Transferwise vs PayPal

If you need to transfer money abroad, or run a business with your customers overseas PayPal or Transferwise are your best bet.

While banks have been around since forever, these two fintech mega successes have emerged in recent years and truly shaken up the money transfer business – especially if you need the ability to “Request Money”.

It appears that both strive put the user experience and convenience at the heart of their product and sending or requesting money with either of these two companies is so much better then it was in the dark ages when we used banks.

What’s more is that they are both fairly cheap and convenient to use, especially when compared to your bank.

However, one must still rise to the top! In this battle of PayPal vs Transferwise, we compared both companies based on the following categories:

  • Cost
  • Speed
  • Convenience
  • Security

While we fully recommend you to read the whole article to see exactly how each service performed in each category, for those of you who need can’t wait (after all, time is money) Transferwise is the overall winner especially if you want the most money to arrive.

Here is a Video from Transferwise that we thought was pretty funny…

For most people getting the most funds from A to B is the most important and on this score Transferwise is cheaper and faster than PayPal.

PayPal did have a clear advantage in that many people already have a PayPal account but this came at a steep price. However, if you and the person you are sending money to are already signed up and don’t mind paying more, PayPal could be the service for you.

At this point you have to ask yourself if getting up to 6% less is an acceptable for the convenience. Now that might not sound a lot but if you are getting paid a good proportion of your income this way or you are paying others – this can be a significant loss and worth making the switch.

A final thing to consider is that there are many variables depending on where you are transferring money. For example, the currency you are using, how you pay into the service, etc. To ensure you get the best price you could always get a quote from each company before sending your money. Generally though you will be hard pressed to beat Transferwise so we recommend taking a look look as this could easily result in hundreds if not thousands saved each year.

Now, before we move on to how we arrived at these results, let’s firsts take a quick look at the history behind each company.


PayPal for Money TransfersOf the two companies, PayPal is the one you probably know the most about. It was founded in 1998 and rapidly expanded after becoming the payment method of choice on the auction site eBay.

It has continued to grow to the point where I would be willing to bet that a significant number of the people reading this already have a PayPal account set up and have probably used it.

However, before PayPal came along, everyone had a bank account. Yet we all know that this didn’t stop PayPal from tearing up the financial rulebook.

Perhaps now is the turn of…


Transferwise was formed in 2011, as Money Transfer Company with a few distinct points of difference – ridiculous transparency on its fees + it does enable you to request money from others overseas + the fees charged throughout the process are much less.

Like PayPal before it, Transferwise has grown rapidly over the years and now claims to send over 800 GDP every month!

It uses an innovative Peer to Peer transfer model that allows users to transfer money without technically sending their money to another country. This allows Transferwise to really reduce the amount they charge in transfer fees and it is a big reason behind its success and your savings.

So, now that you know a little about each of these companies let’s move on to finding out which one is actually the best at sending your money abroad. First, let’s take a look at the cost of sending money with each company.


For many people out there the best money transfer service will always be the cheapest. After all, the extortionate transfer fees are exactly the reason why you want to avoid using your bank and perhaps why you are looking beyond PayPal because of their high fees.

The overall cost of a money transfer service will generally come down to two different measures. These are the exchange rate that you are given and also any fees that are added on.

In addition are the fees added by your bank or your credit card company. These would most likely be the same on either service anyway.

Exchange rate

Exchange rates are one of those things. We all see on Google, or our finance apps, or on the news what the exchange rate is but we all also know we are never actually going to get that rate.

It is a commonly accepted fact that financial companies will always try to skim a little of the top making the actual amount we receive less than the exchange rate we see.

Well, hold on a moment.

When it comes to your exchange rate, what you see is what you get with Transferwise! Transferwise uses the mid-market rate and doesn’t actually make any money from the transfer rate. This basically means that when it comes to exchange rate, it would be very hard for anyone to beat Transferwise.

PayPal, on the other hand, say that they take the wholesale rate provided by banks and then add on an extra 2.5% – 4% to calculate the exchange rate you receive.

3.5 – 4% is what they charge for currency exchange. (2.5% is what they charge to exchange currency in your own account.)

Here is the chart they publish:

Exchange Rate Costs for PayPal

In our tests, even a bank will outdo PayPal for anything above about $300 but this is dependant to countries and amount.


