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OFX vs TransferWise (Wise) : Which One is the Better Option?


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You need to make an international money transfer and suddenly discover there are tons of platforms to choose from. Forget about using your bank, online is where you will find the lower fees.

Like everyone else, you want the fastest, cheapest, and most secure option. Some of the questions you should be asking include:

  • Are there any transfer fees?
  • What is the exchange rate?
  • How long is the turnaround time?
  • How reliable and secure is the platform?

It all comes down to a positive user experience and two of the best brands on the market are OFX and Wise (formerly Transferwise). When comparing OFX vs Transferwise, both platforms offer cheaper rates and faster transfer speeds than a regular bank.

These types of global payment methods make money in two ways: the margin from which they purchase currency at a wholesale rate and the cost of currency sold on to customers. Secondly, an additional transaction fee.

In this article, we’ll compare the main features of OFX and Wise, the pricing, pros/cons, security, and other key elements to help you make a more informed decision on the right fit.

OFX vs Transferwise (Wise) Overview

If you need to do large money transfers, OFX is cheaper than Tranferwise–but more expensive for some small money transfers, depending on the currency. Also, be wary of which payment option you use with Transferwise, because you risk increasing the cost of your money transfer.

Overview of OFX

Established in 1998, OFX is a well-trusted and reliable money transfer service based in Sydney, Australia. The brand has transferred over $100 billion for customers, spanning over 2 decades, and offers exchanges in 55 currencies.

The company boasts more than 1 million customers worldwide and is registered as a Money Service Business and with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network under the US Department of Treasury.

Out of all the appealing features, OFX stands out for the $0 transfer fees the brand applies to all transfers.

How Does OFX Work?

To start with OFX, and compare any rates, you’ll need to sign up for a free account. This requires you to enter an email and password credentials. This can be done as part of your first transfer, which is convenient. You’ll also need to provide:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Occupation
  • Phone number
  • ID (in some cases)

The OFX team will need to verify your account electronically before you can start making any payments. In some rare cases, it may take a few business days to get this process moving.

Transferring Funds

To send an international wire transfer through OFX, log in and enter the amount you want to send. You can add funds directly into your OFX account with a credit or debit card. You can also connect a bank account (which may take a few days to verify).

Once you hit “send”, OFX offers free currency conversion, and then routes it to the recipient via a bank transfer. Using OFX, customers can send money to more than 195 countries and territories around the world. The most popular transfer corridors include Australia, the UK, the USA, Canada, and Spain.

Pros of OFX

  • Easy to sign up for an account with 24/7 agent support.
  • Payment in 55+ currencies to more than 195 countries.
  • No upfront transfer fee with low minimums, and no maximums.
  • OFX is a highly regulated, trusted, and secure site with European payments made via SEPA.
  • Accepts various funding methods and locks in exchange rates for future payments.

Cons of OFX

  • There are no personal multi-currency account options.
  • Exchange rates are not transparent and may include a markup.
  • Payments can’t be made by credit card, cash, or check

Overview of Wise 

London-based Wise is a money transfer company that has served over 10 million customers and processes $6 billion in transfers every month. The platform offers services in 55 different foreign currencies, and uses mid-market exchange rates to process all transactions.

Wise has been trading for over a decade, and provides an excellent platform for both small and large international transactions. The brand stands out for offering a multi-currency account and a debit card as an option to send and receive international money.

How Does Wise Work?

Just like most international payment service providers, Wise requires you to sign up for a free account with your email and credentials. The system also allows you to sign up quickly using Facebook, Apple, or Google. After you provide bank details, it may take a day or two to confirm your account.

Wise works best through the mobile app, which is simple to download.

To send money, select the currency and amount you want to send. Wise will break down the rates and fees associated with the transfer for complete and total transparency. After you review and confirm the amount of money, it will be pulled from your Wise account and moved to the recipient.

Wise also offers the option to transfer money to a multi-currency account. From there, a business can reroute funds in over 50 different currencies and convert different monies within the account itself. Transfers always use the mid-market exchange rate (the same you’ll see on Google).

Pros of Wise

  • Wise has a payment calculator with low, transparent fees at all times.
  • International money transfer service to over 80 different countries.
  • There is no exchange rate markup with funds in over 50 currencies.
  • Multi-currency account to facilitate cross-border payments for business customers.
  • Ease-of-use with superb customer service and a simple sign-up process.

