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OFX Canada Review: How I Convert Canadian Dollars to US Dollars For Cheap

Wonder how to convert Canadian dollars to USD and avoid paying a huge commission or using ridiculous currency exchange rates?

Here, I will talk about a particular online service I am personally using to convert Canadian dollars to US dollars: OFX Canada (this is my affiliate link that will give you a special rate to help you save even more).

In this post, you will find out why I use this service and why I do not use such banking services as TD Borderless Plan and similar to them. Also, I will mention the cases when you may want to consider other services instead of OFX.

What is OFX?

OFX is an online service that specializes in international wire transfers and currency exchange management.

They are basically a virtual currency exchange firm that operates online and lets you transfer money between different countries right from the conform of your home.

OFX banner

OFX is a company that originally came from Australia.

Over time, they bought all the currency exchange local brands such as USForex, NZForex, ClearFX, OZForex, UKForex, and CanadianForex and brought it all under the same name.

Maybe you have heard of Canadian Forex? Well, I certainly have. In fact, when I first stumbled upon it, it was Canadian Forex.

CanadianForex was bought by OFX a few years ago and now, it is known as OFX Canada.

How does OFX compare to a bank?

The answer is simple: Their exchange rates are much better.

For example, let’s convert Canadian dollars to US dollars using Canadian Forex and… and let’s take TD and the rates they post on their website for Borderless Plan (which is supposed to be better).

For TD Borderless Plan, I will use their Foreign exchange calculator with Non-Cash Rates since they “are generally more favorable to you than Cash Rates”.

For OFX Canada, I will use my own account since I have access to a special currency exchange rate (and you can have it, too, if you register via my affiliate link).

$20,000 US dollars to Canadian dollars example

Let’s assume we want to buy $20,000 US dollars.

For TD Borderless Plan exchange rate, we get the following picture:

And here’s for OFX for Canadians:

Here’s the comparison table just for the convenience:

Institution CAD => USD Rate CAD To Pay
TD 0.7307 $27,372.00
OFX 0.7381 $27,096.60

If we use OFX, we save $27,372.00 – $27,096.60 = $275.4 CAD!

Not bad 🙂

You may ask: But what about the transfer fees? Isn’t it said on the OFX FAQs page that they charge a flat fee of $15? Why didn’t I mention it?

Well, guys here’s the catch.

Since I am an affiliate with OFX, I got to get the special treatment here: No fees are charged aaaaand you get a good rate.

And guess what?

You can get the same rate if you register via my affiliate link.

$1,000 US dollars to Canadian dollars example

But of course, sometimes you need to transfer a smaller amount of money. Let’s look at the rates for converting $1000 USD to CAD.

Here’s what we get for TD Borderless exchange rate:

ofx_canada_vs_td_borderless_plan_1000_us_to_canadian_1

And here’s what OFX Canada gives us:

ofx_canada_vs_td_borderless_plan_1000_us_to_canadian_2

Here’s the comparison table for your convenience:

Institution CAD => USD Rate CAD To Pay
TD 0.7381 $1,354.80CAD
OFX 0.7553 $1,323.98CAD

If we used OFX, we would get  $1,354.80 – $1,323.98 = $30.82 CAD to save!

So OFX is cheaper even for as small sums as $1,000 USD.

Again, I used my account with special rates applied.

Verdict

It seems that OFX is better than a bank for transferring both big and small sums of money.

In order to do the calculations, I used my own account with special rates and all the fees ($15) waived.

So why pay more if you can pay less?

If you register via my affiliate link, you will save at least $15CAD on each transfer and get better rates.

How does OFX compare to XE.com?

You may have heard about another currency exchange service called XE.com.

I was told that their rates are better than OFX and decided to verify it.

$19,000 US dollars to Canadian dollars example

Recently, I needed to send $19,000 USD to the U.S. I thought it would be an excellent case to see which service wins.

Here’s what we get for XE.com exchange rate (I did it from my account):

And here’s what OFX for Canadians gives us:

Here’s the comparison table for your convenience:

Institution CAD => USD Rate CAD To Pay
XE.com 0.7475 $25,418.06
OFX Canada 0.7500 $25,333.33

If we used OFX, we would get $25,418.06 – $25,333.33 = $84.73 CAD to save!

$1,000 US dollars to Canadian dollars example

But of course, sometimes you need to transfer a smaller amount of money. Let’s look at the rates for converting $1000 USD to CAD.