You can see on the screenshot below that the fees for PayPal range at between 0.5% to 7.4% of the total amount transferred or slightly more if you are using money from a credit or debit card

Fees for PayPal




So the total cost to use PayPal

= Exchange Rate + Fees

= (2.5 + 0.5) to (4 + 7.4)

= 3% (min) to 11.4% (max) 

For most people, in the USA, UK, Europe, Canada or Australia for example and get paid or pay someone in those same countries;

Total Cost = 5 – 6% (Lesser known currencies will be higher)

By contrast the fee for using Transferwise is 0.5% for most major currencies.

However this can increase if you use different currencies. For example, sending GBP (UK) to CNY (China) will be charged at a rate of 1.5%.

Basically, when it comes to fees, with both of these services you will pay a slightly different rate depending on the currency pairing that you choose. However, what is clear is that due to the 2.5% extra that PayPal add to the exchange rate, sending money with Transferwise is almost always going to be your best option.

Winner: Transferwise is the clear winner due to its use of the middle market exchange rate and its relatively small transfer fees.


Like with cost, speed, is important and also highly dependent on the currencies you choose.

Transferwise claim that most transfers will be completed within 1-4 working days once they receive your payment. When I set up a transfer of USD to EUR it claimed that the money would arrive within 1-2 working days.

The average amount of time a PayPal payment takes is 3-5 business days. So again, while this is certainly slower than some transfers with Transferwise, it is at least competitive with other types of transfer.

Winner: Once again Transferwise is the winner here. While both companies say transfers can take up to 5 days, for many currency pairings a transfer with Transferwise will only take one or two business days.


Both companies make signing up for their service very easy. I signed up to Transferwise by simply typing in my email address and choosing a password. Incredible! You can also use Facebook or Google to sign in if you please.

This is part of Transferwise’s overall strategy of making sending money abroad as simple as possible.

Of course, PayPal is no slouch either. Signing up for PayPal requires you to type in a few more details before your account is open but it really isn’t any hassle at all.

Also, while it may seem like you need to give more details to PayPal before signing up than you do with Transferwise, in reality, before making your transfer you give some extra information to Transferwise anyway.

After signing up to either service, you will have to transfer money to your account from a bank account in your home country. Alternatively, you can use a card to make a payment although this may be slightly more expensive.

One place where PayPal may have the edge is the simple fact that it is such a popular service. This means that there is a fairly high chance that you and the person you are sending money to already have a PayPal account!

If this is the case, not only will you save time when it comes to signing up to the service but sending money to another user of PayPal is ridiculously easy. All you need to do is type in the email address associated with their PayPal account, choose an amount of money that you want to send, and then confirm the transfer.

In all honesty, it is almost scary-awesome how easy it is to transfer money internationally using this method.

Winner: This winner of this category really depends on the person you are transferring money to. If you need to transfer money to a bank account then Transferwise is the winner. On the other hand, for sheer ease of use, if the recipient has a PayPal account already then PayPal is the winner.


When it comes to transferring money, security is one of the most important factors. Luckily, for anyone considering using either PayPal or Transferwise, both these companies are about as secure as it gets.

As both companies do business throughout the world, they are regulated by various services depending on the country you use them in. This makes them incredibly safe. Here is a list of who regulates PayPal in each state while here is Transferwise’s security and regulation for each country it operates in.

If you need any more evidence about just how safe these companies are, then you can take a look at the numbers. As mentioned above, Transferwise transfers over 800 million GDP a month while, according to this article from way back in 2011, it is estimated that in 2011 PayPal was processing $315.3 million in payments every single day.

Basically, both of these companies are highly successful and this kind of success only comes if they are able to provide a certain amount of security to their users.

Of course, one place where they don’t have much of an influence is on human error. When transferring money, make sure you know and/or trust the person you are sending the money too as once it’s gone it can be hard to get it back.

As well as this, it is worth remembering that both these services put ease of use at the forefront of their customer experience. As we saw with how easy it is to transfer money using PayPal, all you need is the email address of the person you are sending money too.

Because of this, it would be worth making sure that you change your passwords regularly and choose a long, difficult to break password when using these services.

Winner: Hard to tell these two companies apart when it comes to security. As long as you are careful with who you are sending money too and keep your account details secure, you should have no problems using either service.


Overall, if you are looking to send money as cheaply as possible then Transferwise is usually going to be cheaper than PayPal. It does not make money off the exchange rate and only charges a small percentage of the overall transfer as its fee.

It is simple to sign up to, easy to send money with and should even be quicker in many situations than PayPal.

However, that doesn’t mean that PayPal doesn’t have its place.

