OFX Money Transfer Review

Aug 2, 2022

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OFX is an online money transfer provider that delivers to more than 190 countries from the U.S. via its website and mobile app. Its biggest advantage is cost: OFX offers comparable rates to its competitors, and it doesn’t charge transfer fees. Plus, there’s no maximum transfer amount.

If your recipient can wait a few days to receive the money, OFX can be a cheap option for sending money abroad. Delivery relies on standard banking hours and processing, so you generally won’t get same-day or next-day delivery with OFX. And you’ll need at least $500 to make a transfer. Plus, both you and your recipient will need a bank account.

This overview of OFX is for U.S.-based audiences sending money within the U.S. and abroad only.

» Not what you were looking for? Compare money transfer providers

OFX is best for:

  • People who want a cheap bank-to-bank transfer and aren't concerned about speed.

OFX Pros

  • Easy-to-reach customer service. You can reach someone at any hour, thanks to OFX’s offices across time zones.

  • Well-rated mobile app. The OFX mobile app displays useful features, such as current and historical mid-market rates and the status of ongoing or completed transfers. The app receives high marks from users.

  • No transfer fees. Unlike some other money transfer providers, OFX doesn’t charge transfer fees, regardless of the sending amount. But, like other providers, OFX makes money off an exchange rate markup. For transfers to the countries we surveyed, its markups above the mid-market rate tend to range approximately from 3% to 54%. Other providers mark up rates to those countries anywhere in the range of less than 1% to around 57% for bank-to-bank transfers. (Skip ahead for definitions on these money transfer terms.)

OFX Cons

  • Slower transfers. OFX transfers generally take two to four business days. This breaks down to half a business day for the company to receive funds from your bank account, plus one to three days for delivery to your recipient. Speed is not a competitive advantage for OFX, considering that some other providers deliver money internationally within minutes (though it costs more).

  • Website experience isn’t as easy as other sites’. The provider’s website lays out an organized list of helpful information in its FAQs, but there's no live chat feature online. The website doesn’t let you view OFX’s consumer exchange rates without logging in.

  • Only one payment option is available. You can only pay for transfers with a bank account using direct debit or a domestic wire transfer. Other money transfer service providers allow you to pay with other methods, such as credit or debit cards and cash.

» Travel frequently? Check out the best banks for international travel

OFX transfer methods and options

OFX offers a couple sending channels to transfer money, but only one payment and one delivery option. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Sending channels: OFX’s website and mobile app.

  • Payment options: Bank account only. You can choose to have OFX do a direct debit, or to speed up delivery, you can send a domestic wire transfer to OFX instead, though your bank may charge a fee (see how much banks charge for wire transfers).

  • Delivery options: Bank account only.

  • Transfer limits: No maximum, but minimum is $1,000 per transfer (other money transfer service providers let you send as little as $10).

» Need faster transfers? Consider more of the best ways to send money

Definitions: Money Transfer Rates

There are three rates that determine how much your money transfer will cost and how much money your recipient will receive.

  • Exchange rate: An exchange rate is the price of one currency in relation to another currency. For example, if you want to convert U.S. dollars to euros, you would check what one U.S. dollar is worth in euros.

  • Midmarket rate: The midmarket rate, also called the interbank rate or interbank exchange rate, is the exchange rate that big banks use to swap currencies among one another.

  • Exchange rate markup: Most providers use an exchange rate markup when pricing your transfer. They give customers an exchange rate that’s the midmarket rate plus an additional percentage, or markup, to make a profit on the transfer.

Example: If the midmarket rate for U.S. dollars to Mexican pesos is 20 pesos per dollar, then a 2% exchange rate markup means the provider is giving you 19.6 pesos per dollar. For a $500 transfer with a midmarket rate, you’d send 10,000 pesos, but with a 2% markup, you’d end up sending 9,800 pesos. The higher the markup, the less your recipient gets in their currency.

General advice for international money transfers

1. Know how exchange rates work (and how to find the best). One of the ways money transfer providers make money is through exchange rate markups. Most transfer providers won’t give you the exchange rate you’d find on a currency exchange platform like the one at Bloomberg.com or Reuters.com. Those sites just tell you the price of one currency in relation to another, but they are a helpful starting point to know what the best rate looks like this minute. When you check the exchange rate for an international transfer with services like Western Union, focus on the exchange rate markup by looking at the foreign currency amount. The higher it is, the lower the markup is, and the more money your recipient receives.

2. Compare total transfer costs across multiple providers. There are two types of costs: upfront fee and exchange rate markup (see above). Find the provider that has the lowest fee combined with the best exchange rate you can get. Usually online nonbank providers offer cheaper transfers than banks.

3. Avoid paying with a credit card. It’s an option for some providers, but there might be a higher upfront fee and your credit card issuer may tack on costs such as interest and cash advance fees. A transfer paid by bank account directly tends to be a much cheaper (and much slower) transfer. If you need money delivered quickly, use a debit card, which will also incur a lower fee than using a credit card.

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