5 Things You Should Know Before You Sign Up.
Today you’re going to find out if OFX is your best option.
(I’ll also show you how you can save potentially thousands $$$’s or £££’s no matter which money transfer company you choose.)
But wait there’s more 🙂
In some circumstances OFX may not be the right choice for you and in those instances I will show you who is likely to work better for your needs.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Voted #1 by Transumo.com three years in a row for good reason. A standout due to their service standards and online platform. However competition has caught up and other services may be better in some situations.
- Physical offices globally = better service
- Competitive exchange rates (in most situations)
- Top ranked service
- Online platform
- Smaller amounts it is relatively expensive
- Slower in certain situations (But speed comes at a cost)
5 Things You Need to Know (click to skip down)
- Rates, Fees and Costs (and what you actually pay)
- How Sign Up and How the Service Works (and how to avoid problems)
- When Things Go Wrong and Trustworthy Reviews?
- Speed (and when to use someone else)
- Safety and Security (and if something goes wrong)
Look for “Things to Know” at the end of each point
Everyone likes saving money but it can be quite confusing trying to understand what exactly you are being charged.
To keep things simple, we like to look at what is actually going to arrive in the receiving bank account. See comparison below.
Essentially there are 3 things to keep in mind when it comes to overall costs:
- Fees charged
- Exchange rate you get
- Fees the banks, or card service also charge (potentially at both ends)
1.1 OFX may charge a small fee of $15 however, if you click here you can avoid the fees all together. This way you only pay the difference in the exchange rate offered.
1.2 OFX mostly generates income by offering a different exchange rate to the mid-market or interbank rate.
The following chart shows the cost to use OFX with the fees removed since you won’t be paying any.
To calculate the actual costs simply multiply the amount by the percentage and divide by 100.
With OFX for larger amounts the exchange rate improves. The logic here is simple: the more money you transfer, the better the exchange rate you’ll receive making OFX hard to beat.
When I compare the mid-market rate and the rate I was offered (shown in the chart) – the range is about 2% to just below 0.8% which for larger amounts is about as good as you will find.
For comparison, the banks total costs can set you back between 6% and 3% – which can be a lot of lost $ or £s.
For example, if you save 3% on a transaction of $20,000 that is $600.
This combined with some simple timing, I have found it is easy to save $1000 or more for every $20,000 moved.
1.3 The fees the banks, or card service also charge (potentially at both ends) is also potentially a significant cost.
The way in which you send money initially to OFX can attract a fee from you bank. This is out of OFXs control, but very much within yours – just check with your bank if you are unsure and compare the different options – most will find a free option.
OFX can however help to reduce the fees the bank charges at the receiving end.
OFX has a network of local banks at the receiving end for most major currencies so they can pay into you account there without attracting the incoming fee. If not this fee can be as high as $30/£20 but usually more like $15/£10. For most situations, you will find this is free.
Also see OFX Fees
Thing to Know 1: Transfer larger amounts to minimize costs.
Registering with OFX is simple. The setup process is clearly outlined and customer service “dealers” are there to help if you find you need any help.
Here are the two things you have to do:
- Register Online – to check the rates for your currency pairing. (Use the link above to avoid the fees for ever)
- Verify Your Identity
Registration takes less than five minutes, then you’ll be on to verifying your identity, either automatically or through email.
You may also get a call from someone at OFX. They call themselves “dealers”, but really they are really there to help answer any questions you have.
When I registered, I found they needed me to provide a bit of additional information, like a copy of my ID.
Getting this information back to them was pretty straight forward.
In my case I simply scanned my driver’s licence, but a smartphone photo would be fine as well. Sending them over was simply by replying to the original email I received.
2.2 Setting up a Deal
Now the real fun begins. (Yes it is actually fun, especially when you lock in a good rate.)
Once you are registered and after you login, it is time to set up a transaction. This can be done on the phone as well but I find their online platform to be powerful yet easy.