PayPal is well known and as such, it can be a convenient option and is likely to be especially useful for small amounts where the fact that they take a percentage won’t result in you losing that much money.

For amounts more than about $300 we highly recommend comparing Transferwise as your solution – it could save you a bundle.

Basically, check out either option, see how much it will cost for you to send money using each service, and then you can come to a good decision about which is the best money transfer option for you!

Transferwise Review

If you are looking to send money to another country cheaply, Transferwise is a money transfer service that promises to allow you to do just that. They say they can transfer your money in a without the costs associated with your bank and without any hidden charges or fees.

In our Transferwise review, we found it to offer an excellent and easy to use service that, as advertised, was very upfront about its charges and the amount of money that you would both receive when using their service.

To find out exactly why we found Transferwise to be such a good service, read on!


Transferwise is a money transfer service with a difference.

Founded in 2011 it is a relative newcomer to the money transfer scene. However, its unique way of sending money has resulted in it being one of the hottest fintech companies in the world and it is backed by investors including one of the founders of the other financial services success story of our times, Paypal – which can also be used to transfer money.

How does it work?

So what is this new, innovative way of sending money that has turned out to be so successful?

Well, basically, Transferwise’s big secret is that they transfer your money without actually transferring any money at all.

Transferwise calls itself a peer to peer transfer service. What this means is that they match people who want to transfer one currency into another, with people who want to do the opposite swap.

For example, if you want to swap 1000 GBP into EUR, Transferwise will simply add your 1000 GBP to their pot of GBP and send the equivalent amount of EUR to the recipient from their pot of Euros.

This means that the money doesn’t actually travel over any borders meaning they can save you money on transfer fees.

How Transferwise works

Transferwise Rates

Any good review would not be complete without at though analysis of its rates.

So what about the rates you receive with Transferwise? Will they actually save you money and how do they compare?

Unlike some of the other transfer services out there, Transferwise do charge a fee on all transfers. This usually comes in the form of a small percentage of the total amount transferred. There is also a minimum fee for when you transfer smaller amounts.

The exact fee you will be charged depends on the currency pairing you use. For most of the main currency pairings the fee is around 0.5% of the transfer with a minimum of 2 GBP. For example, if you choose to transfer GBP to USD, you will be charged 0.5% of the amount you choose to send, with a minimum fee of 2GBP.

On the other hand, if you need to send money to China, you will be hit with a slightly higher rate of 1.5% with a minimum fee of 2.85 GBP.

The reason that Transferwise charges a transfer fee on all transactions is that they don’t charge anything extra on the exchange rate itself – which is where most transfer services do. Most money transfer services and banks make a profit by transferring your money at a slightly worse rate than they receive themselves and keep the difference.

Transferwise, on the other hand, uses the mid market rate as their exchange rate and pass every penny on to you.

Of course, the savvy consumers out there will have realised that while Transferwise say this is what they are doing, their “transfer fee” of 0.5% (or whatever the amount for the currency pairing you choose) is essentially the same as them giving you a slightly worse exchange rate.

While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, (whichever service you use there will be a charge at some point), if you are looking for the best possible deal it could be worth checking out a number of sources before making your transfer.

What the Transferwise way of charging does offer that others don’t, however, is excellent transparency about what you will pay on each transfer. This is because when you transfer with them you know that you will get the mid-market rate plus their specified transfer fee.

In fact, on their website, you can get an exact quote on the amount of money you receive when making a transfer.

In comparison, many other money transfer services will show you the interbank rate on their website but you won’t actually know the amount you will receive until you have signed up to their website and got a quote.

One feature you may have noticed on the above screenshot is the 24 hour guaranteed exchange rate. This is a handy feature that guarantees you will get the rate quoted to you as long as you send Transferwise your money within 24 hours.

There are some instances where they reserve the right to refuse the guaranteed rate, such as if the exchange rate drops by 5% or if they suspect that you are abusing the system by setting up rates without transferring money.

There are situations where this guaranteed rate could come at a slight cost. For example, if the exchange rate moves in your favour during those 24 hours and you don’t get a new exchange rate you could end up with a slightly worse deal than with a service that uses floating exchange rates.

However, equally, you may end up with a better deal if the exchange rate moves the other way. Because of this, it really does seem like Transferwise are using this feature as a way to improve the user experience and be clear upfront about the amount of money you will send and receive, not an attempt by them to lock you into a poor rate.


