OFX is a cross-border money transfer service that provides a convenient way to move money between countries and currencies for very cheap.
With fast transfer speeds, excellent customer support, and the lowest fees in the industry on most transfers, OFX is the best cross-border money transfer service for most people.
OFX is the best, cheapest way to send money internationally.
Since being founded in 1998, OFX has specialized in cross-border money transfers and foreign currency exchange around the world. OFX has transferred more than €100 billion since its inception, processes more than 3,000 transfers per day, works with more than 55 currencies in over 190 countries, and consistently gets top reviews by users and industry experts alike. Its fees are always fully transparent, and you can track each of your transfers every step of the way.
How Does OFX Work? The Basics
- Fees: 5/5
- Speed: 4/5
- Customer Support: 5/5
- Overall: 4.7/5
- Fees: 0.2% – 1.0%
- Transfer Options: Bank account (via OFX’s website or app) to 190+ countries
- Customer Support Options: Phone, email
- Transfer Speeds: Average of 2-3 business days
- Recommended: Highly
Who Uses OFX?
Here are the four most common use cases OFX users find themselves in (of course, there are many, many more):
You receive an income from abroad and need to keep a bank account in the country you’re receiving the income from. Rather than keep your funds in that account, you prefer to have them all in your main bank account, so you use OFX to send a transfer to yourself. (See Case Study #2 below to see how Hana uses OFX to save 60% on her transfer fees in this exact scenario).
You have an N26 account so that you can withdraw cash from any ATM in the world for free, but you need to add money into that account, so you use OFX to send a transfer to yourself.
You have family or friends living abroad (or you live abroad and you have family and friends living in your home country) and you plan to transfer money to them.
You’re making an international investment and don’t want to get hammered by an unknown exchange rate that the receiving bank will apply to your funds.
These are just a few of the common use cases for OFX, but they give a fairly good idea of how frequently OFX will be able to save you money if you deal with foreign currencies in any capacity.
How Does OFX Compare With TransferWise?
When many people think of sending money across borders today, they immediately think of TransferWise. Let’s compare OFX with TransferWise on the three most important aspects of an international money transfer service: fees, speed and customer support.
As you’ll see in the two case studies below, OFX’s fees are regularly quite a bit less than TransferWise’s. This doesn’t mean they’re always lower—no cross-border money transfer service can claim to have the lowest fees all of the time—but if you compare OFX with TransferWise or any other cross-border money transfer service, you’ll quickly see that OFX offers the lowest fees in the industry on most transfers.
This map shows where OFX (orange) and TransferWise (blue) have lower fees on a $500 USD transfer coming from the United States. It’s worth noting that most of the TransferWise (blue) countries were won by default, since OFX doesn’t deal with the local currency (for example, the Bulgarian lev and the Ukrainian hryvnia), while none of the OFX (orange) countries were won by default. Grey countries (eg. Serbia) are where neither TransferWise nor OFX operate in the local currency, or countries that are outside of Europe.
TransferWise advertises that most of its transfers take 1-2 business days, but this is only once your transfer balance has reached their accounts. Put another way, this estimate from TransferWise doesn’t include the necessary 1-3 days it takes for your bank to get the money to them, which means that the “real” transfer time is several days longer. I looked back on my own TransferWise transfers over the past ~3 years and discovered that my average transfer with them took 3.6 business days from start to finish. This was in a variety of amounts and to/from a variety of different currencies, with US dollars and Canadian dollars to Euros being the most common.
OFX takes an average of about 3 business days from start to finish as well, making the two services relatively even when it comes to speed.
Customer Support: Winner—OFX
Both TransferWise and OFX have smart, capable customer support agents that treat you like a human being, not someone at the other end of a customer service script. They’re both creative and helpful in solving problems, and most of my experiences with both of them have been positive. Yet there’s one big difference I’ve noticed between them: OFX’s customer support is proactive while TransferWise’s customer support is reactive.
What this means is that when your transfers run into problems, as they inevitably will, OFX will have a real person call or email you to solve it as soon as it comes up. This keeps your transfer moving on schedule, and ensures you’re never left in the dark. TransferWise, on the other hand, waits for one of their automatic checks to detect the problem, which can take days after the problem has come up. Once you’re notified of the problem with an automated email, you either have to solve the issue on your own or call TransferWise to ask for help. After doing this once or twice, it becomes crystal clear how much better OFX’s proactive model is.
For more information on the differences between OFX and TransferWise, read our full comparison of OFX vs. TransferWise.
OFX makes its money on a small markup from the midmarket exchange rate, which generally falls in the range of 0.2% – 1.0%. The exact rate you get changes by the second, since the midmarket exchange rate itself changes by the second, so there’s no way to give an exact number here. You can see how much you’ll get for your transfer instantly on the OFX website.
Let’s look at two distinct case studies to see how OFX’s fees shake out.
