OFX vs. Wise

OFX has been around for a long time. Since 1998, in fact. Being around for that long naturally brings about a level of expertise and reputation that is hard to rival.

Luckily, for anyone looking to carry out significant international money transfers, OFX isn't the only reputable and reliable money transfer service to consider. Wise, established in London in 2011, boasts of enough pros to rival OFX despite the latter's edge in terms of how long they've been around.

Below we take an in-depth look at the factors that set both of these impressive money transfer companies apart, their pros and cons, and their track record for safety and reliability, before finally giving our verdict on which is best for you.

Main Differences Between OFX and Wise

OFX

  • OFX was created in 1998
  • OFX is based in Sydney, Australia
  • No percentage fees on transfer
  • Exchange Rate mark-ups apply

Wise

  • Wise was created in 2011
  • Wise is based in London, United Kingdom
  • Very reasonable percentage-based fees on transfers
  • Exchange Rate mark-ups don't apply

Advantages and Disadvantages of OFX and Wise 

Both OFX and Wise offer significant benefits that you probably wouldn't find elsewhere. Of course, naturally, both platforms also have a few shortcomings worth noting.

We take a deeper look at all of these below.

Advantages of OFX and Wise

OFX

  • Charges little to no upfront fee
  • Offers many comprehensive features to make money exchange easier
  • Great business-level package products
  • Great customer service over the phone

Wise

  • One of the best percentage-based fees on the market
  • Doesn't increase exchange rate margins to make additional profits
  • Doesn't charge any other hidden fee
  • Provides a great deal of impressive online resources

As the table above shows, OFX is particularly admirable for its zero transfer fees policy on international transfers. This is remarkably rare to see, but it should be noted that their zero fees policy is skewed thanks to their mark-up on exchange rates.

This means that the exchange rates on OFX are slightly inflated, and the difference goes to the company as profit.

Along with this, they also offer a few other comprehensive features and business-level products, which we delve into in further detail in the upcoming sections.

Wise, on the other hand, is incredibly transparent in its fees. The company does not mark up its exchange rates, and whichever exchange rate you find on the platform is usually the standard mid-market rate with no increments to make a profit.

Additionally, their upfront percentage-based fees are usually among the most reasonable ones around. In fact, it is generally very tough, almost impossible, to find better deals on charges compared to the ones you'll get when you carry out your money transfers on Wise.

Disadvantages of OFX and Wise

OFX

  • Lack of transparency on fees makes it hard to determine transfer costs accurately beforehand

Wise

  • Lacks additional automated features
  • Customer support is above average but still limited

For OFX, their exchange rate mark-ups usually make it much harder to determine exactly how much your transfer will cost beforehand. In contrast, with Wise, you can quickly check the mid-market exchange rate and calculate your fees based on fixed percentages. However, with OFX, you have to start your transaction before you can see the exchange rate margin you'll be getting for that particular transaction.

Conversely, though, OFX possesses a few automated features to lock in exchange rates automatically, which Wise simply doesn't have. 

Safety

Reputation

Both platforms excel in tremendous fashion when it comes to reputation. As mentioned earlier, OFX has been around for over two decades. In this period, they have become one of the major currency exchange and international money transfer platforms.

Wise has garnered significant respect and reputation among businesses and individuals in the short period it has existed. Their unique business model allows them to offer customers a great deal of transparency and remarkably reasonable costs on international transfers that had not been possible before their arrival on the financial market scene.

Track Record

Both OFX and Wise have an impressive track record of customer satisfaction. Online, both platforms are remarkably well reviewed both by returning customers and one-time users. 

OFX is especially praised for its ease of use, swiftness, and of course, its zero upfront charges on transfers. Wise, for its part, remains one of the most well-reviewed platforms out there for international money transfers.

Their speed, convenience, and significantly lower costs than competitors make them a huge user favorite. Both platforms also offer an acceptable level of customer support, online and over the phone.

OFX holds a 4.2 star rating on TrustPilot from 4,703 reviews, while Wise holds a 4.6 star rating on TrustPilot from more than 130,000 reviews.

Trust and Safety

International money transfers usually involve trusting a centralized third party to move huge sums of money across borders on your behalf. Therefore, it is only natural to wonder whether or not the platforms you employ for this purpose are indeed trustworthy or not.

Well, you'd be glad to know that OFX and Wise are, without a doubt, two of the safest and most trusted platforms available today. OFX is fully licensed and publicly listed, while Wise itself is also well backed and licensed by the appropriate authorities.

Speed [Processing Time]

When sending money internationally online, speed is usually of the essence. So, of course, most online international money transfer platforms emphasize speed as one of their more attractive features over traditional wire transfers.

In this regard, OFX and Wise rank quite highly. But, even with these platforms, transfers still have to be processed, converted, and cleared before completion. This takes time.

Ultimately, though, transfers made on OFX and Wise both take between 1 - 3 Business days before completion.

In some instances on Wise, transfers are completed in a matter of minutes. 

