When you need to send a large amount of money internationally, OFX could be your most affordable option. The company offers web-based money transfer solutions for individuals and businesses alike. In our review, we found that this service has some features which put them ahead of the competition. However, it also lacks other features and capabilities that might be important to you.
Although OFX money transfers can sometimes take longer than some of the company’s speedier competitors, price is where it consistently shines — it charges no additional fees for transfers beyond the standard exchange rate markup, although it requires a minimum transfer for $1,000 to start with. That means people who have smaller amounts to transfer will need to look elsewhere.
OFX’s headquarters is based in San Francisco and the company has been in business since 1998. Currently, the company has offices located in six different countries. Yet it all started a little over two decades ago when it launched its first website from a garage in Sydney.
In the past 20 years, the company has grown to more than 200 employees. OFX has managed over 1 million money transfers for more than $119 billion, with the numbers still growing.
Here’s a full breakdown of OFX’s costs, fees and a look at how it compares with its competitors in the international money transfer space.
OFX key features
- Low exchange rates: OFX claims to have better rates and fees than many banks. Per the company, you can save up to an average of 50% on global money transfer rates when compared with using a bank. Banks make money off international money transfers by charging a markup (aka a margin) on foreign exchange rates. The reason OFX fees are lower is because they say they charge margins which are “substantially less” for money exchanges than the rates many banks charge their customers. OFX exchange rate markups are often less than 1%, they claim.
- $0 transfer fees: Once upon a time, it did charge a flat-rate fee for money transfers. However, now OFX doesn’t charge any additional transfer fees for international money transfers. (The company does point out that your recipient’s bank might deduct a fee for the incoming transfer, but it doesn’t receive any part of those funds.)
- No hidden fees: OFX doesn’t charge setup fees, monthly account fees or any other hidden fees.
- Compare fees before transfer: OFX lets you check the rate you will be charged for an international money transfer in advance. However, you’ll have to create an OFX account first. This process is a bit cumbersome compared with the easy-to-access fee estimators available from some other money transfer service providers. However, it also gives you a way to compare the rate it will charge you with the rate your bank would charge you for the same transaction, so you can make sure you’re getting the better deal. This is a nice touch (though you should still estimate fees from other online money transfer providers to make sure you’re getting the best deal available). To estimate fees you’ll have to create an account, log in or use the “Get Extra” widget to see how much you could save when you transfer money with OFX instead of your bank.
- There’s an app for that: You can transfer money, track your transfers and get current exchange rates with the OFX app, available for Apple and Android devices.
- Membership program: If you own a business, you may be able to enjoy preferred exchange rates from OFX. Preferred rates could make sending or receiving money cheaper by helping you save more on exchange rate margins. The OFX Member Benefits Program lets you share your preferred rate with your own customers, members or employees by granting them access to your OFX network as well.
- Referral program: The OFX Referral Program allows you an opportunity to earn a revenue share when your customers or referrals use OFX for international money transfers. You can also add the company’s free rate and currency calculators to your website, giving your users access to the most recent currency information.
Sending a money transfer with OFX
|Review of OFX: A Money Transfer Provider||Transfers generally take 1-4 business days. Times may vary based upon the country to where you are transferring funds. |
You should allow:
*OFX provides a currency converter tool inside your account, online or using the app, which can also provide approximate delivery times.
|Where can you send money? ||OFX can transfer your money to over 190 countries in 55 different currencies. See a list of locations here. |
|How much can you send?||Transfer amounts start at $1,000(minimum). |
*Maximum transfer amounts are determined based on your money transfer provider and type of currency. USD can generally be transferred without restrictions.
How to transfer money
Here’s a look at the process you’ll experience if you transfer funds internationally with OFX.
You can sign up for a personal account or business account online or via the OFX app. For a personal account, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your location
- Your email address
- Your currency pair (aka where you’ll be transferring money from and to)
- Your estimated transfer amount
- Your personal information (name, address, phone number, date of birth, nationality and occupation)
- Your driver’s license state and number (optional)
Create a password and set up a security question.
Verify your account by uploading one of the following:
- Copy of your driver’s license or passport (color)
- Proof of address (bank statement, utility bill or letter from a government agency)
Add the U.S. bank account you’ll be using to send funds.
Add new recipient details, including the person’s name and banking information.
