When needing to make an international money transfer, comparing all of the different companies yourself can be overwhelming.
There are quite a few out there, and they all operate differently and offer varying exchange rates.
I’ve taken OFX, one of the larger and more established companies, and conducted a thorough review of their service.
I took a deep dive into how safe they are to use, how competitive their exchange rates are, their customer reviews and how good their service is.
I then scored them out of 5 for each category, giving an overall TopMoneyCompare rating.
Finally, I’ll discuss when they’re right for you, when they aren’t, and any alternatives that might be better suited.
What is OFX?
OFX is a publicly traded Australian foreign exchange company.
They’re one of the biggest in the industry, with over 1 million customers and over £20 billion in annual trading volume.
They provide currency exchange and transfer services to a wide range of customers including expats, small to large businesses and investors.
Before becoming one company in 2015, OFX was a group of different brands around the world:
The OzForex Group (trading as OFX) completed their IPO on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2013, with the company valued at AUD 480 million.
As such, OFX are subject to heavier auditing and regulations than their private competitors.
This means better protection for their customers.
- Customer support can be slow or difficult to get hold of
- Can’t get cash - only bank transfers
- Tight restrictions - often eager to decline accounts
Is OFX safe?
OFX is authorised and regulated in 8 different countries.
There is only one other company that is more regulated than OFX (Wise).
Secondly, they’re a publicly traded company on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Thirdly, they’ve transacted over $100 billion for customers in total.
You shouldn’t be concerned about safety with OFX.
They are a very large entity.
Overall, I’ve scored OFX a perfect 5/5 for safety.
Is OFX legit?
OFX is authorised and regulated in the following countries:
- Australia (ASIC)
- Canada (FINTRAC)
- United Kingdom (FCA)
- Hong Kong (CED)
- Republic of Ireland (Central Bank of Ireland)
- New Zealand (FSPR)
- Singapore (MAS)
- USA (FinCEN)
Given their size, it’s of no surprise that they are this heavily regulated.
It’s what allows them to have their global presence.
To get regulated by any financial body, you must prove that you are safe, security-first and reliable when dealing with customers and their funds.
OFX has done this 8 times, in 8 different countries.
Above is a screenshot from the Financial Conduct Authority register, showing ‘UKForex Limited’ as a regulated firm.
UKForex Limited is a subsidiary of The OzForex Group and is used for their UK activities.
Is your money protected with OFX?
Part of being regulated means that you have to keep client funds separate from business funds.
These are accounts that can’t be used to pay creditors or tie up the business should it fold.
If OFX goes out of business (however unlikely), you will receive your funds back in full.
In the UK, high-street banks will only give back up to £85k of your money if they went bust.
This is under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
If you compare that to OFX where you’ll receive all of your money back, OFX is arguably safer.
Is OFX trustworthy?
On OFX’s Trustpilot page, they’ve accrued nearly 6000 customer reviews.
However, their rating isn’t as high as other money transfer companies.
I’ve also taken a look at their most recent company accounts:
- AU$25.7 million in net profit
- They have over 450 employees
- They are holding AU$242 million of customer funds in safeguarded accounts
To conclude on safety, OFX is one of the safest companies out there:
- Publicly traded on the Australian Securities Exchange
- Authorised and regulated in 8 countries
- All funds are held in safeguarded accounts which can’t be touched
- Heavily reviewed on Trustpilot
- Healthy company accounts
In regard to safety, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend OFX to my friends and family.
OFX exchange rates
OFX’s exchange rates are good, but not the best.
You’ll get better rates compared to your bank, however there are other providers out there which are cheaper.
When making my test transfer (Pound to Euro), I asked for quotes on different amounts and worked out their spread:
As you can see, the more you transfer, the better the rate you’ll receive.
The ‘spread’, or ‘margin’ is the difference between the rate the provider receives when buying the currency, and the rate they give to you when they sell. In other words, it’s the profit they make on the transaction.
If we compare these rates to Santander Bank in the UK for example, you’re on course to save thousands.
They typically offer spreads from between 2% - 4%.
If you transfer £250,000 with Santander, you’ll be charged around £5,000.
Compared with OFX, who’ll charge around £1,875, you’ll save over £3,000.
But as I said, you’ll probably be able to get an even better rate with another money transfer provider.
I’ve scored OFX a 3.5/5 for cost.
OFX transfer fees
Since 2016, OFX has not charged any transfer fees.
The amount you are quoted is the amount OFX will send to you.
On OFX’s Trustpilot page, they have nearly 6,000 reviews.
However, their rating is only a ‘Great’ 4.2/5.
On the same note, they each have a 5 star to 1 star ratio of around 90% / 1%.
78% of OFX’s reviews are 5 stars, and 9% are 1 star.
Because of this, I’ve scored OFX a 4.2/5 for their customer reviews.
OFX positive reviews
Here are some positive things that customers had to say:
- Very security-focused
- Competitive rates of exchange
- Quick and easy sign up process
We know that OFX are tight with their safety, so it’s no surprise that their customers leave positive comments about it.
Peace of mind is valuable and should be factored into your research when choosing a money transfer company.
Some customers have commented about the onboarding process, and how quick and smooth it is.
However, as you’ll read below, some others are not in agreement.
OFX negative reviews
Here’s what customers don’t like:
- Slow onboarding, accounts not being verified
- Poor customer support
- Funds going missing
As mentioned, clients have commented on a slow onboarding process, and how difficult it is to get verified.
Depending on circumstances, one client can be more difficult to onboard than another.
For example, if you live in or are sending money to a ‘high-risk’ destination, more due diligence will be required.
It sounds like some people's expectations were met, and some weren’t.