The fact that Transferwise call themselves a peer to peer service could leave you worried about the security of using the service. You may worry about what will happen if you send your money and your “peer” doesn’t do the same?

As explained above, while it is peer to peer, Transferwise isn’t literally matching you up with another person on the other side of the world. They have large amounts of all the currencies they deal in and it is the company itself that will transfer the money from their capital supply.

As well as this, like all major financial companies Transferwise is heavily regulated. Each country it operates in has its own regulatory board that Transferwise must abide by. This means that it is regulated by, amongst others, boards such as the Australia Securities and Investments Commission (Australia), Customs and Excise Department (Hong Kong), the UK Financial Conduct Authority (UK and Europe), and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (USA).

As a company, they are heavily regulated and as such, you shouldn’t have any problems with sending money when using this service.

Of course, this is as long as you are careful with who you send your money too! Once the money is sent, it is gone, so make sure you trust the person you are making the transfer to.

If you need any more assurance about the safety of their service, Transferwise has claimed that over 800million GBP worth of transfers are made using their service every month!

Customer Reviews

Now we have looked at the service offered by Transferwise, it is time to check out what kind of experience people have actually had with them.

Well, luckily for those people thinking about sending money using Transferwise, the service has astoundingly positive reviews. On TrustPilot they have an ‘Excellent 9.5” rating based on 36,399 customers reviews. Meanwhile, on Trustmark, they have a rating of ‘Excellent 9.8’ from 4,251 reviews.

So what exactly is it that people love about Transferwise? Here are some of the pros:

  • Very easy to use service
  • Good rates when compared to a bank
  • Cheap fees
  • Transparency of the service and no hidden fees
  • These positive reviews pretty much all confirm what we have found in our Transferwise review. They offer an easy to use service that allows you to transfer money quickly, at a cost cheaper than a bank, and without hidden fees.

Of course, with the number of customers and reviews that Transferwise has, there are undoubtedly going to be some negative reviews. We scoured these two sites to see what people were complaining about.

  • Delays to transfers
  • Verification on accounts
  • Slow transfers

These negative reviews are the type of one-off problem you get on reviews for most money transfer services. Basically, it is crucial to know exactly what you are getting into before sending money.

Delays to transfers for example, may be due the need to match your trade with someone else. In effect, their core strength is causing some of their core weakness. For large amounts or between certain countries it is easy to see how delays may occur in the matching process.

Firstly, a ‘same day transfer’ doesn’t necessarily mean that your money will be in the bank on the same day. It simply means that the company will send the money that day. How long it takes to arrive in your account will often come down to your bank not the transfer company itself which varies widely.

As well as this, when setting up your account to make a transfer you should always be aware that there is a slight chance that your account will not be verified or that you will need to provide extra details. Because of this, if you are desperate to send money as soon as possible and can’t afford any delay, perhaps look for another option.

One notable thing was that on all the negative reviews on the website TrustPilot, a representative from Transferwise had made a comment in order to try to help solve the problem. It is hard to know whether this ever actually lead to the problem being solved but it is nonetheless a very nice touch.


Next up, we will try to answer some of the most common questions you may have about transferring your money with Transferwise.

How long will it take to verify my account?

Verification will usually be completed within two days although it can be quicker or longer if you end up having problems with verification.

Is there a fee to pay on my Transfer?

Yes. The fee will depend on the amount you transfer and the currency pairing you choose. For many transfers between major currencies the amount will be around 0.5% of the total transfer with a minimum fee of around 2 GBP or equivalent. However, there are no hidden fees when it comes to your exchange rate.

It should be noted that depending on your bank or payment method you may be charged transfer fees or card fees which can add to the total cost. You should bear this in mind when transferring money.

How long will the transfer take?

Transferwise state that most transfers will be completed within 1-4 working days and the exact time will depend on which currencies you are transferring and also the payment method you choose to use.

For example, while bank transfers can take up to three working days to reach Transferwise, a credit card payment will reach them instantly.

Once the money has arrived, they will usually transfer it within a few hours (assuming the banks are open) and always within 2 working days if there are no problems.

Now, when you receive the money will depend on your bank. This can take up to a few working days.

Basically, while it is a quick service and there are ways to maximise the speed at which your money will be transferred, it is import to realise that your money won’t arrive instantly.

How much money can I send?

One of the biggest positives about Transferwise is that there is no minimum amount that you can send. There is a minimum fee that you will have to spend to make the transfer but as long as you don’t mind this you can send any amount of money you want.

How safe is Transferwise?

