An Indian Civilizational Perspective

My experience with Citibank Money Transfer to India

I had to send some money to India on a regular basis. So I looked around for options available to me in Houston, TX USA. The normal ones are HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Citibank. Now, HDFC and ICICI are Indian banks .. with good services in India but they dont even have reps in the various US cities. WIth the kind of money that is at stake, I would assume that they could at least keep one each in the 5-6 largest US cities. But like most Indian companies they would like to cut cost at the price of growth! Anyways, I went with Citibank. Here is what I did:

  • Opened a Citibank Checking Account in the US Bank
  • Opened NRE and NRO Accounts in the Indian Citibank.

What this does is it allows me to deposit the money in my US Bank and then transfer it over to the NRE and NRO accounts.

This week though I had to send money pretty quickly so when I went to deposit the money in the US bank branch I got to know that since my Credit Union was out of town, it will take a week before I could use all my monies. So obviously the usual route that I could use was out! So I thought of other ways. I found that there is a dial-a-transfer service from Citibank where I can send money from my US Bank to one of the NRE or NRO account in Citibank just through the phone. So I call that number. After some funny options I get to this service rep and request her help.

She suggests that I deposit the money in the NRE Account.

Why? – I ask

“Because then you can easily transfer the money to NRO account if you want”

Well, Maam I dont want to do that. I just want my mandatee in India to withdraw the money… so let me just send it to NRO account directly so it could be withdrawn.

“But then you cannot send money from NRO account to NRE Account”

I dont want to!

“Sir, I would really suggest that you send it to NRE account because it gives you flexibility”

Maam I dont want flexibility! My PRIMARY OVER-RIDING GOAL today is to send this money AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! (my frustration thinly veiled)

“But for the future you could use that service if you send to NRE account”

To heck with the future.. Maam I WANT TO SEND TODAY!

“Ok, but it will take 5 business days for your mandatee to get the money. “

Irrespective of which account I use?

“Yes”.

Ok.. any faster way?

“Send the check to NY branch and the mandatee can withdraw in 2 business days after the check reaches the branch”

Thats almost a week!!

So finally I came to that same time frame! And this is one of the faster ways to do it. Of course I could use other money transfer ways like ICICI transfer and XOOM.. but both give very low rates. XOOM for example was giving me some INR 66,000-odd for USD 1500 while at todays rate of 45.60 it should have been INR 68,400! So they are conveniently taking away at least Rs. 2000 off me just by tampering with the conversion rate! Western Union thrives by that.. in fact WU is almost akin to a highway robber for the transfers done to Mexico for those poor workers who depend on it every month. They are illegal anyways so they hardly have any voice and plus they give cash!

Some feedback on the Citibank services site:
1. their CitiNRI site page is one of the most retarded online experience I have ever had. There is this strange red colored scroll these days that covers all the links and options that you cannot get rid of!
2. The login mechanism is just impossible! I run this site singlehandedly and I am net-savvy.. but till date I have not figured out how to log in to that place .. yet!!

So, you see all this money transfer business is not such a simple and easy service… specially when you deal with service reps who want to think about your future instead of your needs!!


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18 Comments
  1. Anonymous says

    Am curious to know how it turned out? Did you find a better way? I am currently in the same situation and opted to use Remit2India to send money, but alas 2 weeks now (still the money has not been sent) they have contacted me last night and said they will not be able to complete the transaction from their side and I should contact my bank if I want my money back. Can this happen??? OMG…and now I am still trying to send money to India. Altho, at this point I am opting for a wire transfer directly from my bank, but surely there has to be a better way. Any info you can share would be greatly appreciated! Thanks and best of luck 🙂

  2. Anonymous says

    Am curious to know how it turned out? Did you find a better way? I am currently in the same situation and opted to use Remit2India to send money, but alas 2 weeks now (still the money has not been sent) they have contacted me last night and said they will not be able to complete the transaction from their side and I should contact my bank if I want my money back. Can this happen??? OMG…and now I am still trying to send money to India. Altho, at this point I am opting for a wire transfer directly from my bank, but surely there has to be a better way. Any info you can share would be greatly appreciated! Thanks and best of luck 🙂

  3. Desh says

    Ease wise and User experience – I have now found Citibank to be the BEST!

    I later found out that I could send the money from my Citibank US account to my CitiNRI India NRE/NRO account from a Citibank ATM (which is linked to a citi branch/ not the ones in 7-11 etc)… in a few clicks.. and the transfer is INSTANT!

    I can however get a better rate if I use the web transfer.. which takes 3-4 days but gives a MUCH better rate.

    So, I would ONLY use Citibank.. because one, the Citi reps are in almost every city of US.. and second the transaction is painless.

  4. Desh says

    Ease wise and User experience – I have now found Citibank to be the BEST!

    I later found out that I could send the money from my Citibank US account to my CitiNRI India NRE/NRO account from a Citibank ATM (which is linked to a citi branch/ not the ones in 7-11 etc)… in a few clicks.. and the transfer is INSTANT!

    I can however get a better rate if I use the web transfer.. which takes 3-4 days but gives a MUCH better rate.

    So, I would ONLY use Citibank.. because one, the Citi reps are in almost every city of US.. and second the transaction is painless.

  5. Gaurav says

    Free and easy money transfer service in all the world with pay society http://www.paysociety.com

  6. Anonymous says

    thanx gaurav

  7. Gaurav says

    Free and easy money transfer service in all the world with pay society http://www.paysociety.com

  8. Anonymous says

    thanx gaurav

  9. Sesetty says

    I have tried using paypal and it works

    Normally in paypal they mention it would take 5 – 7 workings but it takes only 3 workings days to transfer and sometimes in 1 day

  10. Sesetty says

    I have tried using paypal and it works

    Normally in paypal they mention it would take 5 – 7 workings but it takes only 3 workings days to transfer and sometimes in 1 day

  11. Online Stock Brokers says

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  12. air conditioning says

    I was just talking to a friend of mine about this, whilst carrying out an air conditioning maintenance and we both agreed this was a good site for insperation. Thank you for the information.

  13. sallen says

    You are not the only one complaining about Citibank and I am only referring to online users. Apparently it’s not a customer friendly bank, thanks for the warning. It shouldn’t be that difficult to sent money to India, not today that we have all the banking technology. Does paypal work in India?
    Sallen, easy saver complaints

  14. sallen says

    You are not the only one complaining about Citibank and I am only referring to online users. Apparently it’s not a customer friendly bank, thanks for the warning. It shouldn’t be that difficult to sent money to India, not today that we have all the banking technology. Does paypal work in India?
    Sallen, easy saver complaints

  15. Anonymous says

    I have heard that Remit2India is good way to transfer money to India, I haven’t used the service but my friend who send money very often to India, seems happy with it.

    http://www.timesofmoney.com/re

  16. Anonymous says

    I have heard that Remit2India is good way to transfer money to India, I haven’t used the service but my friend who send money very often to India, seems happy with it.

    http://www.timesofmoney.com/remittance/jsp/home.jsp

  17. suryaacca says

    Hi Guys,

    In the above article I am not able to find any flaw on part of citi bank customer care – Rep. Their advice is correct. To insist one or two times (frankly citi bank don’t have any benifit in that) for your benefit is good thing. who will provide that valuable suggestion free of cost! I feel CITI Bank is good.

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