If you’re unsure on timeframes or documentation required, simply ask your account manager or support staff for help.
Speaking of support staff, the reviews regarding this are outright terrible.
30 minute hold times, unhelpful switchboards, and calls dropping are frequently mentioned.
They’re apparently slow with email responses, too.
Clients mention funds going missing, which is often out of the control of OFX.
Any bank can reject or request information for payments as part of their own compliance procedures.
They’re usually rare instances and nothing to worry about, mostly applying to higher risk transactions.
Most payments go through problem free.
OFX service, features and availability
While you can make transfers over the phone with OFX, most people use the online platform and mobile app.
It makes sense given the customer comments on their phone service.
Here’s what you can do with the OFX app:
- Spot contracts
- Forward contracts
- Limit orders
- Stop losses
- Market analysis
- Online platform
- Mobile app
Alongside bank transfers, you can also use your debit card to pay for transactions.
After taking into account their technology alongside the questionable quality of their telephone service, I’ve scored them a 3.2/5 for service, features and availability.
How long does an international transfer with OFX take?
OFX’s transfer speed varies based on chosen currencies, destinations and banks involved.
When sending money abroad, some currencies and countries are quick, some are slow.
There are 3 steps to every money transfer:
- Transferring your funds to OFX
- OFX processing and converting your funds
- OFX transferring your funds to your chosen account
Each of these steps has its own processing time.
When you transfer money to OFX, the onus is on your bank for the speed of the transfer.
Likewise, when receiving money from OFX, the speed is down to the receiving bank.
Here’s a rough time frame for each currency, from OFX’s website:
Payments sent to countries in Europe are usually sent as a SEPA transfer.
Payments to outside of Europe will be a SWIFT transfer.
If you take the sending currency speed and receiving currency speed and add them together, you have yourself a rough transfer speed.
Does OFX have an online platform or mobile app?
OFX has a mobile app which has over 5700 reviews on the App Store and Play Store combined, averaging a 4.7/5 rating.
You can use the app to do the following:
- Process transfers
- Track transfers
- Manage beneficiaries
- Check market trends
Unlike Currencies Direct’s mobile app, you can’t store currencies in a wallet.
You have to specify a recipient before the transfer.
Alongside the app, OFX have their standard online platform used by all clients to make exchanges.
You can register and complete the signup process via the platform, too.
Does OFX accept international clients?
OFX can accept clients from all countries except those in ‘high-risk’ categories.
If this exception applies to you, you may struggle to open an account with any currency broker.
Their banking partners simply won’t accept funds from these countries.
Most currency brokers can’t accept clients that live in the US, or at least are limited to a select few states.
OFX can accept clients from all states except Wisconsin.
Depending on where you live, you may be required to supply documents proving your identity.
This might be a passport, drivers licence, a utility bill or rental agreement.
1. Check OFX’s rates compared to competitors
Using TopMoneyCompare’s comparison engine, you can check just how good OFX’s rates are compared to their competitors.
You can see the amount and rate received, transfer fees and speed.
This way, you can get an idea on how they compare and if they’re right for you.
2. Sign up for an account with OFX
If you want to use OFX for your international transfer, the next step is to sign up.
Click here to open an OFX account (opens in a new tab).
Fill out all of your details and submit the form, and someone will be in contact to finalise your application.
You may need to complete some additional checks if they can’t verify your details.
3. Get a transfer quote and lock in the exchange
Once your account is open, you can log in to the platform or mobile app and book your transfer.
Or, you can call in and speak to a human.
When you’re happy, they’ll read a verbal script and lock in the transfer and rate.
For small amounts, they can take payment via card.
For larger amounts, you’ll have to do a bank transfer.
OFX may ask you to transfer your funds before they lock in the rate.
4. Add a beneficiary
The next step is to submit the details of where you want your converted funds transferred to.
The information you’ll need will depend on the receiving country.
Here’s an idea of what you might need:
- UK - account number and sort code
- Europe - IBAN and BIC
- USA - account number and routing number
Other countries might require different details.
If in doubt, call customer support. They’ll know what you need.
5. Funds transferred and transaction complete
You may have to receive a call from an OFX representative to confirm a transaction if:
- It’s your first transaction
- It’s your first time sending a transaction to this beneficiary
- Your transfer is over $100,000 (or equivalent)
This is just to make sure that everything is correct and up-to-date.
Once OFX has received your funds and the rate locked in, they’ll then make the transfer to your chosen beneficiary(s).
Is OFX for me?
OFX is one of the most popular money transfer services in the industry, providing good rates of exchange and a highly-rated mobile app.
However, they’re not always the best option.
Here’s some examples of where OFX is for you, when it isn’t, and some alternative providers.
When OFX works
If you match any of the below, OFX is a great option for you:
- You’re transferring over £25,000 (or equivalent)
- Safety and peace of mind is important to you
- You want to use a platform or mobile app
When OFX doesn’t work
There are some cases where you might need an alternative instead:
- You’re transferring under £25,000 (or equivalent)
- You want quick and reliable customer support from a human
- You want the best possible rate available
If you’re transferring less than £25,000, you should consider using a money transfer app instead.
OFX specialise in high-volume transactions, and their exchange rates aren’t as favourable for smaller amounts.
If speaking to a human is important to you, you may need to look at another company.
A large number of their negative reviews are centred around poor customer service.
Here are 2 companies that provide top-notch customer support:
If you want to achieve the best possible rate on a large transfer, OFX is great, but there are companies out there who can do better.
I mentioned Key Currency above who provide great customer support, however they’ll also give you a better rate, too.
Currencies Direct is another company who’ll beat OFX on rates.