So what exactly determines how long your transfer takes? Usually, it all comes down to how long it takes for you to pay in the money to be transferred, which payment method you employ, the country you're sending from, and the speed/readiness of the recipient's bank.

Value for Money

A handful of factors determine how much value you'll get from platforms like Wise and OFX. While we'd like to think that one should be clearly superior to the other, just how valuable they are is usually based on the user's particular needs at the moment.

OFX, for instance, offers significant value for those looking to do more than just transfer money. OFX allows limit and stop loss orders for exchange rates to ensure you never miss out on the desired exchange rate, forward contracts to lock in an exchange rate for up to 12 months, and FX options to explore available margins.

Wise, on the other hand, offers significant value on overall fees thanks to their low, transparent charges and incredible transfer speed.

Ease of Use

The Wise website supports more than 11 languages, including American and British English and German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Polish, Russian, and Italian, among others. In addition, the platform is remarkably easy to navigate, and customer support is available via live chat.

OFX supports about 6 languages, including American and British English and Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand versions. The platform also employs an impressive security infrastructure for identity protection and fraud prevention.

Both platforms have impressive mobile applications with a wide range of functionalities ranging from money transfer to transaction tracking, rate checking, and much more.

OFX & Wise Fees/Charges & Features

OFX

  • Charges no upfront fees
  • The mark-up on the exchange rate may increase your cost above the mid-market rate
  • Limit and stop loss orders are available to help monitor exchange rates automatically
  • Forward contracts can be used to lock in an exchange rate for a period of up to 12 months
  • Offers multi-currency accounts

Wise

  • Very reasonable transfer fees
  • Transparent fees ensure there is no mark-up on the exchange rate, and only the mid-market rate is used
  • Offers multi-currency accounts

Fees

While OFX charges virtually no fees on transfers, third-party and mark-up fees on exchange rates may eventually be deducted. This means that it becomes quite difficult to determine how much you'll end up paying in fees.

Wise, on the other hand, charges a transparent fee upfront, which is regarded to be highly reasonable.

Market Rates

As mentioned above, OFX does not charge an upfront fee on transfers. However, they tend to charge a margin on the exchange rate. With Wise, however, the "real" market exchange rate is used without any mark-up.

Multi-Currency Accounts

Both OFX and Wise offer multi-currency accounts. This way, users can hold more than one currency and seamlessly convert currencies on the platform without using third-party alternatives.

Currencies

Both wise and OFX offer a comprehensive range of currencies for exchange on their platforms. Of 180 currencies worldwide, both platforms state compatibility with more than 55.

Is OFX or Wise Best For You?

As we've seen above, both OFX and Wise offer incredible benefits depending on your particular needs. Consequently, deciding which one is better for you is a little bit complicated and requires a great deal of nuance.

Below we'll take a look at scenarios where it may be better to go with OFX, along with a few other scenarios where Wise is the better alternative.

When to Use OFX

First of all, OFX tends to be the better alternative for business payments. This is because the platform has a handful of specifically tailored products for small and medium businesses. Furthermore, the platform is also a better alternative for large transactions. Not only does the lack of fees help here, but they also have no maximum limit for transfers.

Lastly, the OFX platform usually supports transfers to more countries than Wise. Our research shows, for example, that OFX supports transfers to a network of no less than 195 countries all over the globe.

When to Use Wise

Wise is an excellent platform for international money transfers, but it takes it further by also being an excellent platform for domestic transfers. USD to USD and even EUR to EUR transfers on the platforms are just as smooth and just as cheap.

Secondly, thanks to its transparency, competitive exchange rates, and its inherently low transfer fees, Wise is perhaps the better alternative for international transfers whose volumes are not too high. In fact, smaller transfers on Wise can cost as low as $1 in overall charges and fees.

When to Use OFX or Wise

Both OFX and Wise have incredible strengths as money transfer platforms, both internationally and domestically. For this reason, they are usually some of the top two alternatives for anyone looking to send money overseas.

As such, it is usually advisable to consider these two platforms pretty much anytime you want to send money overseas or domestically. 

Among the two, you're sure to find a cheap, safe, efficient, fast, and convenient alternative no matter how much you're sending. 

When Not to Use OFX or Wise

As great as both of these platforms are, there are obviously certain scenarios where it might be more advisable to go with other alternatives. One of such cases occurs, for instance, when you're trying to send money to a country that is not compatible with both OFX and Wise.

Additionally, if you happen to be sending money to a bank account in another country belonging to a bank wherein you also have an account, it may be cheaper just to do a bank-to-bank transfer. Because both the originating and destination banks are the same, fees may be more affordable, and transactions may be faster.

Bottom Line

There is no denying that both OFX and Wise are two of the best alternatives for international money transfers. Moreover, they are usually much better options for most scenarios than wire transfers or bank-to-bank international transfers.

And while Wise takes the lead as the best choice for transparency and reasonable fees, OFX can help you carry out large transactions smoothly and even offer financial mechanisms to take advantage of favorable foreign exchange market conditions.

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