What's the cheapest way to send money?

Hint: Don’t use your bank.


When you’re trying to find the cheapest way to send money overseas, there are three prices you should be aware of:

 

  1. The fee to send the money. Sending money overseas with your bank will often incur a hefty fee of up to $35 just to make the transaction. Using an online money transfer service is usually substantially cheaper, if not free.

  2. The margin taken by the money transfer provider. Shopping around for the best currency exchange rate can save you hundreds and even thousands on sizeable transfers. Banks often charge a margin of up to 5% above the daily interbank exchange rate. So when your bank tells you that you’ll spend .77 GBP for every $1 (USD), a simple Google search may reveal that the real daily exchange rate is closer to .72. That means that on a £10,000 transfer to the U.S., you may lose around £400 by using your bank. Using OFX instead gives you access to consistently competitive exchange rates, and it may be your cheapest way to send money overseas.

  3. The fee to receive the payment. Some banks may charge your recipient a fee to receive money from overseas. At OFX, we do our best to minimise these fees by sending your money using our global network of 115 local bank accounts. See, banks often don’t charge such fees for local transfers, so whenever possible, OFX uses our local account to make your transfer. It works like this: you pay into our local account in your home country, and we pay out from our local account in your recipient’s country, so your recipient doesn’t have to pay receiving fees. Unfortunately, these fees vary from bank to bank, and they also depend on what kind of account your recipient has, which is why we can’t guarantee that you won’t pay a receiving fee when you make a transfer with us. But at least you do know that we’re doing our best to deliver value for our customers.


When evaluating the cheapest way to send money overseas, there are additional factors to consider beyond fees and exchange rates:

 

  1. Is the exchange rate guaranteed? Some peer-to-peer money transfer providers do not allow you to lock in a rate before you book your transfer, and you could have to wait 1-6 days for a buyer on the other side. If the currency exchange rate fluctuates dramatically, you could potentially lose big. Even a 1-2% movement in the exchange rate could mean a difference of hundreds of dollars depending on the size of your transfer. When you book a transfer with OFX, your rate is locked-in, so you always know how much your recipient will receive.

  2. Is the service convenient, clear and accessible? Depending on how often you need to transfer money overseas, customer service and automated transfers can be very important. You may want to choose a provider who lets you track your transfer, so you always know where your money is. With OFX, you can lock in an exchange rate for up to a year, so you can protect yourself from currency swings. You can also use our app to follow your money every step of the way, and you’ll always have 24/7 access to our customer service team. When the banks are closed, OFX is open, so you can book a transfer on your schedule--not your bank’s.

  3. Be careful whom you send money to. According to the FCA website, “Do not respond to an individual asking for help to place large sums of money in an overseas bank account.” At OFX, all our employees are trained to look out for unusual activity, and we may say ‘no’ to certain transfers that look very suspicious, but we always encourage our customers to think twice before sending money overseas if the recipient is someone you’ve never met in person. If you’d like to know more about our fraud prevention, you can read about common frauds or learn how OFX helps keep you secure.


Our customers say it best:

“First class service. I would advise anyone wanting to transfer funds abroad to use OFX. ”

--David Dyson, Trustpilot Review, 2.9.16 

If you have any questions that aren't answered in our FAQs, feel free to ask us here.

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