How to Pay Independent Contractors in India

Panna Kemenes

Outsourcing became a trend for international businesses due to lowered cost and high returns. India remains one of the top providers of skilled and talented human resources.

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.

How to pay independent contractors in India: 5 ways to pay

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 Business - an easy, low-cost way to pay contractors in India.

Wise Business supports transfers to 50+ currencies including Indian Rupees. You can take advantage of fast transfers with the real exchange rate and low transfer cost.

FeesConversion fee from 0.41%
Speed0 - 2 working days
  • If you’re paying multiple contractors, you can use Wise Batch Payments. Instead of making several payments separately, you can send multiple payments in one go.
  • You can make business payments via the app.
  • Wise Business can be integrated to QuickBooks accounting software to help ease 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
The true cost of sending USD to GBP

2. Instarem

Instarem is also a cheap way to send money to contractors in India especially for small amounts. They add a small exchange rate mark-up on top of a 0.5% transaction fee.⁴

  • USD0 - USD499.99: USD2.99 fee, USD322.95 Total FX Margin
  • USD500 - USD999.99: USD0 fee, USD649.79 Total FX Margin
  • USD1,000 - USD100,000+: USD0 fee, USD41130 Total FX Margin
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

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.

FeesA small margin on your transfer above the current Market (Interbank) Rate²
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. PayPal is a well-known brand offering a fast and reliable service. A lot of freelancers and contractors are already using the service to receive payments from their clients.

FeesConverting payments in another currency: 4.00%, or such other amount as may be disclosed to you during the transaction
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
Pay vendors and bills for up to 19x cheaper than PayPal
Join Wise Business today

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.

FeesAverage international wire transfer fee: $45
Speed1 - 5 working days
  • Can often be integrated to accounting software
  • Can set up recurring payments


  • Safe
  • Reliable


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

Things to consider when paying independent contractors in India

Choosing the right partner for paying contractors in India can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. It’s best to do research first before making an international transfer to get the best price and service.

Here are some things to consider in selecting your money transfer partner:

  • Cost – transfer fees, processing charges and exchange rates; cost is an 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 minimal difficulty is what people also consider in international transfers. Transferring money overseas can be complicated with the wrong provider. It’s worth finding financial institutions and online money intermediaries that make it possible to send and receive money in the most convenient way.

  • Speed and Reliability – most bank transfers take a few days to process your transfer. If you want to get both speed and reliability you must find money transfer partners that can give you both.

  • Security – banks offer high security features in money transfer, but of course it will come with a cost. Bank transfers can be secure for large amounts, but other options that offer bank-level security can lessen the hassle of the process.

Pay independent contractors
with Wise Business


  1. Instarem website
  2. OFX
  3. PayPal price page

All sources checked December 7, 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.

Money for here, there and everywhere

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location