Home > OFX Review: Are they a safe way to transfer money abroad?

OFX Expert Review

OFX is a leading currency broker offering currency services to more than 55 countries around the world. Originally known as OzForex, it was launched by Matthew Gilmour in 1998 as an information only website. Since then, it has grown rapidly handling more than AUD$150bn transfers with more than a million customers worldwide.

The platform offers a range of services to individuals, small and medium sized businesses as well as a platform for online sellers, who use online marketplaces to sell their goods. It is a partner of the Amazon Payment Services Provider Program designed to protect both sellers and buyers online from fraud.

Using a global currency account, they promise to deliver the benefits of a local bank account in global markets such as the US, UK, Europe, Australia and Hong Kong. They can be particularly useful for any firm selling to foreign-based customers who need an account in a specific currency.

Their main point of difference is their cost. They promise no exchange fees, or transaction fees for transfers over $10,000 unless working through third parties, and a highly competitive exchange rate.

OFX Exchange Rates, Charges & Fees

OFX is pretty transparent about what fees they pay. They have a promise of no exchange rate fees and offer highly competitive exchange rates. These vary depending on how much you intend to transfer but seem to be around 0.4%.

0 – 1,000 0.4%
1,000 to 10,000 0.4%
10,000 to 100k 0.4%
100k to 500k 0.4%
500k to 1m 0.35%
Over 1m 0.35%

For smaller transfers they charge a flat fee of $15, but this ends at $10,000 beyond which they charge no fee at all. The more you’re willing to send the better value they become.

They bill themselves as being much more open and transparent than traditional suppliers. Many extract substantial charges in the form of transaction fees, margins and other hidden costs. This can lead to customers receiving substantially less than they might have been expected.

Providers such as OFX are more affordable and more transparent. They are, though, not the only provider to operate in this way. A number of others such as Wise, XE.com, TorFX and Currencies Direct make a similar offer. Which one is best for you often depends on how much you’re sending and the type of transaction you’re looking to make.

OFX Money Transfers

You can transfer money to more than 55 countries in 21 currencies as standard including the United Arab Emirates Dirham, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Swiss Franc, Danish Kroner, Euro Pound Sterling Hong Kong Dollar, Hungarian Forint, Israeli Shekel, Japanese Yen, Mexican Peso, Norwegian Kroner, New Zealand Dollar, Polish Zloty, Swedish Kroner, Singapore Dollar, Thailand Baht, Turkish Lira, US Dollar, South African Rand. They also offer a wide selection of exotic currencies including the Czech Karuna, Sri Lankan Rupee and the Kuwaiti Dinar, among others. You can see a full overview of their currencies, here.
At around 55 they offer a reasonable selection of currencies – significantly more than Wise for example and only slightly less (60) than XE, but there are some significant omissions such as parts of Africa and South America such as Argentina, Nigeria and Brazil. While you can only send money in Chinese Yuan if you have a business account.
You’ll pay a standard fee of $15 for transfers lower than $10,000 at a competitive exchange rate. Anything over $15 will have no fee. They take a small margin on the exchange rate, but this falls as transfer totals increase. This makes it competitive against other major low-cost providers with Wise charging 1% for transfers from the US and 0.5% for most others. XE, meanwhile, charges just £2 for all international transfers under £250 with anything over being free.

OFX Customer Support

OFX offers a multi-channel customer support option encompassing the web, email, phone and social media. They have 24/7call center support for Australia, Canada, France, Germany, HongKong, Ireland, Singapore, Spain, the USA and the UK. They also suggest contacting them by email at: [email protected]ofx.com or contacting them on their Facebook and Twitter pages.
You contact transfer money over the phone in which case you’ll have to speak to a dealer who can provide support. This is a popular option for larger sums where you may want a more personalised approach.

They also point you to online support at their website, but this is relatively limited and mostly takes the form of FAQs and blogs. There is no online chat support option.

OFX Live Exchange Rates

OFX provides a comprehensive set of live exchange rates for the following currencies:
Australian dollar, Canadian Dollar, GBP, Euro, Dollar, New Zealand Dollar, Norwegian Krone, Swiss Franc and the South African Rand. These are updated throughout the day and provide you with an indication of the gross exchange rates before any deductions or fees are made. These are important as they allow you to view the fluctuation of exchange rates throughout a single day giving you a more transparent idea of how much you can expect to receive.

This is a similar option to that offered by many of their competitors such as XE.com which also have a lot of information about currency rates.

In addition to this they offer additional content in the form of a currency report, as well as check individual graphs for specific currencies. This comes as part of their blog which provides information about the company as well as general advice about money matters.

OFX Currencies

OFX offers a total of 55 currencies with 21 being listed as standard. Others, such as the Chinese Yuan, are down as being exotics. They have some patchy coverage in South America and Africa with the Argentinian peso, Brazilian Real and Nigerian naira among some notable absentees.
The most popular, according to their website include the AUD, GBP, EUR, USD, CAD, Polish Zloty, Pakistani Rupee, HKD and the NZD. This puts it in the middle range with slightly fewer currencies than XE and a little more than Currencies Direct with 40.

OFX App

For those who want to transfer money on the go the OFX app is a great choice. It is available for download onto Android and Apple devices free of charge. This allows you to make single transfers, keep track of transactions, view exchange rates, add and review recipients, contact business and personal contact desks, view current and historical exchange charge, keep up with the latest news and register for an account via the mobile site.
You can also transfer money direct from their website on your desktop computer, or through a telephone dealing service which gives it a useful point of difference against some of its online only competitors.
For most online providers, an app has become almost a must have. Like its competitors it is simple and relatively easy to use offering a similar level of service you’d expect from the main website. Where it excels is in the amount of supplemental information it offers via its currency reports, latest news and historical currency data.

