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I live in India, and I'd like to transfer money to a friend in the U.S., to settle a debt. Which of the following options work well:

  1. Give a rupee-denominated cheque. This would be denominated in rupees, since my bank account is in India. Can I just give them a cheque, have them deposit it in their U.S. bank account, and rely on the banks to do the conversion? Or is there some bureaucracy either of us needs to go through with our respective banks?

  2. Give a dollar-denominated cheque. Does a cheque have to be in the currency of the issuer's bank account, or can I give a cheque in any common currency (dollar, euro, pound, etc.) I want to use by striking off the "Rupees" column in the cheque and writing "USD" there? I'm guessing not, but I wanted to check.

  3. Do a SWIFT transfer. I don't know if Citibank India supports this — I didn't find the option on the web site. If it's supported, do I have an option of a dollar- or a rupee-denominated transaction? Am I correct in understanding that this is the same as a wire transfer? Or are there different options here?

  4. Am I correct in understanding that online payment systems that work between Indian banks — IMPS, NEFT and RTGS — don't work between an Indian bank and a U.S. bank? Or can I do a NEFT transfer to a U.S. bank?

  5. Use my ATM card in the U.S. (I'm visiting soon) to withdraw dollars and hand them to my friend in person.

  6. Specialised money transfer services like Western Union.

What are the pros and cons of each of these options, and others I might not have considered, in terms of feasibility, cost/fees/surcharges, time it takes for the money to reach the recipient, and bureaucratic hassle, if any?

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Give a cheque.

You can. Your friend would have to deposit this in a Bank that does this service. Not all Banks offer this service in US. It generally would take 1-3 months for the funds to reach.

Give a dollar-denominated cheque

You can NOT write check on a Rupee account and put USD. You can definitely buy a USD Draft generally payable in the US. There would be some charge for you here and send it by courier, post. It would get paid into your friends account in about a week.

Do a SWIFT transfer

Yes you can. You may need to walk into a Branch and fill up forms. If the amount is more than specified limit a CA certificate is required.

Am I correct in understanding

Yes

Use my ATM card in the US

Yes you can.

Specialised money transfer services like Western Union

Transfer money out of India is not allowed by Money Transfer services

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