Transferwise is regulated in each of the countries it is based in. It sends large amounts of money every single day without problem.

So, Is Transferwise a Service Worth Using?

Absolutely, Transferwise is an excellent way to transfer money abroad. Its brilliance is in its simplicity and in the fact that they are very upfront about what they charge and the amount of money you will receive when you make a transfer.

Having said that, there may well be slightly cheaper ways to send money out there and they also don’t offer many options when it comes to rates. Because of this if you want the best and cheapest rate possible it could pay to shop around.

However, if you want a pain free experience without any hidden charges, one that allows you to send any amount of money, and one that is most certainly much cheaper than your bank, then Transferwise could be the money transfer service for you!

Best Choice – Money Transfer Company 2017

A few years ago Transumo first set out uncover the best money transfer companies by country.

Sick of paying high fees – our main goal was quite simple – we wanted to inform about the options beyond traditional banks where you lose 3.5% – 5% of your funds ever time you make a transfer.

At first the differences between services were minimal although there were some, so we showed the differences.

Most importantly, you did not end up using a bank. Apart from saving a bunch of money – telephone, online services and tools to make trades ensured you were miles ahead.

And that gap is widening.

Best Choice 2017 (and previously 2016)

However as time has passed, differences between the services have become clearer – one leader has emerged so we decided to crown it!

It is OFX!

Here is a review for OFX Australia, CanadianForex and USForex – who are the same company and share the same platform.

Click here for the UK

Cost wise, most services are quite similar. You can expect they to charge around 1% for larger amounts over $10k down to about 1.8% for their minimum. (Banks are about 3.5% plus fees usually charged by your bank and the receiving bank which often amounts to up to 5%)

Comparison Table

ServiceWeekend DealsLive Currency ConverterFee Free Transfers
OFXYes – 24/7YesOver $10k
World First24/5NoAll

Main Differences


There are two point of difference that makes OFX stand out for us and we think most people will agree.

  1. Ultimate Transparency – By having the actual rate you will get right on their home page (without logging in) all the cards are on the table. We encourage you to compare.
  2. Being able to transact 24/7 – on weekends is a huge benefit for most people.
  3. The physical location of offices can matter a whole lot.  We have discussed at length the advantages of having the money transfer company in your own country for service and security reasons, but it is especially helpful if you move to that country and they can still serve your interests there too.


Paying a fee of $15 for amounts below $10,000 is a negative but lets face it $15 is not a lot, on $5000 (£2500) for example it amounts to 0.3%. Click here, we have negotiated the first two transfers free.

However if you are transferring amounts less than $5k regularly and really want to squeeze every cent out of your transactions – perhaps one of the others is better.

There are many other differences between the services, but in our opinion they are more minor.

Alerts for example is important and something all three offer which can be extremely helpful.

Where OFX clearly wins the day in our opinion is that you can transact on weekends and also you can see exactly the rate you will get without logging in.

We expect other service provider to catch up in time, meantime just choosing one in your country will put you miles ahead.

World First Review – Safety, Speed and How it Works

What’s to like and what’s not to like? – including negative reviews from others

Hi, I’m Bre – an expat who moved to Australia from the US six months ago after traveling through Asia for a few months.

  • World First has physical operations in the USA, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore – but transacts worldwide (some countries excepted) – click here to get free transfers for life (opens new tab).

Bre FowlerLike most people moving to a new country, living on a budget and not wasting money was crucial. The problem I quickly realized is I was losing a ton of money to bank fees and poor exchange rates whenever I used my  overseas bank card or withdrew cash.

To remedy this the first thing to do is open a bank account so I could get paid and pay for things in the local currency.

Most importantly I needed to transfer the money from my bank account at home to my new account.

The first time I transferred my money directly through my bank, (and unbeknownst to me) losing a good chunk in the process. Fortunately I didn’t transfer a huge amount to begin with.

Then I learned about international money transfer services, which have NO hidden fees and offer much better exchange rates.

I had done a lot of comparisons of the different services available, and found that World First was one of the top contenders and best fit my needs. They also have no fees – whatsoever – all their costs/profits are covered in the exchange rate.

Logo - World FirstAlso since, I prefer to transfer only the amount that I need rather than ALL of my money, and one of the reasons I like World First so much is because they have a low minimum transfer amount ($250). The also have great exchange rates and a lifetime of no fees with any of my transfers.

If you want to transfer larger sums of money, say for a car or a house, then you’ll get an even more competitive rate, but small amounts easily beat banks by 2 – 4%.