It is as simple as logging into your account, selecting the currencies and amount and “Get Quote” under the New Quote.
Then you need to fund your account.
There are some main ways of funding your OFX account depending on the country you bank account is in:
- Electronic Bank Transfer (Australia, Canada, US and UK)
- Wire Transfer (Canada and US)
- ACH Direct Debit (US)
- BPay (Australia)
- Debit Card (UK)
Electronic Bank Transfer is used by businesses in most cases.
2.3 Wait for funds to arrive
Thing to Know 2: Set up alerts so you can track progress of your funds.
You can “Choose to receive notifications when funds are received by OFX and funds are paid out to your recipients.”
Most reviews are overwhelmingly positive on the review sites but can you trust them?
Nothing is perfect, and poor reviews are a great way to see if there are any real problems. Having used them over 20 times myself to move my own life savings around I am very much in the positive camp.
However this is where is gets interesting.
After scouring the review sites, most bad reviews relate to two things:
- Setting up the account with OFX
- Funds not seeming to arrive
1. As part of being compliant with so many regulations they seem to have have pretty tight standards when it comes to who they can work with. This leads a small but vocal minority having issues.
If you run a business for example, they may want proof of the type of business you are involved in to ensure it is legal.
2. An amazing number issues relate to the money not seeming to arrive. This seems like a big problem but generally this has nothing to do with OFX at all, and is more about the banks who receive the money and take time to process the transaction. If you are reading this, you will not have this problem because you know how things work (skip to info above)
To make matters worse, when OFX send their helpful little confirmation email with the subject “OFX | Funds Paid” there is no explanation about the time it takes for receiving banks to actually make the money appear in the receiving account. This I think leads to unrealistic expectations – checking bank accounts – disappointment and in turn poor reviews.
For most people it will be smooth sailing.
Thing to Know 3: Understand what OFX needs from you for compliance so you can get approved quickly and without any unexpected hold ups.
One aspect that maybe really critical from some people is speed.
It takes about 5 business days end-to-end to reach a destination bank account – this was about 2 days quicker then when I used to use a bank.
Receiving money into your OFX account may be a day or two quicker or slower depending on who you bank with and the countries you transact between.
However, if you want it to be even faster you may want to consider two standouts.
If the receiving party has a PayPal account and you do too, sending money is practically instantaneous although all this convenience and speed comes at a hefty cost which for a few hundred dollars or less is actually competitive.
TransferWise can also speed up the time it takes for the money to arrive if you use a credit card or debit card to make the payment. However there are additional costs that TransferWise needs to charge to pay the card operations – which makes this also expensive.
5.1 When it comes to sending your money abroad, OFX is just as safe and secure as any bank, maybe safer…
Because OFX has offices worldwide – it is regulated in the Australia, UK, NZ (registered), Canada and the USA – making it one of the most regulated financial companies in the world. (In the case of the US, they actually have to meet the regulations of each state in which they operate.)
OFX also is also obligated to comply with international anti-money laundering laws of these countries. Yes they are very legitimate!
In short, the chance OFX will lose or mishandle your money is as low as it can get from what I can reasonably tell.
5.2 But that is not the best bit … if things go wrong
In the unlikely situation, something goes wrong like your bank is slow at moving the money (or even if you just want to check on things) OFX has offices all around the world, when and if you need it, you will get someone who knows how to help you. For example, in Canada I got someone in Toronto, in Australia – Sydney, after hours I got someone in the UK. If you are in the US you will likely talk to someone in Toronto during business hours.
The “dealers” are not only knowledgeable about their services but also often the banks you are asking them to deal with. In our experience this tends to make the whole process go much smoother and stress free.
Thing to Know 5: Getting someone on the phone 24/7 who understands your situation is important.
Don’t forget, if you use the links above you will get fee free transfers for life. You will also notice I try to give you an unbiased review and even recommend other services where it makes sense – like PayPal where I have no affiliate relationship.