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WorldFirst Foreign Transfers – BER Review

WorldFirst is a market leader in the international payments space and is consistently ranked among the most reliable and cheapest money transfer handlers for four-figure sums.


Exchange Rates 4.7
Customer Service 4.8
Ease of Use 4.6

WorldFirst: A Summary

Providing you meet minimum transaction requirements (usually a low four-figure sum that varies with each currency) WorldFirst is one of the best services for sending money across borders.

WorldFirst exchange rates include the company’s fees and are extremely competitive, allowing for big savings over transfers handled by banks.

WorldFirst is business friendly, in that it offers forward contracts, limit orders, bulk payments and FX dealer phone support.

WorldFirst transfers can be processed over the phone, on the site or via the WorldFirst app.

Update Feb 2019:  Following the takeover of WorldFirst by Ant Financial in early 2019, WorldFirst has exited the US market, which means that US-based readers will no longer be able to open WorldFirst accounts.

 

Positive

  • Bank-beating exchange rates
  • Best FX rate guarantee for UK customers
  • Excellent customer service options
  • Well-capitalised, longstanding company
  • Personal account manager
  • Dealer support for transfers of £5,000 or more
  • FX forwards, limit orders and bulk payments

Negative

  • FX fees not completely transparent (included in the FX rate)
  • Minimum transfer size of £1,000 (varies by currency)
  • Same-currency transfers cost up to 1%
  • No USA accounts

 

What Savings Can You Expect?

On most transactions, WorldFirst advertises savings between 0.25 and 4 percent of the transaction amount when compared with the FX service of a typical bank. Let’s see what this means in real currency terms.

Using BER’s Foreign Transfers comparison table, below, we’ll pretend we’re sending 5,000 Australian dollars to New Zealand. Given exchange rates at the time of writing, if sending via WorldFirst, the recipient of funds would receive NZ$5,154 (rounded to the nearest dollar). If sending at the average bank rate, the received amount drops to only NZ$5,010 for a saving of NZ$144.

In terms of percentages, using the interbank exchange rate (AUD/NZD 1.044 at the time of writing), it’s easy enough for us to determine that the banks are charging 4 percent of the amount that would be received under zero-fee conditions (NZ$5,220). WorldFirst by comparison charges only 1.3 percent (these charges are easily seen in BER comparison tables under “total cost”).

When compared with other FX specialists, WorldFirst consistently ranks near the very top for savings on international payments, across a range of currencies and amounts. A random sampling of 30 currency routes in February 2019 showed WorldFirst to be the first or second cheapest provider 80 percent of the time.

Worldfirst Foreign Transfer Rates & Fees - Compared

Foreign Transfer ProvidersReceive USD($)Exchange RateFee GBPTotal CostDeal Links
WorldFirst logo
6,205.5 USD
Compare
1.241100.5%
HSBC logo
6,020.46 USD
185 USD
1.2059£7.53.46%
Natwest Bank logo
5,986.99 USD
219 USD
1.201154%
Citibank International Money Transfers
Citibank logo
5,959.66 USD
246 USD
1.1948124.44%
Banks - Average Rate
Lloyds TSB logo Santander logo Citibank logo Natwest Bank logo HSBC logo
5,959 USD
246 USD
1.1953154.45%
Santander International Money Transfers
Santander logo
5,925.7 USD
280 USD
1.1899204.98%
Lloyds TSB logo
5,901.3 USD
304 USD
1.185205.37%
 

WorldFirst logo

WorldFirst: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
From Amount:5,000 GBP
Fee:
Exchange Rate:1.2411 (0.5% from mid-rate)
To Amount:6,205.5 USD
Total Cost:0.5%
Time:0:46 Local
Transfer Speed:1-2 days
Services:Bank Transfers - Online & Phone, Foreign Currency Accounts
Rating:
 
: 4.6/5.0
Reviews:
 

HSBC logo

HSBC: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
From Amount:5,000 GBP
Fee:£7.5 GBP (.15%)
Exchange Rate:1.2059 (3.32% from mid-rate)
To Amount:6,020.46 USD
Total Cost:3.46%
Difference:
185 USD less than using WorldFirst
Time:0:46 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 

Natwest Bank logo

Natwest Bank: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
From Amount:5,000 GBP
Fee:15
Exchange Rate:1.2010 (3.71% from mid-rate)
To Amount:5,986.99 USD
Total Cost:4%
Difference:
219 USD less than using WorldFirst
Time:0:46 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
 
: 1/5.0
Reviews:
 

Citibank logo

Citibank: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
From Amount:5,000 GBP
Fee:12
Exchange Rate:1.1948 (4.21% from mid-rate)
To Amount:5,959.66 USD
Total Cost:4.44%
Difference:
246 USD less than using WorldFirst
Time:0:46 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 