I also find it comforting to know that WorldFirst is a BIG business with David Clementi as their Chairman (who was the former Deputy Govenor of the Bank of England)

How it works:

When you’re ready to book a rate and make a transaction, you can either do it through your online account or contact your dedicated dealer over the phone.

1. Book a rate


There are three options offered, “Spot Rates”, “Forward Contracts” and “Currency Options”.  Although a little technical at first, I am told almost everyone simply uses “Spot Rates” – the others suit business customers or more advanced currency trades.

Basically they quote you an exchange rate for the amount you need to move. If you agree to the rate, they will book the trade on your behalf and the rate will be fixed, regardless of any changes in the market during the process.

Interestingly, the rate shown on their home page is the “Interbank Rate” so you need to login or call to get the actual rate they will offer.

2. Provide account details

Add the bank account details of where you would like your money to be sent via their online platform. This is called the “beneficiary”

3. Send your money to World First

When they receive your funds they’ll convert them and confirm the amount of buy currency they’ll send to your requested bank account, and then make the payment by the agreed date. On the day of the settlement date they will send you a Payment Confirmation to confirm that the payment has been made.

What I like

After a bit of comparison shopping I found that their rate were very competitive.

Many money transfer services will often contact you via telephone to confirm a deal. World First is different – they ask you to call a broker to lock in the deal. I like this because it meant I could just get it all done immediately, no waiting around for a call to come through.

Not only that, but if you do decide to sign up for their service, you will get your own personal currency specialist to guide you through the process, ensure you are getting the best rate possible, and that your money arrives safely and securely.

World First gets five stars for their customer service and answering any questions along the way so I know my money is in good hands.

The transfers can all be done online safely and securely; you can also transfer money over the phone or through their app, but I always prefer to do mine online.

What I don’t like

world-first-review-signup-2To get set up, they request a lot of info before you can activate your account and begin transferring money. You also have to speak to your currency dealer on the phone. (However this is the case with almost all of them – except one)

This apparently is an added security measure, along with submitting a photocopies of your passport and a recent bank statement or utility bill with your current address on it.

While I appreciate the extensive security measures, it was a bit of a hassle, especially for someone who just arrived in the country and doesn’t receive bills or statements.

That said, not sure there is any way around doing this and certainly it it well worth the effort.

Other Peoples Reviews of World First

I like to see what others are saying and to be honest I take a lot of comparison sites with a grain of salt – especially when they seem overly awesome. (most do)

If I trawl through and focus on the negative reviews most seem to come from people who are trying to send money to places like West Africa and finding out they do not deal with every country despite offering them a great rate.

I also found people who had trouble meeting the stringent compliance requirements.

In general through customer service standards and rates are some of the highest in the industry even compared with the overly positive reviews other companies seem to get too.


Overall I am very happy with World First and it would appear that many other people are too – the service and especially the rates offered.

They also have no transfer fee even for smaller amounts.

For business or money transfers of large amounts World First seems to be a very solid option as they support forward contracts and other more complex trades,

The setup process is a little tedious, but it provides a strong sense of security for your money and customer service is high.

OFX Review – Safety, Speed and How it Works

Worldwide, we fork out over hundreds of Billions in bank fees each year. ($11B just in Australia)

And if you currently use a bank to transfer money – you are paying more than your fair share.

Fortunately there a few good alternatives and the largest of them all in Australia is OFX who also has physical operations in the USA, UK, Canada, Singapore and NZ.

Click here to open OFX in a new window to check it out. (Get 2 free transfers)

Why should you read this review of OFX?

My name is Quinn and I have used OFX on a continual basis for over 10 years.

Quinn Askeland Small ImageAs a business owner and home owner who has moved from UK to Australia to Canada and then back to Australia again – I need a reliable, cost efficient way to move money internationally.

For me that has been OFX but to get the best rates, I have also used many of their competitors in recent years and I have found that there is a lot to consider when choosing a money transfer service.

To save you time and money – my goal is uncover everything you need to make a wise decision.

So what does OFX (hopefully) deliver that banks can’t?

  • Control of your Money (timing can make a huge difference)
  • Customer Service (like phone support)
  • Much Better Exchange Rates (this is where I usually save the most)
  • Low Fees (often Zero)
  • Security at least as good as a Bank

Before we get into the nitty gritty, (if possible) I recommend you choose a service that has operations in the country where you live.

For instance, OFX has offices in Australia, USA, UK and NZ.

