How to Pay Independent Contractors in India

4 minute read

Outsourcing became a trend for international businesses; it is one of the most beneficial business decisions across the globe due to lowered cost and high returns. India remains one of the top providers of skilled and talented human resources. The country has over 1.3 billion population and around 3.1 million graduates each year making it a good place to hire independent contractors. Language is not a barrier since Indians are able to fluently speak English.

While you might get lower labor cost through offshore outsourcing, paying contractors can be quite expensive if you don’t choose the right payment solution.

Ways to pay contractors in India

Paying independent contractors abroad is considered a business transaction, thus you’d need to find a money transfer service that supports business transfers to India. Here are some of them:

1. Wise International Payment

One of the cheapest ways to send money to India. Wise supports transfers to 45+ currencies including Indian Rupees. You can take advantage of a fast transfer with a real exchange rate and low transfer cost.

Cost$13.01 (0.65% conversion fee)
Speed0 - 2 working days
  • If you’re paying multiple contractors, you can use a dedicated tool for running payroll - Wise Batch Payment. Instead of making several payments separately, you can send multiple payments in one go.
  • You can make business payments via the app.
  • The business can be integrated to accounting software called Xero to help ease tax reconciliation.


  • Real Exchange rate
  • Low transfer cost
  • Recipients don’t need a Wise account to receive payments
  • Accepts Payments through debit and credit card, ACH direct debit and Wire transfer
  • Bank-level security.


  • Business and personal accounts need to get verified first
  • No Cash Pick-ups
  • Recipient cannot track the status of the transfers

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2. Instarem

Instarem is also one of the cheapest ways to send money to Singapore especially for small amounts. They add a very small exchange rate mark-up⁴ on top of a 0.5%transaction fee.

Cost$10.28 (around 0.11% exchange rate mark-up + 0.5% transaction fee)²
Speed1 - 5 working days
  • Accessible on the app
  • Supports Mass Payment


  • Straight forward fee structure
  • Loyalty points that can be redeemed against transactions
  • Low exchange rate margin
  • Payments through ACH direct debit and wire transfer


  • Account verification process can be lengthy
  • No card payment available

3. OFX

Doesn’t charge transfer fees. They make money by adding a mark-up on their exchange rate which can vary according to the transfer amount and your transaction history with them. It’s usually higher for smaller amounts and vice versa.

Cost$8 - $50 (0.4 - 2.5% exchange rate mark-up)⁴
Speed1 - 5 working day
  • Accessible on the app.
  • Can be integrated to accounting software
  • Can set up recurring payments
  • Batch payments tool


  • No transfer fees
  • No transfer limit
  • Operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week


  • Exchange rate mark-up
  • Doesn’t offer same-day delivery
  • Minimum transfer is $2,000

4. PayPal

If transfer cost is your least priority, you might consider using PayPal to send money to India. A well-known brand offering a fast and reliable service. So a lot of freelancers and contractors are already using the service to receive payments from their clients.

Cost$95($20 transfer fee + $75 exchange rate mark-up⁵
Speed0 - 2 working days
  • Accessible on the app
  • Can send funds to recipients using their email address
  • Mass payment tool for multiple transfers


  • Fast and reliable
  • Secure


  • High transfer fees and exchange rate mark-up
  • Recipient needs to have a PayPal account to receive the transfer

5. Banks

Most banks in the U.S. offer international wire transfer services but they tend to be more expensive than online services that solely focus on money transfer. Most often, a wire transfer goes to your bank account to the recipient’s account, and it should be affiliated because it will be costly and may take longer days to process. Though, it is still a good option especially in larger sums of money.

Cost$20 - $50 transfer fees + 3 - 7% exchange rate mark-up)
Speed 1 - 5 working day
  • Can be integrated to accounting software
  • Can set up recurring payments


  • Safe
  • Reliable


  • High exchange rate mark-up
  • Expensive
  • Long processing time

The fees shown above are the estimated cost of a $2000 transfer to INR. Fees may vary according to the provider's exchange rate set for you.

Things to consider when making international transfer

Choosing the right partner for paying overseas contractors can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. It is best to do research first before making a transfer to get the best service experience in doing international transfer. Here are some things to consider in selecting your money transfer partner;

  • Cost – transfer fees, processing charges and exchange rates; cost is the most important factor to consider in making international transfer because every dollar counts, so choose a money transfer service that can provide the most reasonable cost.
  • Convenience – sending and receiving money with a little difficulty is what people also consider in international transfers, transferring money overseas is not quite as simple as you think but through time, financial institutions and online money intermediaries make it possible to send and receive money in the most convenient way.
  • Speed and Reliability – most bank transfer takes few days to process your transfer, but we all know they are reliable partners, so if you want to get both speed and reliability you must find money transfer partners that can give you both it’s a plus if it also charge you a little lower than the usual cost.
  • Security – we all know that banks offer the highest security features in money transfer, but of course it will come with a cost. It is best to consider bank transfer in large amounts but if you’re just sending less than $1000 you should try other options to lessen the hassle on the process.

Start saving today with Wise


  1. World Bank article
  2. Instarem website
  3. Instarem support center
  4. OFX FAQ
  5. PayPal price page

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 TransferWise 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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