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British payment firm Wise has expanded its footprint to India with the launch of foreign exchange service in the country.

The new service would enable Wise users in India to transfer money to 44 foreign countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, Singapore, UAE, and the UK.

According to Wise, users can now send INR from its Android or iOS app, or on the web, at the real exchange rate with ‘lower and transparent’ fees.

The data from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) indicates that the India’s outward remittances in the fiscal year 2019-2020 was about $18.75bn. More than 60% of it were categorised under travel and paying for studying abroad.

Wise said in a statement: “It’s expensive to send money from India internationally with banks, Western Unions, and other service providers. Because they give you a poor exchange rate with expensive transaction fees. Now, you can send money from India for up to 3.9x cheaper with Wise, compared to leading banks.”

Wise has tied up with RBL Bank to enable money transfer service via Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS), with approval from RBI.

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Wise CEO and co-founder Kristo Käärmann has been quoted by Mint as saying: “Bringing Wise to India is a big step forward in our mission to build money without borders 一 instant, convenient, transparent and, eventually free.”

Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, will donate all fees for transfers from INR, between now and 31 July, towards Covid-19 relief efforts for India.

Last month, the London-headquartered firm partnered with Google Pay to allow Google Pay users in the US to send money to users in India and Singapore.

The same month, Wise joined Temenos MarketPlace with the aim of bringing low-cost international remittances to banks worldwide.