There are three very good reasons for this:

  1. Your money is safer, because it is regulated by the country you live in.
  2. Service is generally the highest (like telephone support) when there are offices in the country you live.
  3. Rates are usually the most competitive because of economies of scale (Basically the more of your country they  deal in – the better the rate they can offer)

If there is no service where you are resident then choosing one that operates in the other country you transact between is the next best thing.

Other then that choose a big one – OFX is one of my top picks.

That said, here is my step-by-step review!

Full Review

Originally owned by Macquarie Bank in Australia but more recently listed on the stock market (ASX) in 2013, OFX has operations worldwide and is fast becoming a big “fintech” success story.

First things first …

Safety and Security

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, 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.

In short, the chance OFX will lose or mishandle your money is as low as it can get from what I can reasonably tell.

How it Works


Registering with OFX is simple. The setup process is clearly outlined on the website and customer service “dealers” are there to help if you find you need any help.

Sig Up OFX

Here are the two things you have to do:

  1. Register OnlineClick here to register to check out current rates and make two transactions for free
  2. 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.

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 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.

OFX Transaction Screen

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 two main ways of funding your OFX account:

  • BPay
  • Direct Debit

BPay is by far the most popular for individuals and smaller businesses.

Direct Debit is used by bigger businesses in most cases. They also accept Poli and EFT.

Exchange rates get more and more favourable as the amount of money you transfer increases.

A nice feature though of OFX recently is that they show the rate you will get. Of course, if may change once you have logged in but in my tests it was pretty close.


It takes about 5 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.


We’ve already established that money transfer companies have better fees and rates, but customer service is where they really shine. OFX lets you make transactions both online and, unlike the banks, over the phone 24/5 (Over the weekend currency markets close).

Making transactions online has an advantage over banks as well. OFX is very transparent – letting you see exactly where your money is during each step of the process.

You can also monitor their rates live so you can make a transfer whenever the rate is best for you.

For me, monitoring the live rate is the biggest perk.

It is this level of visibility and control let me save a great deal of money.

You can check out how I saved  $2500 using OFX on a $20,000 transaction here.

You don’t have to commit to watching rates every day – simply ste up some alerts to guide you.

Either way, you’ll always save money over bank exchange rates.

Rates and Fees

Everyone likes saving money.

The Fixed Fee is one of OFX’s greatest benefits.

And the advantage of better exchange rates cannot be expressed enough. The logic here is simple: the more money you transfer, the better the exchange rate you’ll receive.

When I compare the mid-market rate and the rate I was offered by OFX on my online transaction and the difference ranges but most transactions are less than 1%.

The rate also improves for larger amounts. As for the banks, the difference is somewhere between 2% and 4%; this can be a lot when transferring big amounts.

For example, you save minimum of 3% on every transaction that is $600 per $20,000 transaction.

This combined with some simple timing I have found it is easy to save over $1000 for every $20,000 moved.

The Bottom Line

When I deal with OFX I benefit from excellent exchange rates, great customer service and speedy transaction times.

Once when a transaction got delayed (my fault) they actually gave me an even better exchange rate as compensation.

OFX continues to meet my expectations and has even gotten better over the years.

And thanks to other OFX reviews, I know I’m not the only one.

Other Reviews of OFX

What about the bad reviews?

Seeking out the one star reviews makes me think they have pretty tight standards when it comes to who they can deal with. 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. These tight rules are most likely due to all the regulations they have to satisfy. Certainly I had no worries and by far the majority did not either.

If you have a business or unusual circumstances, my advice here is to understand what they need so you can get approved quickly.

For most people it will be smooth sailing.

All in all, I am impressed with the OFX service (Get 2 free transfers when you click here and sign up) and will continue to enjoy saving load of money over a bank.

Thanks for reading!

Here are some more details

OFX and it’s background

Previously known as OzForex, OFX is a 17 year old Australian online foreign exchange and payments company. Headquartered in Sydney and listed on the stock exchange, OFX provides money transfer services to over 190 countries in 55 varying currencies starting from large agencies to individuals and small businesses. Besides Australia, it has also expanded its physical operations in USA, UK, Canada, Singapore and NZ. Probably most impressively to operate in the USA it needs to meet the regulations of each state in which it operates.

In simple terms, how does OFX work?

Transferring money through OFX is a simple 3 step process.

