OFX review (previously CanadianForex) — Fees, rates and transfer times

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OFX may be a new name to many Canadians, but its money transfer service isn’t — until recently, it operated under the brand CanadianForex in Canada, so you may still see some websites refer to the service by the older name. The company began in Sydney, Australia, in 1998. It now has six global offices, including one in Toronto. The company has transferred 150 billion Australian dollars and has one million customers.¹

In this article, we’ll take a look at:

  • OFX’s international money transfer service. We’ll tell you about the key fees and limits, plus which countries and currencies are covered.
  • We’ll also talk about the exchange rate you’ll get from OFX, and help you make comparisons by looking at another option, Wise.

How does an international transfer with OFX work?

Under its international money transfer service OFX offers several different payment services in Canada. Here’s a run-down of what you can use:²

Single transfers

Also known as spot deals, single transfers let you lock in a particular rate when you agree to the transfer. This means that the rate won’t have changed when the money actually changes hands a day or two later.

Recurring deals

With a recurring deal, you set up a payment to be made on a schedule you select, then the funds are transferred regularly. This can be used for things like mortgage payments or school fees. OFX allows a minimum of 4 transfers using this method.

Forward exchange contracts

A forward exchange contract allows a business to lock in an agreed exchange rate for a period of between two days and 12 months. OFX says this can help protect you against sudden shifts in the market, since you’ll know what rates you’ll get for the specified period.

Limit orders

Sometimes, the day your funds are delivered isn’t ideal for you. If you can be flexible on this, a limit order may be worth considering. With this option, you select an exchange rate that you want to use, and the money will be transferred when the rate is hit. This happens automatically, even if you’re away or asleep at the time.


In this guide, we’ll mainly be looking at the international money transfer service. We’ll tell you what you’ll need to know about OFX’s fees, limits and rates. It’s always worth taking a little time to compare your options, including both conventional banks’ international payment services and alternative specialists such as Wise. After looking at several services you’ll be able to see whether OFX is the right provider for you. With Wise, you can send money internationally at rates that can work out cheaper than bank wire transfers.

There’s also the Wise account. With this, you can hold funds, send and receive payments in dozens of currencies, and you’ll get the rate you see on information services like XE.com. Exchanging currencies or sending money costs you just a single, low, upfront fee. We’ll say a bit more about this in a minute.


Fees for overseas money transfer with OFX

What are the fees when you want to transfer money overseas with OFX?

When you make a transfer with OFX, they’ll tell you the fees and charges that’ll apply to your transaction. You’ll also see the exchange rate you’ll get. Take a good look at this information and use it to compare with what other providers will offer. This will let you decide whether OFX is the right option for you.

When you’re thinking about picking an international payment service, you’ll want to consider the total cost in Canadian dollars (CAD). That means including all fees and charges, and taking account of the interest rate. Here are the most important ones:

Fee type OFX charge
Transfer fee CAD 15 for transfers under CAD 10,000;No fee for transfers over 10,000.³
Exchange rate markup Many international payment services and banks may add a markup to the mid-market rate when working out what exchange rate to offer you. OFX doesn’t offer the mid-market rate,⁴ so use an online calculator or a Google search to compare OFX’s rate with the mid-market one.
Third-party fees Occasionally, a third-party bank may impose an additional fee, possibly associated with the SWIFT network.³ This fee doesn’t go to OFX, which has no control over the amount charged. OFX recommends that you get in touch if you have concerns — we’ve included contact details below.

What are the currencies that OFX supports?

OFX allows you to make transfers in any of over 50 currencies. The company splits these into what it calls Standard currencies and Exotics. Here’s a full list:⁵

Standard

  • AED — United Arab Emirates Dirham
  • AUD — Australian Dollar
  • CAD — Canadian Dollar
  • CHF — Swiss Franc
  • DKK — Danish Kroner
  • EUR — Euro
  • GBP — Pound Sterling
  • HKD — Hong Kong Dollar
  • JPY — Japanese Yen
  • MXN — Mexican Peso
  • NOK — Norwegian Kroner
  • NZD — New Zealand Dollar
  • PLN — Polish Zloty
  • SEK — Swedish Krona
  • SGD — Singapore Dollar
  • THB — Thailand Baht
  • USD — US Dollar
  • ZAR — South African Rand

Exotics

  • AZN — Azerbaijani Manat
  • BGN — Bulgarian Lev
  • BHD — Bahraini Dinar
  • BND — Brunei Dollar
  • CZK — Czech Koruna
  • EGP — Egyptian Pound
  • FJD — Fiji Dollar
  • HUF — Hungarian Forint
  • IDR — Indonesian Rupiah
  • ILS — Israeli Shekel
  • INR — Indian Rupees
  • KRW — South Korean Won
  • KWD — Kuwaiti Dinar
  • LKR — Sri Lankan Rupee
  • MAD — Moroccan Dirham
  • MGA — Malagasy Ariary
  • MYR — Malaysian Ringgit
  • OMR — Omani Rial
  • PEN — Peruvian Nuevo Sol
  • PGK — Papua New Guinea Kina
  • PHP — Philippine Peso
  • PKR — Pakistan Rupee
  • RUB — Russian Ruble
  • SAR — Saudi Riyal
  • SBD — Solomon Island Dollar
  • SCR — Seychelles Rupee
  • TOP — Tongan Pa'anga
  • TRY — Turkish Lira
  • TWD — Taiwanese Dollar
  • TZN — Tanzanian Shilling
  • VEF — Venezuelan Bolivar Fuerte
  • VND — Vietnamese Dong
  • VUV — Vanuatu Vatu
  • WST — Samoan Talar
  • XOF — CFA Franc
  • XPF — CFP Franc

One further currency is available for business customers only:

  • CNY — Chinese Yuan Renminbi

You may also want to take a look at the currencies you can use if you use Wise to transfer money. With its borderless account, you’ll get a wide range, with over 40 currencies available to send and hold money in, and 10 currencies including CAD, USD, EUR, GBP, SGD which come with account details.