Calculate transfer rate (if desired).
Transfer funds by setting up a direct debit or wiring the funds to OFX.
Funds are converted and delivered to your recipient.
Fees and fine print
|Fees and penalties|
|Transfer rates||When you transfer money with OFX, the company takes a “small percentage” of the money you’re sending to cover costs. |
Here’s how it works. Fees are based upon the market rate (also called interbank rate), which is a wholesale rate available to large financial institutions. Customers of OFX are charged a markup on the market rate, and that is how OFX makes money. You can check exchange rates here.
|Transfer fees None||None|
Compared with other money transfer options, OFX is often one of the most affordable ways to send money internationally. However, this isn’t the case 100% of the time. If you want to get the best value on your money transfer, it’s wise to compare costs among several money transfer providers.
Is OFX a good money transfer service to use?
Overall, OFX can often offer a more affordable way to send money internationally. You just have to be comfortable with the wait and minimum transfer requirements.
Alternative money transfer options
MoneyGram and Western Union are international money transfer companies providing similar services to OFX.
- Where can you send money? MoneyGram has a large network. You can send money to more than 200 countries and territories around the world online or in person at one of MoneyGram’s 350,000 (approximate) global agent locations. Unlike OFX, you can also transfer money within the United States.
- How long does a transfer take? Once you send a transaction successfully, your recipient can usually pick up cash within minutes. Just keep in mind that transfer time also depends upon operating hours and regulatory requirements.
- How much can you send? $6,000 per online transfer is typically the cap on MoneyGram transfers, but it also depends upon the country where your recipient lives. Also, there’s a $6,000 cap per every 30 calendar days for online transfers. If you need to send more, you can. You’ll just need to a MoneyGram agent location to send additional transfers.
- Fee to send money: MoneyGram’s costs can be a little on the high side. When compared with other competitors, MoneyGram fees are often higher plus they may include additional transfer fees. The cost to send money via MoneyGram varies quite a bit based upon where you’re sending money, how much you’re sending and how you’re paying. On the plus side, MoneyGram has a tool which can easily allow you to estimate fees online, without the hassle of being required to create an account first.
One area where MoneyGram shines is its potential speed of delivery. If timing is your primary concern when you are sending money, MoneyGram may be a good option to consider.
- Where can you send money? Western Union lets you send money to more than 200 countries and territories. The company also has a sizable network of over 500,000 agent locations, this can make finding a place to send or receive money in person a lot more convenient.
- How long does a transfer take? Western Union allows you to send money in minutes in 130 currencies. Many transactions take place within minutes. Just keep in mind that factors like the service you select, your destination country, any regulatory issues, etc. could slow things down.
- How much can you send? The amount of money you’re allowed to transfer will vary. Limits are based upon your transaction history with Western Union, the country where you are sending money, your location and the type of transfer service you choose. Based upon these factors, limits may range from $300 per money transfer up to $10,000 per transaction.
- Fee to send money: Western Union is known for having a large network, not for being the most affordable way to send money internationally. Compared with competitors, exchange rate fees may be higher and you may be charged transfer fees on top of that. You can estimate the cost of sending money using Western Union’s online fee calculator. It’s a helpful and convenient feature, partly because you aren’t required to set up an account to access it. Also, even though Western Union may be more expensive in many cases, you shouldn’t just assume that is always the case. If you’re sending an online money transfer, it’s worth your time to see if Western Union can beat the cost your receiving elsewhere.
Western Union stands out among competitors for its conveniently large network and speed. With more than 500,000 agent locations, finding a convenient spot to send or receive money may be easier than with other service providers.
Should you choose OFX?
OFX frequently beats competitor pricing for international online money transfers. Yet there are so many moving parts when it comes to money transfers that you shouldn’t take for granted that it is the cheapest option. If you want to save the most money possible on your international money transfers, you have to be willing to do a little homework (perhaps every time you prepare to transfer funds) and compare costs between several money transfer networks.
Of course, even if it is the least expensive option for your specific situation, the cheapest option may not be the right choice for you. OFX tends to be a bit on the slow side with regard to getting money into your recipient’s hands. Also, OFX doesn’t give you the option to pay with cash nor does it give recipients a cash pickup option. If you don’t have the capability to transfer funds directly into your recipient’s bank account, you’ll need to find a different company to handle your money transfer.
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