OFX Online Platform

OFX makes it quick and simple to register and send money online. All you need to do is register for an account, supply any additional verification information they require and let them know how much you want to send, in what currency and to where. You then deposit the funds, and they will make the transfer. It should clear within one or two working days.

It offers a similar service to the app, with the ability to track the progress of payments online so you know exactly what is happening and when.

Overall, it’s a relatively robust service, however the need to register makes it a little slower and more cumbersome than other services which make it much faster to exchange money as and when you need to. With dedicated accounts designed for personal and business customers, it is also a particularly good service for small businesses and those selling online.

OFX Business Account

The OFX account offers an affordable personalised service designed to help businesses manage their foreign currency exposure. Their service is much less expensive than a traditional bank, meaning they can offer considerable savings for those regularly making international money transfers.
They offer several different options depending on the nature of your business:

  • For small businesses who make frequent exchanges up to €1million a year.
  • Medium businesses looking to transfer more than €1million.
  • Online sellers using online marketplaces who want accounts in specific currencies to receive payments.
  • Partner program for those who need access to a currency exchange platform.

Their business accounts offer more functionality than their personal including support from their experts, ability to set up payments for overseas staff and the use of options such as forward contracts and limit orders to mitigate exposure to currency fluctuation.

OFX Euro Exchange Rate

The cost of sending money in euros fluctuates throughout the day. OFX provides currency charts providing the latest exchange rates and will make your transaction based on the latest mid-market rates. They promise no exchange fees for transactions over $10,000 and competitive exchange rates based on a sliding scale starting at 2% and becoming progressively cheaper the more you transfer. Other apps such as Wise, XE.com and Currencies Direct make the same promise of low transfer fees based on the most up to the minute exchange rates. However, each one will vary a little as rates fluctuate depending on the amount transferred.
At the time of writing, if you transfer £10,000 you would receive €11,595. This compares favourably against XE.com which would deliver €11,533.

OFX US Dollar Exchange Rate

OFX offers fast transfers into dollars with transactions normally taking between one and two working days. They promise no OFX transfer fee, with competitive exchange rates, but these can vary during the day. At the time of writing transferring £10,000 would mean the recipient getting $14,053. XE.COM, meanwhile would deliver $13,984. In terms of price, therefore, OFX performs well, even against other low-cost providers, although the difference is small. The real value comes when comparing it to average bank transfers which are full of additional fees and offer a much less favourable interest rate.

OFX Security & Regulation

As a multinational company, OFX requires multinational regulation. They are licensed by ASIC in their native Australia, FINTRAC in Canada, FINCEN in the USA, FCA in the UK as well as Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand. This is important as it provide an additional level of reassurance that the service is safe, reputable, reliable and comes with certain consumer protections. Here in the UK for example, regulation by the FCA not only ensures a certain level of standards, but it protects consumer funds under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This protects all consumer funds up to a limit of £85,000.

Advantages

  • Easy to use and to navigate.
  • Extensive 24/7 customer support with teams available in support offices around with world covering multiple languages.
  • It’s one of the biggest companies in the business offering extensive coverage thanks to its banking network offering fast, reliable and secure transactions.
  • Has transactions available 24/7 within one or two working days. They also offer prompt, fast and friendly help.
  • An information-rich website offers plenty of help about making transactions.
  • Offers daily currency reports allowing you to track the latest movements.

Disadvantages

  • Governance: Overall it has excellent customer service reviews. However, one of the few areas of complaint seem to come from people who feel it has been over eager at closing accounts on suspicion of fraud.
  • Languages: The site is only available in English which could be a problem if you come from one of the many non-English speaking countries, they say they can offer.
  • Lack of flexibility: You can only transfer money electronically using a bank transfer. You will not be able to make credit or debit card payments. In addition, it does not offer cash pick up which does not make it ideal for immigrants sending money to friends and family back home.

OFX Alternatives

Although OFX compares its costs against banks, its real competition lies with other, online money transfer companies which offer the same deal of fast transactions at a low cost. These include:

  • XE.com: Like OFX this is a large and established company. They have no fees and charge similar exchange rates to OFX.
  • Wise: The platform formerly known as Transferwise is one of the most popular options out there. It’s a peer-to-peer money transfer service so works in a slightly different way to OFX. It has a strong reputation for its fast transaction speeds and low rates.
  • TorFX: With no transfer fees it offers great exchange rates for larger transaction amounts. It is also licensed to give personalised advice.
  • Currencies Direct: A currency broker founded in 1996 which offers fast affordable money exchange services.

Although they all have similar strengths of good customer service, low cost and fast speeds, they all have different features which make them better in certain situations. OFX has a sliding scale of fees which makes it cheaper for larger transfer amounts. It also offers the option of telephone dealing which many do not as well as online transactions. For larger sums, people might enjoy being able to talk to a dealer to straighten out any difficulties.

Wise, for example, is a much cheaper option for smaller amounts, while XE offers an extremely wide reach. OFX, meanwhile, is a good option for ecommerce businesses looking to buy and sell products with the benefits of a local currency account. When choosing any of these options you should consider your specific requirements and how each option matches up against them.

OFX Ratings
  • Exchange Rates
    (4.5)
  • Available Currencies
    (4.5)
  • Online Platform
    (4.5)
  • Customer Service
    (5)
  • Research & Analysis
    (4)
4.5

Summary

OFX is one of the largest and most trusted currency brokers for large transfers with offices in more than 55 countries around the world. A good choice for sending large amounts of currency internationally.

Pros

  • Bank beating exchange rates
  • Personal service
  • Online or telephone transfers

Cons

Better for larger transfers

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