8 Must Knows Before You Sign Up
It is true, OFX and Wise (formerly TransferWise) are both great options for transferring money overseas.
But can you swap out one for the other? 🤔
We don’t think so.
That’s because while they do have some common features, there are some important elements that set them far apart.
In the next few minutes, you will find which one will stand out over the other for your specific needs.
Let’s get stuck into it!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which can save you money! For more information, see my disclosures here.
- Who Can Get One?
- Costs and Fees (+ Hidden Fees?)
- Ways to Send Money
- Payout Methods
- Transfer Speed
- Reviews (inc. Negative Ones)
- Customer Service and Support
Below these amounts is a small amount for money transfer companies.
TransferWise and OFX are far cheaper than banks but stand apart. Below $7000 USD, TransferWise is hard to beat for it’s transparency and excellent service online. Above $7000 USD and OFX comes into its own with diminishing fees and a combination of online and telephone support.
Above $7000 USD / 4000 GBP / 9500 AUD/CAD / 5000 EUR is considered a large amount.
These fundamental differences can be explained by how they work.
How OFX Works
OFX enables you to send money bank-to-bank by phone or online through desktop or mobile. If you do it by phone (24/7) you will find a “dealer” who you will find is effective at answering any questions you have and ensuring everything runs smoothly.
Alternately most people do it all online and in this case you will find a simple but effective platform. Most the time you won’t test OFX’s abilities and that is a good thing.
However, especially with large amounts, occasionally extra help is needed, mostly because of the banks involved and suddenly those friendly dealers become the reason why we recommend OFX highly for larger amounts.
All this valuable human support however can come at a cost for smaller transactions and while they reduce the percentage they charge in fees as the amounts grow (see below) the $15 fixed fee is designed to cover some of the costs for smaller amounts.
This $15 though can be removed here forever on all transactions!
More about how these dealers can help is found in Customer Service and Support (below).
How TransferWise Works
TransferWise is focused on bank-to-bank transfers through their excellent online platform with telephone support for troubleshooting. Ridiculous transparency on their low fees where you can see exactly what you will pay using their widget here before you set up a transfer, in combination with great customer service makes them a highly recommended for smaller amounts.
They also have a modern and seamless online experience which makes everything from sign-up to transfers including regular email notifications a joy to use.
Both TransferWise and OFX are very competitive on fees. TransferWise says it is up to 8x cheaper than banks, but it does vary between different currencies and different amounts.
In our testing (and real life use) we found that both TransferWise and OFX are a indeed just a fraction of the costs.
- TransferWise – 0.4% to 1%
- OFX – 0.4% to 2%
- Banks –3% to 7%
- PayPal – 6% to 8%
- Other Excellent International Money Transfer Companies – 0.4%-1.8%
TransferWise has an edge on OFX for smaller amounts where OFX charges a little more, but for larger amounts OFX comes into it own as they reduce the percentage they charge in fees as amounts increase. Above $7000 USD we recommend OFX because of their international customer support network.
Other Cool Stuff
TransferWise also offers a multi-currency wallet and a prepaid Mastercard debit card when you sign up for TransferWise Borderless (review). This gives you a bit more flexibility to hold, transfer, and receive money like a local.
Plus, with a Borderless account, you also get international bank details in major currencies such as USD, CAD, GBP, EUR, AUD, and NZD.
We have slightly different recommendations to this video as you will see, but it does provide great overall information. Both companies are also regulated and operate throughout the world including the US, Canada, UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
|OFX is available in Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada, UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong and they let you transfer money to 190 countries worldwide.||You can sign up for TransferWise in 69 countries and send money to 60 countries worldwide.|
However, the TransferWise Borderless card is only available in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and USA.
TransferWise is widely available (more sender countries) while OFX supports more receiver countries.
So which among the two is right for you?
It comes down to where you’re located, where you want to send money, and how much money you want to send (The next section will make it clearer for you).
|If you don’t use this or one of the links on this page, OFX may charge a flat $15 fee on all transfers below USD 10,000 + a margin on the exchange rate.|
In fact, their margin on the exchange rate decreases as the amount goes up and they charge no transfer fees for transfers above $10,000.
OFX has no maximum limits (daily or monthly) for transferring money locally or internationally.
This makes OFX ideal for moving large amounts especially when you consider the added phone support which can make transactions run far more smoothly.
|TransferWise’s fees depends on the transfer amount, target currency, and how you fund your account.|
Typically, TransferWise charges a small percentage (0.4 to 1%) of the amount and helps you initiate transfers at the mid market rate.
TransferWise doesn’t charge a margin on the exchange rate, which makes them ideal for smaller transfers ($7,000 USD and below).
Winner: Tie (depends on your needs)
TransferWise is the most affordable option of the two in most cases if you transfer smaller amounts. With no minimum amount and very low transparent fees.
On the other hand, while OFX can transfer smaller amounts (minimum $1000) much cheaper than a bank, it is designed for sending large amounts ($7,000 USD and above) with no transfer fees over $10,000 and diminishing margins on the exchange rate as amounts grow.
Some money transfer companies are not great at helping you to avoid some rather steep and often unexpected fees that the banks at either end of the transaction can charge.
However, one of the reasons we recommend both TransferWise and OFX is because they are dedicated to having local bank accounts in all the areas they service. This means they can often reduce these fees to zero or very low.
Transfers funded by a credit card on TransferWise do cost a bit more, but these fees are built into the total fees charged by the service. In fact, you’ll see the total amount your recipient will get before you initiate the transfer.