Here’s what we get for XE.com exchange rate:

And here’s what OFX Canada gives us:

Here’s the comparison table for your convenience:

Institution CAD => USD Rate CAD To Pay
XE.com 0.7332 $1,363.88
OFX Canada 0.7381 $1,354.83

If we used OFX, we would get  $1,363.88 – $1,354.83 = $9.05 CAD to save!

OFX Canada is cheaper even for a smaller amount of money to transfer.

Verdict

It seems that OFX is better than XE.com for transferring both big and small sums of money.

In order to do the calculations, I used my own OFX account with special rates and all the fees ($15) waived.

If you register via my affiliate link, you will save at least $15CAD on each transfer and get better rates.

How does OFX compare to TransferWise?

TransfwerWise is another money transfer service that many use.

And it’s a popular question of how it compares to OFX. You can read an answer in my post “OFX vs TransferWise”.

Behind the scene: Fees & exchange rates

OFX transfer fees: No transfer fees are charged on all their transactions if you register via my affiliate link. This means that the entire amount you type in is converted.

OFX exchange rates: OFX has competitive exchange rates that are actually among the best ones on the market.

Their exchange rate gets better the more you send and their margin is only 0.4%. Once you lock the exchange rate with OFX, you will know exactly how much the other side you are sending money to will receive.

Other fees: In 85% of cases, payments are settled via domestic bank accounts, without any intermediary or receiving bank fees.

In other cases, OFX guarantees there won’t be any deductions from intermediary and/or receiving banks when transferring your money to the beneficiary account.

The only exceptions are JPY and ZAR, which may attract additional fees due to local regulations (this applies to all providers).

How to use OFX Canada

Ok, you decided to get OFX a try and got registered online!

OFX banner

Now what?

Now, you need to verify your identity.

Verifying your identity

It is easy to do and takes only a few minutes.

Usually, they ask for:

  • a scan or photo of an I.D. (can be a passport or driver license);
  • a scan or photo of an address confirmation document (for example, a utility bill or driver license)

Note that if you used your driver’s license as an ID, you cannot use it as a proof of address and vice versa.

In rare cases, you may also need some other documents. But as I said, it’s rare and the OFX customer service team will let you know if it’s the case.

Once your identity is verified, you can start making transfers.

Converting Canadian dollars to US dollars and sending it to a US Account

Now when you can start transferring, the fun begins!

Did you know that there is the best time to trade currencies?

According to thebalance.com, the most favorable Forex trading time is 8 AM – 12 PM EST when more than 50% of all Forex trade is happening.

How to send money to OFX

There are two ways to send money to OFX for exchange:

  1. Direct withdraw from your bank account
  2. Wire transfer from your bank to OFX

Please note that OFX no longer supports electronic bill payment as they used to.

Direct withdraw from your bank account

For that, you need to add your bank account to your profile.

Go to Profile & Setting and scroll down to Your bank account information. Then click on Add your bank account:

ofx_canada_add_bank_info

To add your account, OFX uses a third-party platform Plaid, an award-winning fintech solution for bank services.

It connects your account much faster since it eliminates the need to make a small deposit to your account.

ofx_canada_new_transfer_add_new_account_ with Plaid

This option is more convenient and cheaper since you do not need to pay any extra fees.

However, it has a limit on how much money you can send at once. The limit depends on the currency you are sending:

Currency Direct Deposit Limit
CAD $25,000
USD $50,000

Wire transfer

For larger amounts, you need to use the wire transfer option. it does not have a limit.

First, you need to send money to OFX and then OFX will send the funds to your recipient.

For this transaction, your bank will probably make you pay a wire transfer fee.

Adding a recipient

You need to add the account details of the receiving side and this can be done in the menu Recipients.

Setting up a deal

For creating a new deal, press Transfer Now.

Type in the amount of money you want to transfer and select the recipient. Also, here you can add your account details if you have not done it earlier.

Then press the button Review & Confirm at the end of the form. You will get an email with the confirmation.

Note that some currency pairs (for example, CAD-RUB) available for transfer only during market open hours (Monday – Friday).

Tracking your deal

You can set up notifications in order to track your deal. Just go to Profile & Settings to the Notification tab.

ofx_canada_notifications

Any possible issues with OFX?

OFX reviews

OFX has many positive reviews.

For example, on trustpilot.com, they have a solid 4-star rating and the reviewers liked them:

ofx_canada_reviews

In general, most reviewers are quite satisfied with the OFX service.

