Sending your money overseas can be a stress faced by many Americans and foreigners living in the US.
Please see OFX Review, as USForex has changed its name.
Did you know that hidden fees and terrible exchange rates are standard when using your bank and can be avoided simply by signing up to a service like USForex?
Hopefully, but really that is only half the story!
We all know banks provide very average customer service.
And that comes at a huge cost when you are sending money globally.
This is because customer service = piece of mind. For example, five days after you sent your money and it has not arrived, who are you gunna call?
Not Ghostbusters and not your bank either… (sorry, could not help myself)
So does USForex give us what we need?
- Excellent Service
- Great Exchange Rates
- Low or No Fees
- Safety and Security
Quickly, who the heck am I?
My name is Quinn.
I was born in B.C. Canada and have been fortunately to have travelled and lived in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
Now after living with my wife and 2 kids in North America for 10 years, we decided to sell our house and move back to Australia (again).
More importantly to you – right now, one of my my goals is to find out who does the best job at transferring our families money and not loose a good chunk in the process. This review is designed to help you find a great service without going to all the trouble of comparing all the different services.
For the purposes of my reviews, I am only be focusing on services that have operations in the countries where you live.
There are three very good reasons for this:
1. Your money is safe, because it is covered by the regulations in the US
2. Service standards are usually highest when the service has offices in the US
3. Rates can be most competitive because of economies of scale (Basically the more USD these guys deal in – the better the rate they can offer)
First let me say, I am very familiar with USForex. I have been using OzForex and CanadianForex (which owns USForex) for over 10 years and they share exactly the same platform.
This review is a renewed in-depth review of USForex.
For the purposes of this review I opened a brand new account and documented everything so you can get the good, the bad and decide for yourself.
First something lest look at something very important…
Safety and Security
As I already mentioned, using USForex for your international money transfers is no less safe than using any of the local banks. The safety is also guaranteed by the recent laws that were introduced by the federal government in February 2014. Nowadays, the US regulations of this matter are compiled under the Frank-Dodd financial regulation law. Besides the law, every state has its own ways of regulating money transfer companies.
Such companies that operate oversees are required to meet certain requirement for the anti-money laundering laws among the other regulations of the other countries.
The final goal of these regulations is to make the companies fully responsible for protecting their customers. As a result, no money transfer company would actually put themselves at the risk of losing your money.
The conclusion is that the risk of losing your money is super low.
How it Works
The set-up process is quite easy. The website, along with the customer support service team (if required), will guide you through the whole process. Basically, there are two things that you need to do:
- Register Online (clicking this link will give you two free transfers – usually you get only one)
- Verify Identity
Registering includes these basics steps. Due to local legislation and compliance requirements, USForex needs to confirm your identity. This can be done by email or, in some cases, automatically.
In my case, I had to send the information by email. There is nothing complicated with verifying your identity. All I had to do was take a screen shot (click to see how) of my bank account online and send it as a reply to the email from the USForex customer service team member.
There was no need to include transaction details; the recent statement with name, account number, date and bank logo on it was more than enough.
After that, I just scanned my driver’s license (a photo taken with a smartphone is also valid). I also filled out a “Direct Debit” form and sent it through with everything else, but that is not a requirement.
The whole process took only few minutes and was really simple.
USForex also has electronic checking facilities and if you are lucky enough you will not need to send anything as they may be able to active your account immediately.
USForex offers you two options of topping up your account:
1. Direct Debit
2. US Wire Transfer
The Direct Debit requires you to fill out a special form to authorize your further transactions, but once you have set it up, it is super easy and completely free. So, the benefits of this method are obvious, the only disadvantage might be that you are limited by $25k for your first transaction and $50 for the next ones.
US Forex also offer a “penny test” for extra security. The way that it works is that they send you a small amount and wait for you to verify that you received the money.
Next, we have the wire transfer method, which allows you to transfer larger amounts, but is not free. With US Wire Transfer, you are paying a fee to your bank ($25 in my case). When you have to transfer large sum ($50k) this might be the only option for you, but it is still better than getting ripped off by the hidden fees of the banks.
Plus, US Forex offers better exchange rate as the amount increases.
Once I had the money on my US Forex account, it took only three days to reach my Australian bank account. It was easy to monitor as I received email notifications on every step of the process. (It is optional though, you can also disable the email notifications.) This was several days faster than my previous bank-to-bank transfers. Don’t forget that it may take an additional day or two for your bank to get the money to your US Forex.
Rates and fees of the money transfer companies are impressive, but service is where they completely take over the banks. Us Forex provides not only 24/7 online transactions, but phone based ones as well; it can be really convenient at times. You can call any time and expect the answer on the other end.
Online transactions can also have its benefits. US Forex gives you an opportunity to observe each step of your transactions and request email alert every time something is done. Compared to the banks that always give you the worst rate possible, you can save plenty of money by monitoring the “live rate”.
It was one of the greatest benefits for me; I managed to save a lot of extra money with such level of control and communication. To be exact, I saved $1220 on a $20,000 transaction following my own advice.
If you feel too lazy to watch the rate all day, you can easily save money simply by using money Transfer Company like US Forex.
Rates and Fees
Saving money is definitely something that makes me happy, but what really excites me is not giving it to my bank.
The fixed fee is one of the best parts of the US Forex; it ensures that there are no hidden fees on the other end. But, what makes it truly awesome are the exchange rates that can save you thousands of dollars in the end.
There is a simple logic behind the US Forex exchange rate – “the more you transfer, the better the rate”; that is how it was explained to me.
I compared the mid-market rate and the rate I was offered by US Forex on my online transaction and the difference was 0.9%. Keep in mind that the rate 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. To be precise, you save minimum of 2% on every transaction that is $400 per $20,000 transaction.
Trusted Reviews from Others
Before giving my full endorsement I like to make sure I am not the only one having a good experience. There are loads of review sites out there the key is know which ones to trust.
Better Business Bureau – BBB.org is an organisation the registers complaints and reviews and is a great place to start. The only thing I could find here was a complaint saying that they did not get a $50 gift certificate. The complaint was also resolved, but most importantly no mentions of bad customer service or bad rates mentioned.
Reviewcenter seems to be the most comprehensive site for USForex with 104 reviews.
Here are their results:
Compared to Xoom which is a leader in the industry (usually small amounts) with over 6000 reviews – They got 4.4/5 and 90% of users recommend their service, which is pretty awesome but in my opinion there is a big difference between 96% and 90% wanting to use the service. That presumably means 4% or 10% would not recommend it.
The Bottom Line
From my previous experience with the company I was expecting a great rate, awesome service and fast transactions and I have to say I was not disappointed.
USForex has stood up to my high expectations so far.
Other reviewers also agree with my assessment.
What could I possibly complain about?
Well it would be better to avoid the paperwork, but that is just US legislation and there is probably nothing USForex or any other service can do about that and in the end it is to our benefit anyway I figure.
Anyways, it is not a big of a deal if you consider all the other benefits.
Overall, I was very pleased with USForex and will continue to use them personally.
If you feel like sharing your experience saving money or asking any questions, please do not hesitate to comment below.
Thanks for reading!