Overall, both services strive to be awesome in every way and fees is no exception.
You might also like TransferWise VS CurrencyFair if smaller transfers are all you are planning to do and you want the absolute lowest cost service.
|OFX supports transfers to 190 countries worldwide in 50+ currencies.||TransferWise supports 20 currencies for international transfers and 30 currencies for local transfers.|
Check out the full list here.
But with TransferWise Borderless, you can expand your reach for local and international transfers.
Both OFX and TransferWise are at par here, with minor differences.
But OFX does support more receiver countries, which makes it a winner in this category.
|OFX supports||TransferWise supports|
TransferWise offers a lot of flexibility for funding your transfers.
While funding with a card can be more expensive on TransferWise (compared to a bank direct debit), they manage to keep the fees low by not charging a margin on the exchange rate.
|OFX supports bank to bank transfers only.||TransferWise also supports bank to bank transfers only, but the do allow you to fund transfers using a credit or debit card (for a fee).|
If your recipient has a bank account, you can’t go wrong with either OFX or TransferWise.
But if you’re looking for cash pickup and other payout methods, check out WorldRemit (review).
|3-5 days||2-5 days|
Both OFX and TransferWise are strong performers when it comes to bank-to-bank transfers.
TransferWise however does allow you to use a credit or debit card to fund the transaction, which while coming at an additional cost, does mean you can save a day or two.
The reality of bank-to-bank transfers is that the time taken by the banks at either end is far more significant than the time it usually takes to convert your money.
In both cases they usually will not be holding your money for more than a day.
For example, TransferWise says, “Every currency and country is different. Converting your money can take a maximum of 2 working days, but it’s very rare that it takes this long.”
In our experience, both take a day or less (often just hours) to make the exchange which is no doubt helped by the significant volumes they both do in major currencies. For smaller currencies/countries you may find they need a little more time is needed.
You might also like TransferWise VS PayPal to see how PayPal compares.
|OFX is rated 4.2/5 on TrustPilot with 3,500+ reviews.|
80% had an “Excellent” experience and 10% had a “Good” experience with them.
Their users loved the fast and efficient service as well as the excellent phone support provided by their customer service team.
But 6% of their users also had a “bad,” experience and we were keen to find out why.
On digging deep, we found that the top causes of dissatisfaction were delayed or slow transfers and unexpected account blocks.
Usually, transfers are slow if you’re converting and sending in regulated currencies (such as Chinese Yuan, South African Rand, or Korean Won, etc.), if you’re sending money over a weekend, or there are any missing details.
And, as a regulated financial services provider, OFX conducts regular audits to make sure the transfers are processed in line with their scope of service. This means your transfer can be blocked if you’re initiating a business transfer from a personal account or vice versa.
Check out our full review of OFX here.
|TransferWise is rated 4.6/5 on Trustpilot with over 86,000 reviews.|
86% of their users had an “Excellent” experience and 8% had a “Good” experience with them.
TransferWise users love their transparent fee structure, affordable rates, and easy-to-use online interface.
However, 3% of users had a “bad” experience with them, which were due to transfer delays and unexpected account suspensions.
TransferWise tries to process your transfer requests as soon as possible, and usually the hold ups are caused by the banks at either end, who also need to audit the transfers.
As for account suspensions, TransferWise needs to check for compliance with local and international transfer policies, as a regulated financial services provider.
But the good news is they aim to resolve these issues as quickly as possible to make sure your money reaches your recipient without unnecessary delays.
Here is what really matters.
Relative to their competitors, both OFX and TransferWise are both great examples of keeping issues to a minimum and having a customer-centric approach to solving problems.
While regulation is mostly a good thing, it can cause unexpected delays, but this is the same with any money transfer service. The key here is you don’t have to worry if you hit a bump in the road.
|OFX can be reached by email or via their location-specific phone numbers (available 24x7).|
They are particularly known for providing excellent support over the phone, whether you need to set up a transfer or if you need any other information related to your transfer.
They also have a fairly extensive FAQs section on their website.
|TransferWise’s customer service team can be reach via phone, email, or live chat (depending on their workload).While they don’t offer phone support to set up transfers, their Help section has country-specific guides that can answer all your questions.|
Their customer service team also has a reputation of going out of their way to help users out if they ever face a bottle neck.
While both services are known for excellent customer service, OFX has the leg up here for providing phone support to their users while setting up transfers.
This can be particularly useful to folks who don’t want to handle everything online. It also means for larger transfers they are our top pick because dealing with a real human often ensures smooth transfers.
On the other hand, we recommend TransferWise for smaller transfers because it keeps its costs lower and online platform is usually more efficient for smaller transfers.
If you want to do everything by telephone however TorFX (review) is well worth a look.
With 6 ties, 1 win for OFX, and 1 for Wise (was TransferWise), it’s safe to say that both are stellar currency transfer providers. Truthfully you will be hard pressed to beat either of these.
But there can be only one winner!
And there is, but it comes down to the amount you want to send.
In short, OFX provides the confidence needed (see reviews above) for large transfers but the online platform of TransferWise and it’s wonderful transparency on fees and notifications makes them a joy to use otherwise.
Fees are also an important factor of course.
TransferWise also has the added advantage of setting you up with a multi-currency wallet and a pre-paid MasterCard debit card when you sign up for TransferWise Borderless (a no brainer if you’re an expat, long term traveller, or have do business overseas).
So which service is best for you ultimately comes down to your specific needs.
In reality, you might want to open an account with both and simply use the service right for the amount you want to send.
That is what we do.