Tag Archives: us

Axe your long distance call rates with jax

Jaxtr, the company that links your phone to the Web, now offers local phone numbers in India. Jaxtr is the first and only company to offer its members the ability to bypass expensive international toll charges by calling a local Indian number to reach friends and family abroad-cheaply and easily-from any ordinary mobile or landline phone. (Press Release)

With the local numbers, India jaxtr members can call for as little as 0.43 Indian rupees (43 paisa or 0.01 USD) per minute.

For Indians in US, the reversal of calling patterns can result in tremendous savings.

eg.

I use StanaCard or Reliance Calling Card to call home. Both of these cost almost 6 cents per minute. (Apart from this, I also use my operator’s tariff minutes).

If I consume about 320-360 mins/month calling India. 70% of thse minutes are calls to my immediate family. Rest of the minutes are divided between friends and relatives.

I’m trying to analyse the cost savings if I purchase jaxtr India number(s) where my family can call me. Calling US from India is much cheaper (on Jaxtr) that calling India from US, this should result in considerable savings.

The following table should explain the scenario in detail.

  Minutes Jaxtr Others Jaxtr Others
Phone#1 120 1.2 7.2
Phone#2 90 0.9 5.4
Phone#3 30 1.8 1.8
Others# 60 3.6 3.6
    2.1 5.4   18
Total 300 $7.5   $18  

Wow! this cuts down my long distance charges by more than half! The only downside being, for each of my phone in India (from where calls are made), I need jax minutes since sharing of minutes across multiple phone numbers may not be allowed by Jaxtr.

online remittance

For those of you who want to transfer funds from US/UK to India, the following information might be useful:

My preliminary research suggests that HDFC QuickRemit offers best rates for remittance from US to India.

The exchange rates are as of 16 Jun, 2008.

HDFC QuickRemit

http://www.timesofmoney.com/remittance/jsp/remitExchangeRate.jsp?partnerId=HDFC&uiId=HDFC

USD INR GBP INR Euroland Euro INR
11 – 1000 42.50 50 – 700 82.69 50 – 1000 65.72
1001 – 3500 42.59 701 – 3500 82.79 1001 – 3500 65.83
3501 – 5000 42.64 3501 – 5000 82.84 3501 – 5000 65.89

MSN India

http://www.timesofmoney.com/remittance/jsp/remitExchangeRate.jsp?uiId=MSN 

USD INR GBP INR Euroland Euro INR
50 – 1000 42.34 50 – 700 82.69 50 – 1000 65.38
1001 – 5000 42.46 701 – 3500 82.84 1001 – 5000 65.5
5001 – 10000 42.55 3501 – 5000 82.91 5001 – 7500 65.58
10001 – 25000 42.55 5001 – 10000 82.91 7501 – 200000 65.73
25001 – 200000 42.64 10001 – 200000 83.13    
    10001 – 400001 83.13    

Remit2India

http://www.timesofmoney.com/remittance/jsp/r2i_exchangeRate_india_US.jsp?tab=US&sendercountry=US&sendercurrency=USD&uiId=TOML&partnerId=TOML

USD INR GBP INR Euroland Euro INR
50 – 1000 42.34 50 – 700 82.69 50 – 1000 65.38
1001 – 5000 42.46 701 – 3500 82.84 1001 – 5000 65.5
5001 – 10000 42.55 3501 – 5000 82.91 5001 – 7500 65.58
10001 – 25000 42.55 5001 – 10000 82.91 7501 & Above 65.73
25001 & Above 42.64 10001 & Above 83.13    

 SBI

https://www.onlinesbi.com/glsus/exchangerateusheader.htm

https://www.onlinesbi.com/glsuk/exchangerateusheader.htm

Currency INR GBP INR
50 – 1000 42.47 £50 – £900 Rs.82.91 
1001 – 2000 42.52 £901 – £2000 Rs.83.01 
2001 – 4000 42.57 £2001 – £3500 Rs.83.06 
4001 – 5000 42.62 £3501 – £5000 Rs.83.16 
5001 – 10000      42.62*  £5001 – £10000 Rs.83.16 * 

Update

On July 01, 2008, I found that
ICICI provides an exchange rate of Rs.42.79339/USD  as against Rs.42.55 of HDFC Quick Remit, for $1000. However ICICI imposes additional $2 service charges. However for $2000, ICICI doesn’t impose the service charges.