Banks - Average Rate

Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
From Amount:5,000 GBP
Fee:15
Exchange Rate:1.1862 (4.9% from mid-rate)
To Amount:5,959 USD
Total Cost:4.45%
Difference:
246 USD less than using WorldFirst
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
 

Santander logo

Santander: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
From Amount:5,000 GBP
Fee:20
Exchange Rate:1.1899 (4.6% from mid-rate)
To Amount:5,925.7 USD
Total Cost:4.98%
Difference:
280 USD less than using WorldFirst
Time:0:46 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
 
: 2/5.0
Reviews:
 

Lloyds TSB logo

Lloyds TSB: Foreign Transfer GBP→USD
From Amount:5,000 GBP
Fee:20
Exchange Rate:1.1850 (4.99% from mid-rate)
To Amount:5,901.3 USD
Total Cost:5.37%
Difference:
304 USD less than using WorldFirst
Time:0:46 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
 
: 1/5.0
Reviews:
 
Snapshot 09/23/2019 - See full table
 

 

Best Exchange Rate Guarantee

For its UK customers, WorldFirst promises to better any exchange rate offered by any other FX provider, so long as you have an active account with the other provider, the quote you have is in writing (email) and is not more than 3 hours old, and so long as the rate is not better than that at which WorldFirst itself acquires the currency in the interbank market.

WorldFirst rate guarantees are only for new, upcoming transactions and don’t apply if you have already agreed a transaction rate with WorldFirst (“in-play” transfers will not be cancelled or amended).

 

Is WorldFirst Safe?

In our opinion, WorldFirst is among the most trustworthy companies in the industry. 

WorldFirst is a highly regulated firm (regulated in the UK, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia as of April 2019) and as such is required to keep customer funds separate from its own capital in a tier-1 financial institution.

WorldFirst’s financial position is undeniably rock solid, especially now that it’s owned by Ant Financial — the world’s most valuable fintech firm. WorldFirst actually offers audited accounts and bank references should you wish to see these.

Furthermore, WorldFirst has top-notch security systems in place and protects your account with two-factor authentication for a number of account actions, including for making payments and adding or editing payees. 

 

Customer Service

Customers service options at WorldFirst are excellent, and include phone support, emails, requesting a callback and you can even pay them a visit to discuss your account in person.

WorldFirst users are assigned an account manager but can speak with any member of WorldFirst staff. For money transfers above £5,000, users can speak with an FX dealer for advice or to potentially get an improved exchange rate.

Typically, WorldFirst staff will be more knowledgeable about foreign exchange affairs and markets than those at newer firms in the payments industry. In several reviews online, customers have praised the foresight of WorldFirst dealers, which have suggested alternative, cheaper times to exchange money based on their knowledge of currency-affecting events and market fluctuations.

WorldFirst has a complaints process in place and says it responds to complaints within 3 days.

WorldFirst might not be too responsive to general enquiries from Joe Public (non-account holders). We hear that many emails from non-account holders go unanswered.

 

WorldFirst – How it Works and FAQS

How to use WorldFirst

After you register via this promo link (to get your two fee-free deals) the steps to transfer via WorldFirst are as follows:

1. WorldFirst will call you to verify your identity and set up your online account, you can then monitor the rate in real-time.

2. When you are ready to do your transfer you simply login into the WorldFirst website and enter the details (Currency, Amount & Beneficiary Account) and then transfer the FROM amount to the WorldFirstbank account.

3. WorldFirst then send the money to the beneficiary foreign currency account at much better rates than you would get using your own bank.

4. WorldFirst notifies you when the funds have been received into the destination account.

No Cash, Cheques or Credit Cards Accepted

WorldFirst does not send cash or allow cash to be paid into its account. Using cash will result in the payment being stopped and the return of funds involves a lengthy process that includes a formal identification process.
WorldFirst does not accept cheques under any circumstances, for any currencies.

WorldFirst Exchange rates

WorldFirst deals with more than 60 global currencies with very competitive rate margins and generally offers the best or close to the best exchange rates in the market.

As with all foreign exchange providers their exchange rates get better the more you send, with margins often going under 0.7% once you are sending over GBP 50K.

WorldFirst do not charge Transfer Fees.

WorldFirst has one fees when using their online platform where you can send as little as £100 on a fee-free basis.

Occasionally, third-party banks may deduct a fee from your transfer before paying your recipient. This fee may vary and WorldFirst receives no portion of it. If you’re concerned, simply talk to one of the WorldFirstteam members to discuss your transfer as you may need to send extra to account for any possible bank imposed fees.

