What is Telegraphic Transfer?

  • Working overseas! Do you seek to send money back home to India in Indian currency for  your parents?
  • Studying overseas! Do you seek to receive funds  from your parents in  India,  to meet your tuition fee in foreign currency?
  • To address these needs, are you seeking a swift, safe, secure , cashless, cardless, economical  with minimum currency fluctuation channel to make payments, interbank and cross borders?
  • You are willing to part with a transaction fee, as long as the fund transfer is safe, secure, swift, simple,seamless and traceable.

Welcome to the concept of ' telegraphic transfer', a euphemism for interbank fund transfers that are now carried out electronically, through a variety of channels, netbanking, mobile banking through the  SWIFT platform.

Way back in the 1990s, the overseas payments were executed between the sender's and recipient bank over the cable wire or telegraph system through the exchange of coded messages.

It usually takes anywhere between one to four working days to fulfil the transaction and such payments can be initiated, anytime, anywhere in multiple currencies across multiple geographies.

In such overseas payments,  the amount is denominated in the currency of the beneficiary bank's country at the prevailing exchange rate.

The participating entities usually charge a fee to facilitate such a service.

Telegraphic payments are categorised as either:

  • Overseas or cross border  

In such a case, the payment  involves an overseas entity and a domestic entity and the payments can be either outward or inward bound, either funds are remitted from an Indian based entity to a foreign entity or money  is  transferred from the overseas entity to the Indian entity.

  • Domestic

In such a case, the payments between the payer/ remitter and the payee/beneficiary accounts are located in the same country.

Let us understand the nuances of  wire payment  process:

Let us say for example, you have an account with 'XYZ' ltd. located in worli branch, Mumbai. You seek to transfer the US dollar denominated equivalent of ₹10laks to your parent's account in California, USA.

Now the remitting entity ( XYZ Ltd) would wire the funds to the correspondent entity ( ABC) in California in dollar denominated currency of equivalent rupee amount.

If your parents, the beneficiaries  hold an account in a correspondent entity ( ABC Ltd), then the money will be directly credited to the beneficiary account.

However, if your parents, the  beneficiary, holds an account with some other entity in California, other than the correspondent entity, then funds will be transferred to the beneficiary's bank.

Depending upon the amount of money to be wired and destination, the participating entities levy a fee, which differs across financial institutions.

The bank usually sends an approximate cost to the remitter as soon as he/she mentions the amount to be transferred and the destination. Usually, the overseas wire transfer fee is more than the domestic fund transfer fee.

For example: ICiCI wire transfer charges:

  • through netbanking

The charges are  ₹750 for resident customers and ₹500 for NRI customers.

  • through branch or any other mode

The charges are ₹1,000 for resident customers and ₹500 for NRI customers.

For example: SBI levies a service tax for conversion of foreign currency to Indian currency, based on the amount.

Currency converted     Service Tax

Up to ₹ 1,00,000  ₹35/- or 0.14% of  the gross amount, whichever is higher >₹1,00,001  to ₹10,00,000   ₹140 +.07%  o  the amount exceeding  ₹1,00,000


and above   ₹770 plus 0.014%  of the amount  exceeding ₹10,00,000 or ₹ 7000, whichever  is  lower

You can use the telegraphic service by visiting your  branch and filling up the remittance form. Alternatively, you may also wire money through netbanking.

 You have to fill the remittance form with the following information:

  • Name of the remitter
  • Bank account details of remitter
  • Payment currency
  • Amount to be remitted
  • Name of the payee
  • Account number of payee
  • Name and address of beneficiary bank
  • Payee bank’s SWIFT(Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) code and BIC Code (Bank Identifier Code)
  • Details of intermediary entity
  • Reason or purpose of transfer

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q. What are the relevant details required to send money via the wire channel?

  • Your name, address and bank account number
  • The currency of payment amount
  • Name of the payee
  • Payee bank name and branch name with address.
  • Payee bank account number
  • SWIFT code of the beneficiary’s bank
  • Correspondent bank credentials 
  • Purpose of payment

Q. By when does the  payee account get credited through the wire mode?

Within 1-4 working days, the amount would get credited into the beneficiary's account.

Q. Do I need to mention the purpose when I'm sending money through the wire mode?

Yes, it is mandatory to mention the purpose of the wire transfer.

Q. What is a SWIFT code and where to locate it?

In simple terms, SWIFT code or Bank Identifier Code (BIC) is an 8-to-11-character code recognised by  the  International Organisation for Standardisation.

Through the SWIFT network, these coded instructions are sent to the overseas entity for incoming payments.

Each entity has a unique SWIFT code comprising the bank details, country code, city code and branch code.

You can locate your SWIFT code on the bank's web portal, or your  passbook, or through just  a search on the web.

Q. Is it possible to remit the money in a single day via the wire channel?

Yes, customers can seek to remit  money telegraphically, on the same day, provided this service is available on certain routes/ origin-destination and that you have submitted the remittance form before the cut-off-time, zone-wise.

Q. What is the role of a correspondent entity?

As a part of the wire transfer ecosystem, correspondent entities or Intermediary entities facilitate interbank overseas money transfer between the payee and beneficiary entities (i.e. between the origin and final destination), with the correspondent entity functioning like a pit stop.

Q. Is there any  limit to the amount of money that can be remitted?

While there is no particular threshold ceiling amount, the wire transfer amount is subject to limits prescribed by FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act).

Q. What is the transaction number and what is its purpose?

Once the payment via the wire channel is initiated, the remitting entity gives a transaction reference number to the remitter. This number is particularly useful to trace the status of your transaction within the ecosystem and also as a reference number to resolve any issues which may arise during the process.

Never miss a trading opportunity with Margin Trading Facility

Enjoy 2X leverage on over 900+ stocks

Download IconDownload the Upstox App Today