Cons of Wise

  • Transfer fees will vary by destination and payment method.
  • Multi-currency accounts are not interest-bearing.
  • Payments can’t be made by cash/check with a cap on the maximum transfer amount.

OFX vs Wise Pricing

OFX makes money on the profit margin between the mid-market exchange rate and their retail rate. Wise makes its money primarily in transaction fees.

That’s why it’s crucial to consider exchange rates and fees when comparing systems, as those are the main cost factors for every transaction.

Fees

OFX charges a $15 fee for any transaction below $10,000. Anything over that amount is free. There is also the possibility that third-party banks may deduct extra fees, in which case, the recipient will receive less money. Users typically have no way of knowing in advance what some of these fees are.

Wise charges fees that are calculated on a percentage of the transfer amount. The brand is very clear and transparent about what you will be charged prior to any transaction going through.

Winner: OFX

Exchange Rates

Wise uses the mid-market rate for all transfers. This is also known as the “real” exchange rate and is the same number you will find on Google. No matter the amount or how often you send a global transfer, Wise never charges more than this average number.

By contrast, this is an area where OFX makes some money. They charge what is called a “retail” exchange rate, which is essentially the mid-market rate padded with their own extra charge.

The company charges an average margin of 0.4% above the mid-market rate. However, a business may encounter cases where transferring amounts between $5,000 and $50,000 will attract margins upwards of 0.8% to 1.2%.

One advantage, however, is that once you agree on the currency pricing, OFX locks in the rate for the duration of the transfer. This guards a business against exchange rate fluctuations.

Winner: Wise

*Quick Tip

Rates can rise and fall, and exchange rates fluctuate all the time. It’s important to consistently compare rates between providers before making a final decision. Here are a few ways to stay current in your comparison:

  1. View the live rates on both the Wise and OFX websites
  2. Call OFX
  3. Contact Wise through live chat
  4. Compare exchange rates online with a trusted search engine.

Power your entire partner payouts operations

98%

Customer Satisfaction

$50B+

Annual Transactions

4M+

Partners

4,000+

Customers

99%

Customer Retention
Transferwise/ WiseOFX
Sending CostPercentage-based fee.$15 for transfers under $10,000. Free above $10,000.
Speed1-2 days3-4 days
Minimum Transfer AmountLess than $1$1,000
Maximum Transfer Amount$1 millionUnlimited
Currencies55+ currencies55+ currencies
Debit CardYesNo
International Payments59 countries195 countries
Customer ServiceAbove averageLimited phone support
Exchange RateMid-market exchange rate.Retail exchange rate.
Accessibility Supports 12 languages.Supports 6 languages.
SecurityBased in the UK, licensed and well backed.Based in Australia, publicly listed and fully licensed.

Opening a Business Account with Wise or OFX

Both Wise and OFX have services for business holders.

OFX offers low fees and business products for small and medium-sized companies, online stores, and businesses looking for an integrated currency exchange platform. An organization can open a multi-currency account to get paid, payout, and manage its cash across multiple currencies.

Wise offers business accounts that enable companies to make, accept, and manage multi-currency payments; always using the mid-market exchange rate. Accounts can be managed in-app and online, team members added, and admin time cut in half with smart features like mass payments, integration, and cloud accounting.

Capabilities of OFX

OFX is fully regulated and licensed in all regions of operation. The brand offers great rates with zero transaction fees. Automate payments to save time with no maximum limit and a network of 195 countries. They have competitive exchange rates in over 50 currencies, and local receiving accounts for USD, EUR, AUD, HKD, SGD, CAD, and GBP.

A company can hold and manage global currencies in a multi-currency account with access to tailored products for small and medium businesses. OFX offers 24/7 professional customer support with instant access to an OFX specialist by phone.

Forward Contracts

Forward contracts are available for a business looking to lock in an exchange rate for a period of up to 12 months. This gives your organization stability and risk sheltering in the face of fluctuating currency markets.

Limit and Stop-Loss Orders

In this case, the customer chooses the exchange rate which if reached, will trigger a transfer. This saves a business the burden of constantly monitoring the exchange rate.

FX Options

In this feature offered by OFX, a business has the right (but not the obligation) to transfer money at a predetermined rate, at some time in the future.

Capabilities of Wise

Wise offers a simple and interactive user interface with fair pricing in transfer fees. A business can send payments around the world in 55 currencies, with a zero exchange rate margin. It’s a convenient platform for sending smaller amounts, with a minimum amount of less than $1.