WorldFirst Foreign Transfers

Visit WorldFirst

WorldFirst mentions in the News

Facebook’s Libra Is Not the Game Changer That’s Being Promised

Enthusiasts would have us believe that Facebook’s own digital currency, Libra, will instantly revolutionize the remittance industry upon its release in 2020 — except it won’t. A harsher reality awaits, with conversion costs, capital gains taxes and a lack of Libra-priced goods all likely to limit its appeal.

Last update: 6 Jul, 2019

Banks Charge Small Customers 25 Times More for FX, Research Shows

New research from the European Central Bank shows that banks charge smaller customers up to 25 times more for FX forward transactions and that those who fail to compare providers pay 14 times more for FX than those that do.

Last update: 17 Jun, 2019

Best Multi-Currency Accounts 2019: WorldFirst vs. TransferWise vs. OFX

We compare the features, exchange rates and security of the three best multi-currency accounts available today — the WorldFirst World Account, the TransferWise Borderless Account and the OFX Global Currency Account.

Last update: 12 Jun, 2019

Fintech Money Transfers Up 2,500% in South Korea Last Year

The number of international money transfers handled by fintech providers in South Korea has grown 2,500 percent in little over a year, the country’s financial regulator has said.

Last update: 5 Jun, 2019

 

 

Posted to: Reviews

 

13 Reviews for “WorldFirst Foreign Transfers – BER Review”

  1. Avatar Sarah says:

    I use Worldfirst for my online store. They set up a bank account for me in Europe and the US, and helped me so much with my online business. My account manager is always there when I have any questions.
    I have saved so much money in currency fees and margins with Worldfirst. It made me realise just how much my bank was ripping me off before.
    Thanks Worldfirst!!

    5
  2. Avatar Sally says:

    Word First offered the best rates when compared to others. The team really know their stuff and where very happy to take to time to explain, even with all my questions.

    4.7
  3. Avatar Ross says:

    Used BER to find the best rate, they sent me to World First. Couldn’t get a better rate anywhere else and also the guys were so friendly when I was asking questions. I have told all my friends to use them and now they all do..

    4.3
  4. Avatar Gerhardus says:

    Great rates and service – I always book my trades online and the money arrives on the other side. It’s always the amount we agree with out any other fees being taken out. It’ such an easy way of paying overseas.

    5
  5. Avatar Francois says:

    Easy registration, informed staff, great rates, easy platform. I send funds to NZ on a monthly basis and use the World First app on my I Phone and its done within 20 seconds, couldn’t be happier. Have recommended them to a number of friends and will continue to do so!

    4.7
  6. Avatar Horatio says:

    Best Exchange Rates put me onto World First – no looking back great service and rates – they only seem to employ happy people.

    4.7
  7. Avatar Billy says:

    World First offered great service and awesome rates. The other surprising thing was the advice they offered and level of service, they made me feel like their only customer no rushing me off the phone or asking me to deal online instead of calling. Great company couldn’t recommend them more.

    5
  8. Avatar Greg says:

    I first used them because of their rates, which are the best, I quickly learnt that it’s about more than rates, the service and usability of the online part is great.

    4.7
  9. Avatar Ray says:

    I have used World First for a number of years now. The thing I really like is they are very informative and open to helping you with your questions. If I need help I can always call them to speak to my dealer, John and he is always happy to help. Or as I do most of the time simply log to their online platform to book my deal. Every step of this deal booking process is captured and recorded on my online so at all times I know what is happening. My favorite is that I can set rate alerts when I need those high rates and someone from their office will call me. You don’t see this type of service as much now days so I am very happy with World First.

    4.3
  10. Avatar frof says:

    Votre équipe a toujours répondu à mes demandes, ce qui était particulièrement important étant donné qu’il s’agissait de ma première fois et que j’étais nerveux à l’idée d’envoyer de l’argent à une entité inconnue.
    merci
    frof

    4.7
  11. Avatar Matt says:

    I used World First to transfer cash back home, they got me the best rate and the service was really good. My brother also uses them for his companies foreign exchange and he raves about them!

  12. Avatar jobob says:

    I had to trade some money from GBP to AUD. I was recommended to World First by BestExchangeRates. The recommendation proved to be brilliant. I was dealt with on a very personal level and had everything explained, including trading risks. I was contacted by one person and never referred on without being asked or informed why. The service was excellent as were the staff and it all happened as they promised. Also I saved a few thousand pounds over what the banks wanted to charge ( or should I say exploit) me.

  13. Avatar chante says:

    Cette expérience n’aurait pas pu mieux se dérouler, et j’ai trouvé votre portail en ligne très simple d’utilisation. ch

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