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OFX Review

7 Things You Need to Know Before You Sign Up!

Today you’re going to find out if OFX is your best option.

Review of OFX

(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 many situations OFX is a clear leader (especially when there is no $15 fee below) but it 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.

Real Reviews

Importantly, we have dug deeper than anyone else by assessing real customer reviews particularly the negatives ones where we uncover what is important to you.

Here is the good, the bad and even the ugly, so that you can decide.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Voted #1 by Transumo.com fours 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 as we reveal below.

Click here to learn how you can get transfers through OFX fee free.

Pros

  • Physical offices globally (inc. US) = better service (very important)
  • Very competitive exchange rates (in most situations)
  • Top ranked service by 3rd party reviewers
  • Online platform + offline service option

Cons

  • Smaller amounts it can be cheaper
  • Slower bank to bank transfers only (But speed comes at a cost)
  • No cash pickup

Jump Links

  1. When it Works and When it Doesn’t
  2. The Real Transfer Costs
  3. How Does OFX Work?
  4. How Fast is OFX?
  5. What Reviews Really Say
  6. Is Your Money Safe with OFX?
  7. Is OFX the Best Service for Your Needs?

Look for “Things to Know” at the end of each point

1. When it Works and When it Doesn’t

Summary:

OFX works really well for most people in almost all situations above their minimum of $1000. Above $7000 and we think OFX is the best money transfer company and we have voted it the winner for fours years in a row – including 2020.

Below $7000, OFX fees are a lot less than banks due to their competitive exchange rates and network of 115 local banks accounts worldwide. However depending on what you want you can do better as we will show.

Lets’ get stuck into it!

Above $7000 USD / 4000 GBP /  9500 AUD/CAD / 5000 EUR is considered a large amount.

Below these amounts is a small amount for money transfer companies.

1.1 When it Works

A) Fees + Costs

Tough to beat OFX for larger transfers. OFX has been designed from the ground up for exactly this. This means that fees are excellent and actually improve (in percentage terms) as the amounts increase.

As we show  in the Real Transfer Costs section below there are four main costs.

Two of these fees are minimized and often eliminated by OFX through local bank accounts worldwide – OFX has 115 of them which pretty much covers everyone.

OFX may charge a fixed fee of $15, however if you click here you can avoid these fees all together.

The only other fee left is usually the largest and it is the exchange rate margin which we found to be very competitive especially for smaller amounts.

Of course, money transfer services need to go beyond very low fees.

For a start, you need you money to arrive in a stress free, timely way.

B) Smooth Sailing

Right from the start, when you sign up OFX gets all the necessary ID checks and other regulatory checks out of the way so that you don’t run into any worries later on.

Afterwards it is simple to login and transact.

Other services may make it a bit easier to sign up – but then run the risk of needing to freeze your account while they gather more information to meet the needs of the regulators (which can be very stressful).

C) Support

Having a good online experience is great.

Having telephone support to back up the online experience is more important especially with larger amounts!

OFX has struck a great balance between keeping as much as possible online while providing 24/7 telephone support. OFX supports an impressive network of offices in the following countries – USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

While some companies are 100% about reducing costs, OFX keeps costs low and has a physical presence in North America, Australasia and Europe/UK which can be extremely helpful when it comes to dealing with banks throughout the world.

1.2 When it Doesn’t

Let’s be clear if you need to make money transfers that are both small and large OFX is a great choice and it will be far cheaper than a bank under any circumstances.

However if you only plan of doing smaller transfers ($1000-$7000), you can often do better in terms of fees and sign-up is often a little easier too.

For smaller transfers we recommend: TransferWise (review) for bank to bank transfers or WorldRemit (review) which also has cash pickup and is generally excellent as well.

We also recommend TorFX (review) (Europe & Australasia) and XE (review) (for the Americas) if you are the type of person who would prefer to do things on the phone.

You might also like OFX Vs TransferWise

2. The Real Transfer Costs

Everyone likes saving money but it can be quite confusing trying to understand what exactly you are being charged.

To keep things simple, we logged onto our OFX account and calculated the total % costs compared with the interbank rate for major currency pairs like USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, and AUD – see chart below.

As we showed the percentage fees actually reduce as amounts increase.

This is not the whole story.

Essentially there are 4 fees to keep in mind when it comes to overall costs:

  1. Fees charged by sending bank
  2. Exchange rate you get usually includes a margin (fee)
  3. Fixed fee or percentage
  4. Fees charged by receiving bank

2.1 and 2.4 – Fees charged by banks

The fees banks often charge at each end can be significant.

These fees can be $30/£20 but usually about $15/£10 at each end.

I refer to these as hidden fees because they do tend to surprise you when you get your bank statement!

These fees are not actually collected by the money transfer company BUT money transfer companies can do a lot to minimize or eliminate them.

Fortunately OFX does.

OFX has a network of 115 local banks at the sending and receiving ends for most major currencies so they can pay into you account there without attracting any fees.

2.2 Exchange rate you get usually includes a margin (fee)

Most money transfer companies including OFX generate their income by offering a different exchange rate to the mid-market or interbank rate.

The following chart shows the cost to use OFX.

To calculate the actual costs simply multiply the amount by the percentage and divide by 100.

OFX Exchange Rate Fees as a Percentage
OFX Cost for a Major Currency Pair (Please Note: Results may vary depending on the currency pairs, countries and the amount. Last checked April 2020)

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 0.6% which for larger amounts is 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.

2.3 – Fixed fee or percentage

Many money transfer companies charge a small fixed fee. OFX does sometimes 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.

