OFX vs Wise: which one is better in 2024?

Gabriela Peratello

If you need to send a payment overseas, or hold and exchange foreign currencies, you might be trying to decide between the services offered by OFX®¹ and Wise.

Choosing a non-bank specialist service like Wise or OFX can mean you get better exchange rates and faster transfer speeds than sending your money with your bank. However, picking the perfect service for your specific needs can be tricky.

To clear things up, let’s put Wise and OFX side-by-side and look at what sets them apart.

What is OFX and how does it work?

OFX has 20 years in business and is a reliable solution for money transfers, currency risk management and multi-currency business accounts. The company is based in Sydney and has transferred over $140 billion for customers in the past 20+ years. OFX offers exchange in over 50 currencies and has more than 1 million customers globally².

To start with OFX, you’ll need to set up a free account by entering your email and personal information. You’ll then get a call back³ to confirm your account requirements and to get verified. Once your account is up and running you can make your payment overseas, and access the other OFX services such as currency risk management products.

To transfer funds with OFX, go to the site and login. From there, you enter the amount of your transfer. You can put funds into an OFX account for transfer or link your bank account for a direct transfer where OFX pulls the funds.

Then, OFX will convert the currency and route it to a recipient who receives the money via bank transfer. If you’d prefer you can also set up your payment by phone, 24/7.

✅ Pros❌ Cons
  • Make your transfer online or by phone

  • No upfront transfer fee to pay⁴

  • Access other services like currency risk management solutions

  • Personal and business services available

  • You can’t transfer immediately - you’ll have to wait from a call from OFX

  • Minimum transfer value is 1,000 USD⁵

  • Exchange rates include a markup

What is Wise and how does it work?

Wise was established in London in 2011, and originally was called TransferTransferWise. It serves over 16 million customers and offers payments to 160+ countries in over 40 currencies. Plus, Wise offers a multi-currency account and a debit card as an option for everyone who wants to send and receive money from around the world.

With Wise you’ll need to register an account using your email, Google®, Facebook®, or Apple® account, and then upload a couple* of documents for verification.

Once your account is set up, just use the app or the website and select your currencies and how much money to send. Wise will then break down the rates and fees for the transfer and you can decide how to pay.

Plus, Wise also offers the option to hold, send, spend and exchange money in a multi-currency Wise account. Order your Wise card for easy spending in 150+ countries, send payments globally, and get local bank details to get paid to Wise conveniently from 30+ countries.

✅ Pros❌ Cons
  • Currency exchange uses the mid market rate and low fees from 0.43%⁶

  • Hold and exchange 40+ currencies

  • Send fast - or even instant - payments to 160+ countries⁷

  • No minimum payment values, maximum payment limits are usually set very high for convenience, too

  • Some service and transaction fees apply

  • No branch network for face to face service

  • Currency risk management products not available

wise-account

*Wise may request additional documents to verify a customer's identity

OFX vs Wise: fees and pricing

Transaction fees

While OFX has no fees on transfers, third-party banks may deduct extra fees and the recipient may get less money as a result. The problem with this is that you also won’t be able to know in advance how much you’ll end up paying for an international money transfer.

In comparison, Wise charges a small, transparent fee for every transfer, and you’ll always see the exact amount you pay before.

A quick example

Here’s a comparison of the fees you’d pay - and how much your recipient would get - with Wise vs OFX when sending 1000 EUR to a friend in Europe:

As you can see, even though the Wise transfer fee is higher than with OFX, your recipient gets more in this example with Wise.

That’s because Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate, while OFX adds a small markup to the rate used. Compare both services for your specific payment before you pick which to use.

Get started with Wise

OFX vs Wise: exchange rates

As we’ve seen, OFX itself doesn’t charge transfer fees. However, there’s a fee in the form of a markup, added into the exchange rate. That’s why it’s important to differentiate between the mid-market exchange rate vs. the ‘retail’ exchange rate OFX use.

With every transfer—based on the amount and how often you transfer—OFX charges a margin above the mid-market rate, and this is their customer or ‘retail’ rate⁸.

Wise always uses the mid-market rate for any transfer. No matter the amount or how often you transfer funds, Wise will still transfer at the same rate with no markup.

⚠️ The mid-market rate is basically the rate you’ll find on Google. In contrast, the ‘retail’ rate adds a markup to the mid-market rate. That’s very common, but also makes it harder to see the full cost of your payment.

Cost breakdown

Let’s walk through a side by side comparison of some key features and costs with OFX vs Wise:

OFXWise
Open accountNo feeNo fee
Send costNo transfer feeFrom 0.43%
Minimum transfer1,000 USDNo minimum
Maximum transferUsually unlimitedUsually around the equivalent of 1 million GBP
Exchange rateIncludes a markupNo markup used

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

OFX vs Wise: product availability

Ultimately whether OFX vs Wise is best for you might simply come down to the specific services you need. While both OFX and Wise have many overlapping services, they’re not exactly the same. Here’s an overview:

OFXWise
Send money to170+ countries160+ countries
Currencies supported50+40+
Arrange transfers by phoneAvailableNot available
Arrange transfers online and in-appAvailableAvailable
Personal multi-currency accountsNot availableAvailable - hold 40+ currencies, receive payments with local account details in 9 currencies
Personal debit cardsNot availableAvailable - spend in 150+ countries
Business multi-currency accountsAvailable - hold and receive payments in 7 currencies⁹Available - hold 40+ currencies, receive payments with local account details in 9 currencies
Business debit cardsNot availableAvailable - spend in 150+ countries
Currency risk management productsAvailableNot available

Frequently asked questions

Is OFX a legitimate company?

Yes, OFX is registered in the US as a Money Service Business and with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network under the US Department of Treasury.

Is Wise really cheaper?

In our example above, Wise was cheaper. However, it’s helpful to compare both providers for your specific service. With each transfer, Wise offers their fees calculator which shows all fees as well as the mid-market rate offered for the transfer. You can also compare other providers on the Wise website, or simply log into your OFX account to get a quote from them.

Is OFX better than Wise?

Neither OFX nor Wise is best - it’ll depend on the service you need and your personal preference. With OFX, you have to transfer at least $1,000 USD, and they charge a markup on the exchange rate. However, you can get a 24/7 phone service, and currency risk management solutions.

Wise has self-service online and in-app transfers and a comprehensive multi-currency account for personal and business customers, with low fees and mid-market rate currency conversion. Compare them both to see which works best for your specific needs.


Sources:

  1. OFX
  2. OFX - about us
  3. OFX - I’ve registered, when can I make a transfer?
  4. OFX - transfer fee
  5. OFX - minimum transfer amount
  6. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information
  7. The speed of transaction claim depends on funds availability, approval by Wise's proprietary verification system and systems availability of our partners' banking system, and may not be available for all transactions
  8. OFX - retail rate
  9. OFX Global Currency Account

Sources checked on 09.18.2023


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

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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