The most issues people have are about two things:

  1. opening an account
  2. funds seemingly not arriving

Let’s look at it in detail.

“Opening an account” complaints

When it comes to opening an account with OFX, they have to be compliant with many regulations.

This may result in somehow tighter rules for opening accounts – and this produces complaints, of course.

“Funds not arriving” complaints

When customers complain about funds seemingly not arriving, it often has nothing to do with OFX and more about the banks that receive the money.

Some banks take their time to process the payment on their side and this results in delays.

Just note that when OFX sends you an email with the subject “OFX | Funds Paid”, it means that the receiving bank got the money. It does not take into account how much time the bank will process the payment.

How fast is OFX Canada?

Sometimes, money transfer time can be a critical factor for you.

With OFX, it takes about 3-5 business days end-to-end to reach a destination bank account. For comparison, if you use a bank, it can delay your transfer by 2 days.

If you want a faster option, PayPal or TranserWise (an affiliate link) can be a better option. Just remember, it won’t be as a good deal as with OFX.

If you wonder how OFX compares to TransferWise, check out my post about it.

What about safety?

When it comes to sending your money abroad, OFX is just as safe and secure as any bank.

OFX has offices worldwide: In AustraliaUKNZ (registered)Canada and the USA.

This makes it one of the most regulated financial companies in the world. Apart from that, OFX also is also obligated to comply with international anti-money laundering laws of these countries.

In short, the chance OFX will lose or mishandle your money is as low as the chances of a reputable bank such as TD or, I don’t know, RBC doing it.

In addition, as I already mentioned above, to add your account to the system, OFX Canada uses Plaid, a comprehensive secure banking solution trusted by many leaders in the financial industry.

My personal experience with OFX Canada

I have been using this service since 2015.

It has been a good experience. I am happy to see that they have only improved over time. For example, now the transfer fee is waived and we got a special rate (if you register via my affiliate link).

Before buying an online business, I had to answer a question about how I am going to convert Canadian dollars to US dollars and transfer the money abroad.

Since I wanted to convert a lot of money (more than $20,000), I did not want to lose too much because of a currency exchange rate.

I was very aware that the rates offered by regular banks are pretty sh*tty, but I did not know what alternative I could use.

On top of that, I needed to send money to the US as cheaply as possible.

Turns out that there was one answer to my problems: OFX Canada.

I stumbled upon it by accident.

I was researching how other Canadians who receive the income from the US deal with the whole thing of exchanging US dollars to Canadian dollars and transferring money to Canada. 

My assumption was that there were more Canadians who get money from the US rather than send abroad and that I would be able to adapt their solution to my case.

And I was right!

After googling for something like “transfer US dollars to Canada” I found an awesome thread on PersonalFinanceCanada subReddit in which some dude described his approach of receiving payments to his US employer.

After reading it, I was, like, “Bingo! This is what I need!” His scheme has become a blueprint for my banking solution.

When I said in my post about finding a good US bank that I do not care that BMO Harris does not send money back to Canadian BMO for free, I meant I will be using OFX (back then it was still Canadian Forex).

So, here is the schema I planned to use:

Transferring Money from Canada to USA

Actually, if I only needed to do a non-urgent wire transfer, I would totally use OFX and I wouldn’t bother with opening an account in a bank that offers this service over the phone or online.

Unfortunately, in my case, I need a fast domestic wire transfer.

I briefly mentioned the reasons in my previous post and will write about it in depth later. A wire transfer by OFX would take the same 3-5 business days as by a Canadian bank.

If the transfer speed is not critical for you, you can totally use OFX as a cheap and convenient wire transfer agent.

I sent the money and by the end of the next business day, the money was received by OFX.

The next question was: When the funds will be available on my US account?

According to OFX, it was supposed to be available overnight! And indeed the next business day the full amount was available on my US banking account.

The whole process of transferring Canadian dollars to my US account took 3 business days. Pretty neat 🙂

Final Words

I really like OFX (former Canadian Forex) and I hope you will benefit from it, too.

I wrote the first version of this article in 2015 and it had zero affiliate links.

Since then, the article raised a lot of interest from the visitors of my blog and it even got noticed by the OFX itself! They approached me with an offer to join their affiliate program. I happily agreed. So here we are 👇🏻

How I Convert Canadian Dollars to US Dollars For Cheap Using Canadian Forex Banner

Thank you so much for supporting my blog by buying services through my affiliate links.

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