You might also like OFX Fees

Thing to Know 1: Transfer larger amounts to minimize total costs.

3. How does OFX Work?

3.1 Setup

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:

1. Register Online – to check the rates for your currency pairing. (Use the link above to avoid the $15 fees if applicable for ever)
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.

3.2 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.

What an OFX transaction looks likeIt is as simple as logging into your account, selecting the currencies and amount.

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.

3.3 Tracking your Funds

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.”

4. How Fast is OFX?

When it comes to speed, OFX is as good as any other for bank to bank transfers.

When it comes to bank to bank transfers a lot depends on the banks at either ends. Typically they will take a day or two to clear funds.

The amount of time OFX has with your money is minimal and usually measured in hours.

If speed is critical, you can “wire” the money to OFX from the sending bank. The bank will usually charge an additional fee compared for this, but this can increase speed to just a day or two.

5. What Reviews Really Say

OFX Review AnalysisThe best way to learn about a service is to dig deep into real user reviews especially the negative ones, especially when your money is literally on the line.

Overall we found OFX to be top notch and with a rating of 4.2/5 and almost 4000 reviews on TrustPilot many reviewers thought it was “great” too.

OFX users focus on solid performance, excellent customer service with reassuring email and SMS follow ups.

Solid performance and excellent customer service

OFX has been delivering the service I need consistently. Every interaction I’ve had with their staff has been professional and helpful. The way that they monitor and inform me about my transactions is very reassuring. After poor experiences with lower end companies I am so pleased to have the team at OFX working for me.

says Michael Pearson

Many reviewers also comment on the great exchange rates.

But how about the 8% (one or two-star reviews) who had a negative experience?

We trawled through hundreds of reviews to figure out what went wrong, and found three points that will help you.

5.1 Account verification delays

Some OFX users were unable to initiate transfers because the account verification process took longer than anticipated.

OFX generally verifies your documents submitted during registration fairly quickly. But sometimes they may require additional documents (like recipient ID and bank statements), which may take about 4-5 days more.

This is because OFX lets you send large amounts of money (from $1,000 USD to $2 billion!), which calls for regular scrutiny to prevent fraud or money laundering.

The benefits of this are huge compared with many competitors who regularly freeze accounts once you get over a about $7000 USD or 4000 GBP or $9500 CAD/AUD.

5.2 Delayed or slow transfers

Some users were also concerned about slow or unprecedented delays in transfers.

We narrowed it down to three reasons:

5.2.1 The bank at the receiver’s end may need to make sure the transfers is in line with local and international currency transfer regulations. So, even if OFX sends the money through, the recipient’s bank can take 1-2 business days to verify and process the transfer.

5.2.2 Transfers in major currencies such as USD, GBP, AUD, CAD, EUR, NZD, and JPY usually get processed quickly (within 1-2 business days). But transfers in regulated currencies (such as Chinese Yuan, South African Rand, or Korean Won, etc.) or to less popular markets may lead to delays (3-5 business days). You may also see some delays if you’re initiating a transfer over a holiday or on weekends.

5.2.3 Transfers can also be delayed if any detail (yours or your recipient’s) is incorrect or missing.

These three issues which slow or delay transfers are common in the industry and are more an issue of understanding how it work than anything else. (See How Fast above)

5.3 Blocked accounts

A handful of users complained their accounts were blocked when initiating a transaction. As a regulated financial service provider, OFX still needs to do things by the book and from what we could tell many issues related to issues that were easily resolved.

For example;

  • You need to make sure that you’re not initiating business transactions from a personal account.
  • You also need to have linked your own bank account with your OFX account (transactions will be blocked if you link a friend or family member’s account to fund transfers).

Generally most people avoid these issues but now that you know what can cause issues, it is less likely going to happen to you.

6. Is Your Money Safe with OFX?

In today’s financial markets (2020) this question is particularly important to answer.

We think it needs to be answered in two parts.

  • Can you trust OFX?
  • Will they still be around in years to come?

6.1 Can you trust OFX?

OFX is one of the oldest pioneers of modern money transfers and have been operating since 1988 (previously known as OzForex). They have physical presence (offices) all over the world and have facilitated over $100 billion in transactions till date. Plus, they are regulated in 5 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, and Canada.

OFX holds your funds separately from its own operational funds. This ensures you get your money back if they ever shut down.

Other than that, OFX relies on industry leading digital encryption, trained staff, as well as regular automated and manual audits to keep your money and personal information safe.

6.2 Will they still be around in years to come?

Despite everyone’s best intentions (most the time) companies that have large amounts of debt or require funding could easily not exist in the years to come.

According to public documents (they are listed on the ASX Stock Exchange) OFX has zero debt generating profits year on year with strong growth particularly in the US.

7. Is OFX the Best Service for Your Needs?

In our opinion, there is no one service best for everyones needs.

Where OFX shines for almost everyone is in large transfers. They strike a balance between keeping costs low as possible and providing the online and most importantly the offline service (telephone) needed to ensure your money arrives smoothly and safely.

Of course it helps when you can have the $15 fee removed from each transaction.

As we showed, they still do well with smaller transfers (compared to banks), but if all you are doing is smaller transfers from a cost point of view you can do a little better and don’t need to jump through some of the regulatory hurdles OFX requires.

As far as their negative reviews go they seem to form a pattern which suggests they are sticklers for the rules. Given the additional benefits that come with being one of the most regulated companies in the world, we find ourselves thinking that perhaps negatives are really positives.

What we also like in today’s uncertain times is that OFX is almost certainly going to be around for many years, probably decades to come.

Happy Transfers!

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