Finding the best way to transfer money internationally isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Sure, you could easily go to your bank and send an international money transfer, but you could get hit with some serious fees. You would have to pay to make the transfer (the recipient may also pay a fee) and then you’re at the mercy of the bank’s exchange rate. In other words, you could spend a small fortune in fees just to transfer your money abroad.
Fortunately, there’s OFX (formerly CanadianForex). The company offers international money transfers at a much lower rate compared to the banks. In case you’re not aware, OFX foreign exchange is a global money transfer company that launched in Australia 20 years ago and has been operating in Canada for more than a dozen years. Read my OFX review now to find out how they work and how you can save even more money with my referral link.
- No transaction fees (with my referral link)
- Low exchange rates
- Save around 2% vs using the banks
- 80+ countries serviced
- $250 minimum transfer amount, no maximum
- Global support team in six offices around the world
- Bank account to bank account transfers
Right away I want to note that OFX Canada normally charges $15 CAD per transaction on transfers below $10,000 CAD, but when you sign up with my referral link, that fee is waived. In addition, you get a preferential exchange rate which is better than the standard OFX rate. Note that this referral link works regardless of which country you reside in or which currency you need to exchange.
Even without my special offer, OFX is one of the cheapest and best ways to transfer money internationally, which is part of the reason my OFX review is positive.
OFX operates under a bank account to bank account model. What that means is that you send your money to OFX through direct debit, bill payment or electronic transfer, and then they release the exchanged funds to the recipient’s bank account – usually within 1-2 business days. Since everything is done via banks, it can take a few days for the transfer to complete.
You don’t physically have to go into your bank to complete the process. After setting up your account, everything is done through the OFX Canada website or the OFX mobile app.
Since there is no cash option, OFX is really targeting people who are looking to exchange larger amounts of money such as snowbirds, people who work abroad, people who have family overseas, people looking to make international investments, etc. That being said, since there’s only a minimum of $250 CAD to make a transfer, anyone can take advantage of their service.
One unique feature of OFX is that they have six offices around the globe. What that means is that you’ll be able to talk to a live person at any time of the day or night if you need support. However, there is no live online chat feature available from them.
OFX fees and how much you can save
As mentioned, OFX doesn’t charge any transaction fees when you sign up with my referral link. As for the OFX currency exchange rate, you can see what rate you’ll get on any given day by logging into your account. Generally speaking, you’ll save around 2% vs. using the banks, but you could save even more depending on how much you’re looking to transfer, and what currency you’re transferring to.
To put things into perspective, you need to understand how currency exchange works. The ‘interbank’ or ‘mid-market’ rate, is simply the rate at which banks trade volumes between themselves. You would never get that exact rate if you’re looking to exchange money as banks and money transfer services will always add fees, or a margin to the rate to earn a profit. These rates and fees can literally be any amount they want and can differ quite a bit per currency and institution. If you just go with your bank’s rate without much thought about it, you could end up spending a lot more than you need to.
For example, let’s say you wanted to transfer $10,000 CAD to EUR with your bank. They will add, on average, a 3% margin to the interbank exchange rate of 0.6579, that markup would cost you about €197 EUR on the interbank rate. You also need to include the international wire transfer fees which are typically $40 to send and about $15 for the recipient.
If you were to use OFX for that same exchange, and the assumption is you save 2% on the margins, you’d pay about $ €65 EUR on the interbank rate. Since OFX doesn’t charge any transaction fees, you’d save a total of €65 EUR on rates and $55 on fees for that one transaction. Be careful about what payment methods you choose to avoid any additional third party fees. For example, a wire transfer often comes with a fee from the bank. Though, as you can see, if you make frequent transfers, you can end up saving a lot.
My OFX review is positive. Although it may take a few days to transfer your money, OFX has some of the lowest costs compared to other money transfer providers. If you’re looking for the cheapest option possible when exchanging money, you could use Norbert’s Gambit, but that’s really only good if you’re swapping USD for CAD dollars.