIFT codes with Wise

SWIFT money transfer charges and fees

The SWIFT fees depend on the bank that you are using. This can also be called a transaction fee, or a wire transfer fee, but this is the fee for using the SWIFT system.

The banks set their own fee for outward transfers so it can differ per bank and destination. Here are the SWIFT transfer fees for popular Indian banks when you are sending funds to the US:³⁴⁵⁶⁷

BankSWIFT transfer fee
HDFC Bank₹500
ICICI Bank₹750
Axis Bank₹500
Kotak Bank₹500

Fees are listed for online banking transfers. Fees may be subject to change or higher if done at the bank branch or for large amounts

Another hidden fee can also pop up when you are sending funds from your bank account abroad. And that is the hidden exchange rate fee.

When you Google an exchange rate or look on Reuters, you’ll find the mid-market exchange rate. That rate does not have a mark-up and is the same one banks use internally.

But if you compare it to the exchange rate you are getting from your bank, you might see a difference. This is because banks often weaken the exchange rate they give to you so that they can take a cut of every rupee you convert. So you may be surprised by how much your transfer is actually costing you.

Send money from India with Wise

Wise Web/Android/ iOS app always gives you the mid-market exchange rate with no mark-ups. It is the real exchange rate on every transfer, so you aren’t losing money to hidden fees. And with just one low transfer fee, you can send money the cheap, fast and easy way with a Wise account.

How much time does it take to transfer through SWIFT?

A SWIFT transfer can take 2-5 business days in most cases. The length of time can depend on where the funds are coming from and going. And if there are any mistakes with the transfer details, your transfer can get cancelled.

Manage money internationally with Wise

SWIFT money transfers can charge you for a transaction fee and a hidden exchange rate fee, on top of taking time to arrive. Instead, use Wise to send money from India or around the world to local bank accounts overseas.

Wise is fast and simple to use right from your phone. With just one low transfer fee and the real exchange rate, you can start saving money when sending transfers abroad. And on popular routes, the money can arrive within an hour in a local bank account.

And if you are already abroad and living in the US, UK, Europe, Canada, and other participating countries, you can sign up for a Wise multi-currency account.

It is a single account with a debit card that holds over 65 currencies. So whether you are holidaying in Europe or going to India, you can swipe like a local with the Wise multi-currency debit card.

Sources used for this article:

  1. SWIFT
  2. HDFC
  3. HDFC fee
  4. ICICI fee
  5. SBI fee
  6. Axis bank fee
  7. Kotak bank fee

All sources checked as of 22 February, 2022

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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