  1. First, the user has to register and lock in the transfer by providing the amount, currency and the recipient.
  2. Secondly, the user has to transfer the funds from his/her bank account. Keep in mind that cash, credit cards, cheques and bank drafts are not accepted.
  3. Thirdly, track your fund transfer online or through the OFX app and see your transfers getting completed within a few business days.

I understand OFX business relies on safely transferring my money but what methods exactly do they use?

OFX says it uses an efficient combination of SSL encryption, fraud prevention and identity protection methods to keep your money safe and to deliver it to the intended recipient. Password management, security questions and automatic time outs provide customer account integrity.

From a users perspective, when you use the system you will see for yourself may of these safeguards.

They also say they have a dedicated fraud prevention team is in place to detect attempts at phishing or malware. Finally a dedicated Secure Socket Layer encryption provides a secure connection while you are online, using the OFX services.

Why should I choose OFX over my bank which seems to offer a very similar service?

I consider using a bank for transferring money as a kind of “stupidity tax”.

Easy for me to say now that I have been using them for personally for over a decade. For someone considering OFX for the first time, I understand that the familiarity of using your bank is a strong motivation.

To help with this, I recommend registering with them and using one of the free transfers (see link above) to move a small amount of money so you can get familiar with service and compare the savings to your bank.

Apart from not giving your money away in the form of poor exchange rates offered and fees you should also consider that things like telephone service 24 hours a day, the ability to set rate alerts (SMS and Email) and a dedicated online platform that enables you to track the progress of your funds can add significant value.

Why should I choose OFX among all the other money transfer services? What makes it different?

Differentiating can be hard if you look at it purely based on the savings you make. Where I find OFX is a clear standout is that it has offices worldwide. The other big difference is in the online platforms they have (or not).

Offices Worldwide

As far as customer support goes, I found there is a very big difference between calling OFX and some competitors even when they all pretty much have 24 hr phone numbers – which they may do. The reason is that each country is different in terms of the different banks and how they operate and being able to speak to someone familiar with the banks in the countries where you physically located makes a big difference.

For example, when I lived in Canada the customer service person there was familiar with the bank I had and could tell me how I could most easily transfer funds to OFX and how long it typically took for fund to clear.

In Australia, every thing was different from the way to transfer funds to OFX to the time it takes for funds to move. Same for USA, UK, Hong Kong and New Zealand – in each case they will have representatives in these countries who know the ins and outs of each bank.

Is there any user identity verification while registering?

They try to automate the process as much as possible. However, in some cases the OFX customer support team will get in touch with the user to verify the identity and information. The user may need to send in additional documents as proof. All part of the process is intended maintain the overall security and integrity of OFX.

Is there a provision to cancel a transfer?

Usually a transfer is a binding contract where you give your explicit permission to OFX to initiate a monetary process. Trying to cancel a transfer might lead to financial loss. It is best for the user to contact the OFX support team immediately in such cases of emergencies.

Are there any maximum or minimum limits on the amount I need to transfer per transaction?

While there are no maximum limits on major currencies like USD, GBP, AUD, CAD, EUR, NZD, and JPY, there are limitations when it comes to regulated currencies such as Chinese Yuan (CNY), South African Rand (ZAR), and Korean Won (KRW) which are regulated by the respective governments.
The minimum amount a user needs to transfer per transaction is 250 Australian Dollars.

What are the transfer fees that I need to pay OFX?

  • For amounts less than 10,000 AUD, OFX charges a standard rate of $15 which is levied on all transactions.
  • For transferring amounts more than 10,000 AUD, OFX does not charge its users anything.

How long does it take to transfer my money to the recipient?

The time required for a complete transfer depends upon several factors including recipient’s country, currency and recipient banking networks.
While AUS to US transfers happen within the same day, AUS to China might take 3-5 days. That said you also need to take into consideration that banks at both ends will play a roll in the time taken.

Based on personal experience, even though OFX transacted the same day they got the money – it usually took 4-5 business days end to end. (You get notified as OFX receives funds and makes the transfer)

Can I track transfers that I made through OFX?

OFX will notify users regarding receipt and pay off of funds through emails. Users can also set SMS alerts from their online profiles. Payment transfers and receipts can also be tracked through the OFX mobile app after signing in.

Can I avail key facilities offered at OFX through the mobile app?

For global travellers and business travellers, the OFX app supports all the essential facilities on the go. From viewing live exchange rates, to making single or multiple transfers to contacting personal and business customer service; all the essential facilities and more can be availed. This specific app is supported on iOS v7 and above or Android Honeycomb and above.