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.
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.
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.
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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).
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 World Account – Independent BER Review World Account: A Summary WorldFirst, a market leader in the international payments space, offers a multi-currency “World Account” that allows businesses to hold, send and receive funds in 10 major currencies: GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, JPY, SGD, NZD, CNH and HKD. With a World Account, businesses can invoice […]
Posted: 19 Apr, 2019 - Last update: 3 Aug, 2023
Disclaimer: Please note any provider recommendations, currency forecasts or any opinions of our authors should not be taken as a reference to buy or sell any financial product.