Following table should clarify the picture.

Service USD Forex Rate Service Charge INR Remittance Fees INR INR
hdfc 1000 42.55 0.00 25.00 42,525.00
icici 1000 42.79 85.59 25.00 42,682.80
           
hdfc 2000 42.64 0.00 25.00 85,255.00
icici 2000 42.88865 0.00 25.00 85,752.30

 Sources:

http://www.icicibank.com/pfsuser/icicibank/ibank-nri/nrinewversion/m2i.htm and http://www.timesofmoney.com/remittance/jsp/hdfc_remithome.jsp#null

 

 

 

Pavan’s Guide to nuby desis in US

Dear friend,

Welcome to the US of A. Now that you are going to be here for long, please take time to read this post and  save yourself (and others) some time/energy.

If you are a contractor, I presume that you are on East Coast and most likely in NJ area…..

First thing you would need here is a cellphone and a calling card to call up home (India?).
There are a couple of T-Mobile stores around NJ and NY which help people with no credit to get a postpaid (contract) cellphone.
One such T-Mobile store is Hi-Touch Wireless, Stelton Road, Piscataway, NJ

For cell phones…
a) Sending SMS – Sending and receiving SMS costs money
b) calling up people randomly just because you are bored – Incoming calls are NOT FREE in peak hours

There are lots of options for calling home – Reliance, Airtel, StanaCard etc. Just a Google search will show you many more options. And then there is a whole world of VoIP as well.

Second thing you would need is a bank account – more specifically a Checking Account.

Depending on where you are on East Coast, you may chose your bank. I found Bank of America to be very convenient. Many banks have “Refer a friend” offers, use them to make some free money by the way of referral bonus.

Next thing is getting a Social Security Number (If you studied or worked – F1/H1/L1 in the US in the past, you already have one). Best time to apply for a SSN would be two weeks after your arrival in the US.

Once you get SSN, you can apply for a “Secured Credit Card” which would help you build Credit History.
*** You need to UNLEARN the habit of applying for too many credit cards, late payments and maxing out the Credit Line/Limit ***

Get a driving license too. Except for a few metros (mostly on the East Coast), US public transport sucks. Driving around is the best mode of transport in US. Otherwise you’ll be at the mercy of some one else to transport you around.

The above mentioned tasks would get completed in the first 5-6 weeks of your arrival in US.

In case you are looking out for a job or meeting people for business, consider buying decent clothes in case you don’t have them already.

You need to have a formal suit and a matching tie, leather shoes for attending interviews in person.
Check the weather, address/map, train/airline schedule before you travel. (and need I say carry an umbrella, coat etc.?)

Google/Yahoo is very useful in searching for information on deals on hotels, air tickets blogs etc. Its an essential skill.
Have your contact numbers, address handy (local contact, employer, office telephone/fax numbers etc)

  • Learn to use voice mail effectively
  • Get into habit of checking weather
  • Internet is beyond email, chat, cricket score, movies, mp3s and duh! porn!! So use it effectively
  • You are on your own, so learn to be ***independent ***

So next time, before you bug some one for general information, probably someone like me (who is tired of babysitting fellas) has taken the pains to document it on the internet. PLEASE read it.

Before you start to US ….
There will be an Indian grocery store within your vicinity, which stock ready-to-eat packs, maggi noodles, spices – MDH, MTR; pickles, so avoid carrying this stuff from India. Use your baggage limit for better purposes – viz. home made masala, pickles, chutney powders, sweets you are fond of, mom’s specialties etc.

Carry ready-to-eat stuff for a week or so, just to help you survive in a new place if it doesn’t have a kitchen.

Carry a few $1 bills and a few quarters (25c), they are very handy on the airports.

If you have a cell phone which can work in US, bring it here and you can save $130 with T-Mobile.