with 5 Ways to Save More (money, time and stress)
It is true - OFX can save you a bundle of money (compared to your bank) on your international transfers.
Over the past several years while we have happy recommended and used OFX ourselves, a bunch of new competitors have entered the business.
In some situations, there may be advantages to using these competitors.
Rather than just tell you how good OFX is (and it is) we want to tell you when you should consider other options (and who they are).
We do this through a deep knowledge on OFX and their competitors and also analyse 100s of other peoples (including negative) reviews so that you get the goods.
5 Do Not Miss Tips
At the end of each section we also want to point out one piece of vital information that will save you either time, money or stress.
- Great customer support
- Bank beating exchange rates
- Robust online platform, human support is also available as needed
- Good network of offices and banks world over
- Lock in rates
- Phone support limited to troubleshooting/questions
- Transactions 100% online
- Only bank transfers allowed
- OFX may not be the cheapest option for smaller amounts
- How OFX Works
- Transfer Costs
- What Reviewers Say
- When OFX Works and When it Doesn’t
- Is your Money Safe with OFX?
- Is OFX the Best Choice for You?
OFX is a leading global currency transfer company with offices in Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand, UK and Singapore. It offers an online money transfer platform and has a strong phone based support for its global customers.
1.1 Sign up here to get the $15 fee removed for ever.
Initial setup is very simple. When you decide to sign up, you will be asked to choose if you want a personal or a business account. You will then need to enter some details and provide proof of identity. As long as you have all the information at hand, the whole process should not take more than five minutes.
OFX has automatic systems in place to verify your identity online. So, you just need to scan and upload your address and identity proof. They will verify the documents automatically. You will need to provide two separate documents as proof of identity and address. In rare circumstances, you may be required to send the documents to them. If you face any problems along the way, you can get in touch with customer support.
1.3 Transfer money
Once you have set up your account, just log in and “Get a quote”. You can then “Lock In” the quote after confirming the bank details. You will be notified through mail when the recipient gets the funds. You can also choose to get notified through SMS.
1.4 OFX app
Money transfer companies earn their income in two ways: Fixed fees + Margin on Exchange Rate.
Another cost component that no one talks about is hidden and we will explain this below.
2.1 Fixed Fees
Many currency transfer companies charge fixed fees on transactions, especially for smaller amounts. The companies that do not charge fixed fee either limit the transaction size or charge a margin on the exchange rate. In some countries, OFX charges a fixed fee of $15 on transactions below $10,000. However as discussed above the Sign-In link will ensure these are removed from every transaction.
2.2 Exchange Rate Margin
For international money transfers, banks and other financial institutions charge you a margin on the interbank rate.
The interbank rate, is the rate at which banks buy money from each other. This difference in exchange rate decides what your transfer cost will be. While many companies claim that they do not charge any transfer fee, but this does not mean they offer free services.
They simply make money by charging a rate higher than the interbank rate.
Having used the service on several occasions over the past many years, we have realized that the rates offered by OFX are pretty competitive. In fact, the rates keep getting better as the transaction size increases. Even for smaller amounts, OFX offers better rates than most banks and PayPal.
With OFX, your total transfer cost will range from 0.5-2%, whereas with banks it can range from 3-7% and with Paypal 6-8%. You can easily find out the margin you are paying on the exchange rate by comparing the rate you are being offered with the interbank rate. You can find out the OFX rate only after you have logged in.
2.3 Hidden Fees
When you use a money transfer service, the last thing you want to know is that there are hidden costs involved. However, this is the harsh reality that many people face (with some services) after they have made a transaction. Not many companies are really very open about telling you that the banks at each end could charge you fees. These fees can be £15 - £30 or $10 - $50 USD and be greater than the total fees the money transfer company charges.
When money is sent to OFX from an overseas account and when a recipient receives money from an overseas account, the banks charge a fee. While you (and they) may want to believe that money transfer companies have nothing to with these costs, it is far from true.
Transfer companies like OFX can do a lot.
By having local bank accounts in as many countries as possible, transfer companies can save on these costs. Thankfully, OFX has a wide network of bank accounts across the world. At the time of writing this review, OFX had 115 bank accounts in their global network. This means, they are the best position to enable transfers at minimal costs.
OFX enjoys great reviews on most sites. For example, it has a score of 8.8/10 off 3440 reviews on TrustPilot, which is quite impressive.
However, there are certain (smaller) sites where you will find a different story. This could be because some review sites attract only negative reviews and rants.
Reading hundreds of reviews does not make sense; it is just a waste of time and effort. The better way is to categorize the reviews and look at the bigger picture. To do this, we decided to focus on the one and two star reviews on Trustpilot and try to figure out what has affected their experience.
These one and two star reviews accounted for 7% of the total reviews.
