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I have a bank account in Germany in which I receive my salary in Euros. I want to deposit a part of it in my Indian bank account for personal savings. My Indian bank account is in INR. As I see it, I have two options:

  1. To use a remittance service that converts my Euros into INR and deposits in my account. I am not sure how it works. The service (which I know is reliable) I signed up for asks me to deposit Euros in a certain account ("funding") which will be converted to INR and deposited in my account. How does that work exactly?

  2. Use my bank's service to make a international bank transfer to my account. Is that even possible, given that my Indian account is in INR? Will I incur higher conversion fees and lower exchange rate?

In general, what are the pros and cons of each of the above methods? And are there any other methods?

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The Option 2 in your answer is how most of the money is moved cross border. It is called International Transfer, most of it carried out using the SWIFT network. This is expensive, at a minimum it costs in the range of USD 30 to USD 50. This becomes a expensive mechanism to transfer small sums of money that individuals are typically looking at.

  • Faster transfer of Money, typically 2 days.
  • Expensive

Over a period of years, the low value payments by individuals between certain pair of countries is quite high, example US-India, US-China, Middle-East-India, US-Mexico etc ... With the intention to reduce cost, Banks have built a different work-flow, this is the Option 1.
This essentially works on getting money from multiple individuals in EUR. The aggregated sum is converted into INR, then transferred to partner Bank in India via Single SWIFT. Alongside the partner bank is also sent a file of instructions having the credit account. The Partner Bank in India will use the local clearing network [these days NEFT] to credit the funds to the Indian account.

  • Typical 3-5 days turnaround. But this is coming down.
  • Less Expensive compared to SWIFT.
  • Slightly better Fx Rate compared to SWIFT for small payments.
  • Free Value added services in some cases [ie Open an Fixed Deposit by the transfer]

Option 3:
Other methods include you writing a check in EUR and sending it over to a friend/relative in India to deposit this into Indian Account. Typically very nominal costs. Typically one month of timelines.

Option 4:
Another method would be to visit an Indian Bank and ask them to issue a "Rupee Draft/Bankers Check" payable in India. The charges for this would be higher than Option 3, less than Option 1. Mail this to friend/relative in India to deposit this into Indian Account. Typically couple of days timelines for transfer to happen.

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If you are a citizen of India and working in Germany, then you are most likely an NRI (NonResident Indian). If so, you are not entitled to hold an ordinary Indian bank account, and all such existing accounts must be converted to NRO (NonResident Ordinary) accounts. If your Indian bank knows about NRO accounts, then

  • it will be eager to assist you in the process of converting your existing accounts to NRO accounts

  • most likely it also offers a money remittance scheme (names like Remit2India or Money2India) which will take Euros from your EU bank account and deposit INR into your NRO account. Or, you can create an NRE (NonResident External) account to receive remittances from outside India. The difference is that interest earned in an NRO account is taxable income to you in India (and subject to TDS, tax deduction at source) while interest earned in an NRE account is not taxable in India. The remittance process takes a while to set up, but once in place, most remittances take 5 to 6 business days to complete.

  • "NRI (NonResident Indian). If so, you are not entitled to hold an ordinary Indian bank account" What??? – RonJohn Oct 17 '17 at 16:16
  • @RonJohn Yes, it is true. Ordinary bank accounts in India are for residents of India only, and the Reserve Bank of India insists that banks must convert all accounts held by NRIs into NRO accounts as soon as the bank discovers this information. Needless to say, since tax evasion (not cricket) is the national sport of India, many NRIs continue to hold ordinary bank accounts in India simply by not informing the bank of their foreign address (and status as NRIs). This might be changing with the introduction of Personal Account Number (PAN) similar to Social Security Number which must be ... – Dilip Sarwate Oct 17 '17 at 17:13
  • --- associated with all financial accounts and more diligence on the part of banks with Know Your Customer (KYC) rules but very slowly. – Dilip Sarwate Oct 17 '17 at 17:15

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