Exchange rates with OFX

What is the exchange rate you get with OFX?

When you use OFX to make an international payment, you’ll see the total cost including fees before you confirm, as well as the exchange rate you’ll get. It’s well worth comparing this with the rates other providers offer, and also with the mid-market rate.

If you check for an exchange rate online, for example on Google, the mid-market rate is the number you’ll see. When banks and similar services trade currencies between themselves, this is what they use. It’s not likely to be the one they’ll offer you, though, as in many cases they’ll add a markup to the rate.

OFX will quote you a rate that includes its margin but excludes any applicable fees.⁶ They state that this can vary according to several factors, such as the amount you’re transferring or how often you make transfers. It’s simple to compare the rate OFX offers with the mid-market rate by using the site’s online calculator — but remember that it’s the total cost that matters most, how much you’ll get for a set amount of CAD.⁴


Are there any limits on the amount you can transfer with OFX?

OFX sets a minimum transfer amount of USD 150.⁷ Since this figure is given in US dollars, the equivalent in Canadian dollars will vary when the USD-CAD exchange rate changes. Check with OFX if you’re not sure whether the amount you want to send is acceptable. We didn’t find a maximum amount listed on the OFX website.

There are higher minimum limits for some other types of transaction, and these are given in Australian dollars (AUD). Again, check the CAD equivalent before you decide to go ahead. These limits are:²

  • Single transfer (“spot deal”) — AUD 250
  • Recurring transfer — AUD 500
  • Forward exchange contract — AUD 50,000
  • Limit order — AUD 30,000 online, AUD 10,000 over the phone

How long does an international transfer with OFX take?

The time you’ll need to allow for your transfer will depend on the country you’re transferring to. OFX says that, in most cases, you should allow 1-2 business days after OFX has received the payment from you. We’ve included a more detailed list for some of the most common destinations.

First, here’s how long it’ll take for your money to reach OFX:

From Time for OFX to receive your funds⁸
Australia (AUD) 1 day
Canada (CAD) 1-2 days
Europe (EUR) 1-2 days
Hong Kong (HKD) 1 day
Japan (JPY) 1-2 days
New Zealand (NZD) 1 day
Singapore (SGD) 1 day
United States (USD) 1-2 days
United Kingdom (GBP) 1 day

Now, here’s how long it’ll take the funds to reach recipients. This time starts from when OFX receives the money, so remember to take that into account.

From Time for recipient to receive funds⁸
Australia (AUD) 1 day
Canada (CAD) 1-2 days
Europe (EUR) 1-2 days
Hong Kong (HKD) 1-2 days
India (INR) 2 days
Japan (JPY) 1-2 days
New Zealand (NZD) 1 day
Singapore (SGD) 1 day
Thailand (THB) 4 days
United States (USD) 1 day
United Kingdom (GBP) 1 day

How can you contact OFX?

There’s a Frequently Asked Questions section on the OFX website, but if that doesn’t give you the answer you want, you have several other ways to get in touch:⁹

  • Fill out the email form on the website with your details, and ask your question in the box provided
  • OFX’s Toronto office is located at Suite 1002, 145 King Street, Toronto, ON, M5H 1J8, Canada
  • For personal inquiries, call toll-free on +1 800 680 0750
  • For business inquiries, call toll-free on +1 855 680 0745
  • Send a fax to +1 416 649 8580

Finding the right international money transfer service can seem tricky, since there are so many to choose from. The best way to go is to spend some time looking at the various providers’ options and thinking about which one best suits your needs. Remember to take into account the total cost of a transfer, not just headline fees. If you do this, including banks, payment providers like OFX and specialist services like Wise, you’ll find it easier to select the one that’s ideal for you.


Sources:

  1. OFX About page 24 July 2019
  2. OFX International money transfer page 28 July 2019
  3. https://www.ofx.com/en-ca/faqs/are-there-any-transfer-fees/ 27 July 2019
  4. https://www.ofx.com/en-ca/faqs/what-is-the-market-rate/ 27 July 2019
  5. https://www.ofx.com/en-ca/faqs/what-currencies-can-i-transfer-with-ofx/ 26 Jul 2019
  6. https://www.ofx.com/en-ca/faqs/what-is-the-customer-rate/ 28 July 2019
  7. https://www.ofx.com/en-ca/faqs/what-is-the-maximum-amount-you-can-transfer/ 26 Jul 2019
  8. https://www.ofx.com/en-ca/faqs/how-long-will-my-transfer-take/ 27 july 2019
  9. https://www.ofx.com/en-ca/faqs/contact-us/ 26 July 2019

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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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