Transfers are super quick through Wise, with 50% instant and the rest arriving within an hour. The platform was designed to facilitate overseas payments, can be 6x cheaper than banks, and 19x cheaper than PayPal.

Wise allows a business to invoice to local receiving accounts in 10 currencies to get paid easily from around the globe, and cut admin time with batch payments. The system easily integrates with top apps like Xero and Quickbooks, where you can give multiple team members instant access.

Unlike OFX, payments within Wise can be made with a personal multi-currency account that can be linked to an international debit card.

Biggest Difference(s) Between OFX and Wise

The main difference between OFX and Wise is that OFX has zero fees while Wise fees depend on the payment method, currency pair, and the amount transferred.

Other differences include:

Speed

Wise

Transferring money through Wise takes about 1-2 business days. Smaller transfers can take as little as a few hours, while very large transfers may take more than 2 days.

OFX

OFX takes 3-4 days from the time you initiate the transfer to the time it gets to the recipient.

*Quick Tip

For both platforms, the length of time your international transfer will take depends on a few factors, like:

  • How long it takes a business to pay for the transfer.
  • Which country the money is being sent to.
  • How long the receiving bank takes to credit the bank account.

Payment Options

Wise

When it comes to payment options, Wise sends bank transfers to the UK, Canada, Australia, and Europe via:

  • Debit and credit cards
  • ACH bank debit
  • Bank wire transfer
  • Facebook Messenger

Bank transfers can also be made in person at a branch, over the phone, and online. The main payout channel for Wise is bank deposits. However, in some countries, the provider allows for deposits into mobile phone e-wallet accounts. This includes regions like Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Singapore, and the Philippines.

OFX

OFX offers a variety of payment methods, including an Electronic Funds Transfer (ETF), BPAY (if you are in Australia), and direct debits for corporate customers. Once a business locks in the transfer, the system sends you a list of payment options. The only pay-out option available on OFX is a bank transfer.

Accessibility and Security

Wise

The Wise platform supports 12 languages: English, German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkey, Japanese, Romanian, Polish, Italian, Russian, and Hungarian. Customer support is available via email, live chat, and phone.

Through the Wise mobile app, a business can securely send money, track transfers, and check rates. The platform has institutional-grade security with two-factor authentication as an added security layer.

OFX

OFX supports 6 languages: English, Australian, Hong Kong, Canadian, Singaporean, and New Zealand. Their customer support is available via email and phone.

Just like Wise, OFX has a mobile app for both Android and iOS platforms. When it comes to security, the brand has invested in sophisticated technology for fraud prevention and identity protection. OFX also has Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption for extra web security.

Which Money Transfer Service is Best For You?

As with any software purchase, the more research you do, the easier it becomes to make a decision. The first step is to have an authentic understanding of your business needs. Intelligent questions to consider should surround these themes:

Amount and Volume

If your business is planning on making a high volume of international transfers, or transfers of a large amount, OFX may be your best option. The brand offers forward contracts and limit/stop-loss orders to ensure the best price on big transactions.

Winner: OFX

Speed

If your business is looking for speed, Wise is usually the best platform. In some cases, transfers are almost instant, with no extra cost. Keep in mind, this will depend on the transfer amount. The greater the amount, the longer it may take to move through banks.

Winner: Wise

Cost

In this case, the systems form a solid tie. That’s because it comes down to how often you will be sending global payments. Although OFX charges a retail exchange rate, they do not charge a percentage of your transaction. If you’re sending a large amount, Wise will take a percentage of the transfer amount, whereas OFX will not. However, if you use the Wise multi-currency account, the mid-market exchange rate may be cheaper.

Winner: Wise and OFX

Summing it Up

Wise has more transparency than OFX and seems to have more to offer for SMBs. OFX is better positioned for fast-growing enterprises looking to make large transactions overseas. Of course, nothing is set in stone and it will all come down to your specific needs.

If you’re looking for another smart option, Tipalti is one of the world’s top global payment methods for transferring money internationally and pays to over 196 countries, in 126 currencies. They make it easy to see the costs of your payments and facilitate your AP workflow like nothing else out there!

OFX is cheaper than TransferWise for large money transfers. TransferWise can be cheaper than OFX for small money transfers and across some currencies. Be careful which payment option you choose with TransferWise as this could increase the cost of your money transfer.

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