We could divide these negative reviews into three categories;
- Lost or Delayed Funds
- Sign up troubles
- Got better rates elsewhere
3.1 Delayed or lost funds
More than two percent of the negative reviews are related to delayed or lost funds. The actual transfer time may depend on a lot of factors including where the funds are coming from and going to, the currency and the amount. In most cases, fund transfer takes no more than 1-3 days. However, in some rare cases it may take as long as six days. Mostly, this can be attributed to miscommunication such as incorrect bank details or just not understanding how long it really takes end to end (below). OFX seems to be really diligent in helping the customers in such cases and the money is eventually transferred to the recipient or returned to the client. So, there is no money ever “Lost” as claimed by some clients.
3.2 Sign up troubles
Over two percent of the negative reviews are related to difficulty signing up with OFX. All money transfer companies, including OFX require certain documents to verify your identity before they can allow you to make transactions. These are regulatory requirements that are mandated by law. You need to produce two different documents, one each as a proof of identity and address. Failure to produce the necessary documents can prevent you from signing up and making transfers. The good news is that OFX seems quite diligent in this aspect of their business which means that once you are approved there is little chance of you having to supply further information and documents for larger amounts if required.
3.3 Got better rates elsewhere
Some people are unhappy with OFX because they found better rates elsewhere or were charged some hidden fees. Most of these fees are charged by banks at both sides of the transaction and not by OFX (we have explained this in the “Hidden Fees” section). Also, while OFX offers highly competitive rates, they might not be the cheapest at all times as we explain in our next section (below).
Now we know that OFX is a solid choice as far as exchange rates and customer experiences are concerned. However, we discovered it might not be your best bet in all situations.
Transferwise is a Peer to Peer (P2P) company, which means, their exchange rates for smaller amounts are hard to beat. Like OFX they are leaders in other important aspects too.
For transferring smaller amounts of approximately $7000 USD/€4500/$9500 CAD/$9500 AUD TransferWise can prove cheaper.
For bigger amounts, the difference in the costs becomes smaller as OFX makes it exchange rate increasingly competitive.
Another alternative is WorldFirst.
They have offices in the UK and Australia, and makes a good choice for people who still want competitive costs and advanced online features.
Top reasons OFX is awesome in most cases.
4.1 Smooth operations
OFX makes sure all the compliances are in place from the very beginning. They verify all details including your identifation and address when you set up your account. This means, you can easily transfer larger amounts whenever you like without facing any regulatory hassles. Most P2P companies make the sign up process much easier, but when you decide to make larger transactions, they may ask for additional documents, which can cause unnecessary delays and hassles.
4.2 Great customer support
While it is quite convenient to be able to do everything online, but there are times when having phone support becomes crucial. When transferring funds overseas, there are different banks involved, so you might need to speak to someone and understand the process better. OFX offers 24X7 telephone support, which is a huge advantage. What sets them apart from other companies is that they have dealers in Canada, Australia and the UK. These dealers are well aware of the rules and ways of working of these banks.
- OFX receives funds from sending bank
- OFX processes the transfer
- OFX sends funds to the receiving bank
The total transfer time includes the time taken by each bank to complete their side of the transaction. OFX claims that they can complete the transfer within 1-2 days after they receive your funds. This probably depends on the currencies and other factors, but in our experience with major currency pairing like GBP, USD, AUD and CAD it seems like for their part it is all the same day.
Generally it takes a total of 3-6 business days to complete the entire process of receiving your funds and sending them to the recipient. Bank holidays, weekends can have an effect but usually it is the banks at either end who make up the majority of the time.
5.1 OFX receives your funds
Most countries take 1 - 2 days according to OFX
5.2 OFX processes your funds
OFX usually processes the funds the same day. In most cases, it happens instantaneously. For exotic countries and currencies, it may take longer. Overall, the processing time, i.e. the time it takes them to pool the funds and process the transfer depends on the amounts and currencies.
5.3 Time to reach your recipient
Most countries take 1 - 2 days according to OFX with Thailand at 4 days.
It may not always be possible for them to complete transfers within this timeframe. Usually, they will keep your money for a day and then it may take another day for the transfer. For exotic countries (not listed), transfer times may be longer.
OFX services more than 300,000 customers. They have all the necessary licences to operate their business in different countries including the UK, USA and Australia. Their global network of 115 bank accounts helps ensure smooth international transfers.
To date, they have successfully handled $84 Billion worth of transfers. OFX never sends the funds to the recipient without receiving funds from the sender. This makes sure that they have a low default risk.
They also have a multi-layered approach to security that includes identity protection, fraud prevention and SSL encryption.
Far as we can tell, you can stay assured that your money is safe with them.
Whether OFX is your best choice depends on your needs. If you are looking to transfer smaller amounts and you are happy to do everything online, you might want to consider one of the P2P companies.
For larger amounts, OFX may be your best bet. Their costs, customer support, international network of offices and bank accounts and knowledge make them a great choice.