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I am a US citizen who has taken a job in India. I will be there for at least a year, if not longer. I have savings accounts in the USA I want to continue to contribute to, as well as some financial obligations, such as a storage unit in the USA, that I'll need to continue paying for while in India.

I've looked at the currency in India, and it's declining at a steady rate, so even though some savings account interest rates are 7% APR, I would lose the gains with the inflation rate. Thus, any money intended for savings is something I want to move out of India as soon as possible.

To be clear, opening a savings account in India is something I would look at only for short term savings, where I intend to use the money within one year, not long term savings, like real estate investing, go to hell funds, or retirement savings.

Most of the stuff I've seen on the Internet is geared for sending money from USA to India, but I need to go the other way. My pay would be in Indian rupees, so I don't need to transfer money to India, I need to transfer money from India not to India.

I have looked at Citibank and HSBC, which both offer global transfer between Citibank/HSBC accounts opened in both countries, but it involves tying up thousands of dollars in accounts in both countries in order to avoid paying monthly maintenance fees on each account.

If anyone is an expat in India or has experience with transferring money out of India to the USA, what is a good procedure to follow to not lose on exchange rates and fees?

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    Normal indian bank account + Transferwise? – la femme cosmique Jan 30 '16 at 12:23
  • But for the record, I have no idea how 'safe' transferwise is for big transfers. Doing it via a bank is probably the more 'legitimate' route, but you'll likely pay higher fees. – la femme cosmique Jan 30 '16 at 12:25
  • @lafemmecosmique the bank account my employer will open for me is ICICI, which states in their documentation that it's not possible to transfer out to an overseas account in your own name, which is what I want to do. As for Transferwise, they don't yet support transferring INR to USD. – jmort253 Jan 30 '16 at 19:44
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    Damn that's too bad, sorry for my uninformed comment then. I hope somebody else is able to help you. There are things like western union and paypal, but both have high fees and I'm not sure how 'legal' both are concerning large transfers. I have a PP account tied to a bank account in France and another to a US account and I use that to xfer money to myself, but always tiny amounts. There has to be a better idea. Good luck! – la femme cosmique Jan 30 '16 at 22:41
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    I am not sure about the exact name of the type of the account Axis Bank and/or Punjab Bank provides but they provide services to do so. There is one for sending money FROM USA to India which is clearly not what you want. But there is one more where you can deposit money in your Indian account and then retrieve the money in the currency you want (Current exchange rate will apply). This is mostly used by students since parents are usually sending money from India to USA and other countries. I suggest you look into this. – Dipen Shah Feb 1 '16 at 20:33
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I do notice you are asking for people's personal experience sending from India. I cannot claim personal experience but I think there is a good chance this will work, having done this successfully from other countries.

Open a PayPal account in the USA, and link that account to your bank account. The process takes about a week. Meanwhile, do the same thing in India, registering a different email address for the Indian account. Then, you can send PayPal transactions from one persona to the other as needed. To withdraw the money from PayPal into either bank account takes a few days; but you can spend the money instantly if you are shopping from a vendor who accepts PayPal.

Now I'm going to answer a question that you didn't ask: My advice is not to go chasing after the currency rates. The INR can come back UP against the dollar just as fast as it can go down. Currency speculation is considered one of the highest risk categories for investors, which should mean to you and me: Do not try to predict the foreign exchange market (i.e. assume it will keep going down and make plans based on that). Instead, think about your needs for Rupees in India, and your need for USD in the USA, and try to plan for never having to double back and swap any money more than once. Whenever you would swap from A->B->A, you stand to either gain or lose a lot of value by the changing rates, and you will always pay the fees twice.

  • Well, I assume that one day I'll be back in the USA. I'm a US citizen, and most countries won't let us stay in them forever, so at some point I'll need all that money back in USD. This isn't currency speculation as much as it is planning for the future, and in the future I'll need my money in USD, unless I want to further speculate and assume the dollar will die. :) – jmort253 Feb 1 '16 at 12:56
  • Thanks for taking the time to answer. About the Paypal trick, aren't there fees involved in doing that? – jmort253 Feb 1 '16 at 12:56
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    Yes, any international transfer has a cost. To keep costs low, make sure not to make the mistake of "upgrading" the US account to a "business" account. That brings higher fees to receive funds to the business account. – Douglas Held Feb 2 '16 at 16:14
  • I wanted to answer with this, but I'm assuming that OP is going to be transferring large amounts (so investments/savings type transfers) which will need to be declared for his taxes. Can a person do that via PP? I'm not saying you can't, I'm only asking. :) But can confirm, it's very easy to tie two PP accounts to two bank accounts and transfer money that way. There is a fee, but there are fees for normal bank xfers as well. – la femme cosmique Feb 4 '16 at 20:07
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    @jmort253 I cannot, it sounds like you're more informed than I am on this. I don't see any problems with what you've said. I had the idea originally that all large transfers into the US had to be declared, but if it comes from your income which you've already declared it shouldn't be a problem. – la femme cosmique Feb 6 '16 at 11:28

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