OFX Fees Case Study #1: Moving Abroad
Sebastián is a CFD trader who recently moved from Barcelona to Dubai.
He wanted to transfer all of his money from Euros to Emirati dirhams, but he wasn’t sure what was the best way to do it. So he did his research, looked around on the Internet, and discovered that OFX was by far his best option. After looking at some recent data, I’m not surprised.
This table shows the fees Sebastián would’ve had to pay to transfer each of €500, €5,000 and €50,000 from Euros to Emirati dirhams. All the calculations were done on February 28, 2019:
|€500 EUR to AED||€5,000 EUR to AED||€50,000 EUR to AED|
On a €500 transfer, the OFX fee is about ⅓ of the TransferWise fee.
On a €5,000 transfer, it’s about half.
And on a €50,000 transfer, it’s still about half, which means Sebastián is saving a full €195.
OFX wins every time!
This doesn’t mean that OFX is always cheaper. But over the last two dozen or so transfers I’ve made, they’ve been better nearly every time. So for me, OFX is a no-brainer at this point. And it is for Hana, too.
OFX Fees Case Study #2: Working Remotely
Hana works remotely for an American tech startup. Her salary is $50,000 per year, which works out to $1,000 per week after 2 weeks of annual vacation. So every Friday when Hana gets paid, she transfers $1,000 from her US bank account to her Euro-based bank account.
Hana used to do that weekly transfer with TransferWise, whose fee works out to about 1.05% on a $1,000 transfer, or $10.50. But it bothered her that more than 1% of her salary—about $500 every year—was being eaten up by transfer fees.
She works hard for her salary, and losing 1% of it before she even touched it seemed unfair. But she didn’t know what else to do. She felt handcuffed, and more importantly, taken advantage of.
Then she started using OFX.
OFX’s fee on that same, weekly $1,000 transfer works out to about 0.45%, or $4.50. You might think the difference is trivial, but it isn’t to Hana.
Weekly Transfer Fee Paid On Hana’s $1,000 Salary
For Hana, switching from TransferWise to OFX for her weekly transfers has saved her $300 per year, or 60% of the transfer fees.
What’s more, Hana uses OFX’s recurring transfers feature so that she never has to think about transferring money at all.
OFX automatically transfers $1,000 from her US dollar account every Friday, and it arrives in her Euro account by Monday. Moving money used to be a point of stress for Hana. Now it’s completely off her radar.
OFX’s One Downside: Less Popular Currencies
OFX does really well on the big currencies: Euros, US dollars, British pounds, Canadian dollars, Swiss francs, Australian dollars, etc. And for many of us, those are the currencies we deal with the most, anyway. But for the smaller, less popular currencies of the world—those like the Bulgarian lev and the Indonesian rupiah—OFX’s fees jump up quite a bit. So if you find yourself transferring money to a smaller currency and OFX’s fee comes in at more than 1%, that’s the one scenario when we recommend using TransferWise.
OFX is the best online money transfer service for most people. It offers fast transfers with the industry’s lowest fees, and backs it all up with a customer support team that solves problems before you even know they’ve come up.
Whether you’re a frequent traveler, a remote worker, a digital nomad, or simply moving to a new country, we highly recommend OFX.
Can I Use OFX With PayPal?
Currently OFX only works with real bank accounts, so you can’t send an international money transfer using OFX from your PayPal account. However, it’s very easy to transfer funds from your PayPal account to a bank account that you already own, and from there you can transfer them using OFX. The OFX Global Currency account (see below) is how many people connect PayPal with OFX.
What Is The OFX Global Currency Account?
The OFX Global Currency account instantly opens accounts for you in a variety of currencies—including EUR, GBP, USD, HKD, AUD and CAD—which allows you to accept payments in countries around the world without incurring any exchange fees. You can also pay suppliers and other expenses directly from those accounts, saving you exchange fees on outgoing payments as well. It’s seamless, highly secure, and simplifies your business or international lifestyle in a serious way. Here’s an explainer video with more information, or you can sign up for the OFX Global Currency account here.
Can I Use OFX For My Business?
Absolutely. While most of this review has focused on OFX for individuals, thousands of businesses use OFX every month to save on currency exchange fees and lock in favorable exchange rates.
For example, EJ is a manufacturer based in Australia, which has both suppliers and customers around the world. EJ processes both its inbound and outbound foreign currency transactions with OFX, and saves about $5,000 per month in the process. Here’s a video with more information:
Also, since so many of you have been asking us for them, here's our full list of country-specific posts outlining how to ship anything from Amazon to any country in the world. Our 2-step method makes it as simple as humanly possible, and takes about 3 minutes total: Austria, Bahrain, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Asia as a whole, Europe as a whole and the United Arab Emirates.
While you're at it, international travelers should read our N26 review for the best way to get free ATM withdrawals the best rates on currency conversion - anywhere in the world.