We compare an established company with a relative online newcomer to learn which is better for your next transfer overseas.
When it comes to international money transfers, MoneyGram is a major player. It’s been sending money overseas since 1940 and offers services online and at agent locations in more than 200 countries around the world. OFX, however, is a digital transfer service that serves a diverse range of needs for people and businesses managing payments abroad.Overall, OFX will save you money with better exchange rates and lower fees. But if speed is a priority, MoneyGram may be what you’re looking for.
Compare MoneyGram to OFX
MoneyGram and OFX: How they work
With MoneyGram, you go to its site, enter the amount you need to transfer and confirm your payment and how it should be received. (You also have the option of visiting or calling an agent.) Once you approve the exchange rate and fees you’ll pay, MoneyGram converts and delivers your money to your recipient’s bank account or for cash pickup at locations worldwide.
With OFX, you’ll need to create a free account, but it’s easy to set up as part of your transfer. It’s a simple process: You go to its site, enter how much money you’ll be transferring, and send your funds to an OFX account. OFX then converts your currency and sends it to your recipient, who collects it via bank transfer.
Our pick: OFX International Money Transfers
OFX offers flexible transfer options, 24/7 customer support and no maximum limit. Send a minimum of $1,000 per year.
- $0 transfer fees. Send fee-free transfers to over 195 countries worldwide.
- Transfers in 55 currencies. OFX supports major, minor and exotic currencies.
- Flexible options. Choose from forward contracts to scheduled transfers for convenience and flexibility.
Who offers lower fees?
Fees vary depending on how much money you’re transferring, how you’re sending it and the country you’re sending it to. Unless you actually initiate a transfer, it’s not easy to find out up front how much you’ll pay. As an example, to send $1,000 to China from a bank account, you’ll pay $8 in fees; to pay for that same amount by credit or debit card, you’ll pay $48. To send $1,000 for cash pickup in the Philippines, it’s $4.99 from a bank account and $10 by credit or debit.
OFX charges no fees on all minimum transfers of $1,000.
While MoneyGram’s fees can start at $5, costs can soar to $48 or more depending on the details of your transfer. OFX’s $0 fees on all transfers is unbeatable.
Which offers better exchange rates?
MoneyGram makes its money from transfer fees and by padding the exchange rate for a profit. Depending on where you’re sending your transfer, the exchange rate could be 5% or more above the mid-market rate. If you’re sending a large amount of money, this could mean hundreds of dollars that go straight into MoneyGram’s pockets.
Say you’re sending $1,000 to China:
- If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 6.90 CNY
- MoneyGram’s exchange rate may be 1 USD = 6.82 CNY
A typical exchange rate at OFX is about 0.4% above the mid-market rate — a competitive rate any way you look at it.
So sending $1,000 to China:
- If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 6.90 CNY
- OFX’s exchange rate could be 1 USD = 6.89 CNY
OFX’s stronger exchange rates put more money into your recipient’s pocket than MoneyGram’s will.
Which is faster?
Delivery speeds vary by transfer options and countries. At an agent location or by phone, your transfer could be delivered in minutes (with higher costs). In general, your cheaper options will take from two to four business days to be received.
To transfer your money to OFX, it takes one to two business days. It takes another one to two days to send that money from OFX to your recipient. You’re looking at least two business days to complete a transaction from send to receipt.
Your average transfer will likely take about the same time with both services, though MoneyGram takes a slight lead with faster (and more expensive) cash pickups.
Which offers more options?
|Payment Methods||Minimum and maximum transfers||Delivery methods||Transfer speeds||Countries and currencies|
|MoneyGram||Bank account, credit or debit card, cash||Varies by country||Bank transfer, cash pickup, other options by location||2–4 business days||190+ countries and 45+ currencies|
|OFX||Electronic funds transfer (EFT)||$1,000 minimum per year; no maximum||Bank transfer||1–2 business days to transfer to OFX; 1–2 business days to transfer to recipient||190+ countries (exclusions include Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya and Syria)|
Case study:$1,000 to Japan
Say you want to send $1,000 to buy office equipment for a business expansion in Tokyo. Here’s what an online bank-to-bank transfer would like with MoneyGram and OFX.
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 113.580 JPY||1 USD = 117.117 JPY|
|Transfer speed||2–4 business days||Up to 4 business days(1–2 to OFX, 1–2 to recipient)|
|Total received||110,740 JPY||117,117 JPY|
By skipping MoneyGram for OFX, you not only save $25 on transfer fees but also more than $30 on the stronger exchange rate alone. That’s $55 you could put toward supplies.
OFX’s lower fees and more advantageous exchange rates makes it a major competitor in the international money transfer market. Though to get it there in a day, only MoneyGram offers expedited cash pickups. Ultimately, you’ll need to compare your options to find the service that’s right for you.