Pros and Cons
- Large and Trusted: 250,000+ Active Clients
- 98% Positive Client Feedback
- Best Rate for Currency Transfers
- Transparent Pricing from 0.15%
- Largest Variety of Currencies
- Great Online System and App
- Easiest Sign-Up, Most Courteous Staff
- Unavailable in the USA, and in Quebec
- Minimum Transfer Amount is £1,000 or equivalent
- Most expansive offering for ecommerce businesses
This review of World First money transfer service, or WorldFirst UK limited, will explain the ins and outs of the company. From World First FX margins, how safe it is to use World First, how do you make transfers or payments with World First through telephone, email, online system or app, to what World First client reviews tell about user satisfaction.
Is World First Safe and Reliable?
World First Limited, registered and headquartered in the UK, is a market leading and award winning foreign exchange company. It offers currency exchange and international payments to both private and corporate clients. Since its establishment in 2004, the company has grown rapidly, and today has offices across four continents employing more than 600 people .
WorldFirst is ranked among 2019’s top UK international money transfer companies in the UK in terms of revenue and has helped over 400,000 global customers with their international transfers. Each year World First makes millions of transfers for its unanimously happy client base.
Like most currency brokers, WorldFirst money transfer never speculates on the currency markets. When a client enters into a transaction with WorldFirst, they will then enter into a matching covering deal with their banking partners. Thus turning your sold currency into your bought currency and from which the onward payment is made.
The two main transaction banks for World First are Barclays and Citibank – two of the most recognised and safest international banks around the globe. WorldFirst is highly transparent in its financial performance and what it does to protect client money.
Such rapid growth won the company an inclusion in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 in 2011, and earned it a position in the top 10 Sunday Times FastTrack – companies in 2015, 2016 and 2017 – more than any other financial services provider in the UK.
In addition to that, it has won several prestigious awards, such as the UK Customer Experience Awards in 2013, and the UK National Business Award in 2011.
In April 2016, WorldFirst Payments has been announced as the winner of the Queen’s Award for International Trade, one of the most lucrative and prestigious awards in the UK.
On June 21, 2017, WorldFirst UK changed its logo and overall website appearance towards a more colourful and less simplistic design than before, which was later applied for all sections of the website such as WorldFirst Australia. This rebranding process also included a lot more focus on a specific segment – online sellers, which has proved itself as a highly commercially viable direction for the company.. During the year to follow, the company also entered into an internal reorganisation process to better adjust itself for its new future.
In January of 2019, as part of its reorganization process, WorldFirst has decided to stop taking on US based clients and shut down its entire US operation.. Days later, it was discovered that WorldFirst had been bought by Ant Financial, the Chinese conglomerate behind AliPay and AliBaba, for a consideration of USD $700m.
Based on articles in the media, World First USA will reopen in the future under a new name, and will be a separately operating business named Omega money transfers with no relationship to Ant Financial’s WorldFirst.
On July 23, 2019, WorldFirst announced they were shifting to a more transparent and more understandable pricing that competes directly with Transferwise’s rates for medium sized clients and is cheaper for large volume clients. This is a significant change in the way the company operates and is a direct result of the Ant Financial acquisition.
World First is one of the fastest-growing businesses in the UK, which definitely attests to the level of satisfaction from clients. Considering this extraordinary growth, the amount of awards it has won and, unlike most money transfer firms, the fact they are completely transparent with the spreads they charge, we conclude that WorldFirst is highly secure, credible and very safe.
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Do Clients Like WorldFirst? Reviews From Across the Web
Prior to their switch from the review platform Feefo to TrustPilot there were over 7,100 WorldFirst client reviews on Feefo, rating the company 98/100.Despite the fact Feefo remains one of the most credible user review companies on the planet, TrustPilot seems to have become the go-to review platform.
WorldFirst now has over 850 reviews on TrustPilot – rated as excellent with a score of 4.6 / 5. It’s a shame WorldFirst have had to lose all of their previous client reviews since migrating to TrustPilot but having monitored the company closely over many years we can attest to their excellent previous reviews. In its time with Feefo, WorldFirst was regularly granted the Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award so it’s no surprise WorldFirst is already rated in the best possible category on TrustPilot.
There are approximately 200 WorldFirst reviews to be found on ReviewCentre, another of the largest client review engines. World First had 96% positive reviews on Feefo, TrustPilot and ReviewCentre, combined.
All three websites show a myriad of client reviews relating to customers across the globe. As such, we assume that while the majority of reviews come from the UK, where Worldfirst has its biggest client base, they also include WorldFirst Australia reviews or WorldFirst Singapore reviews.
Below is a genuine, verified, comment by a client we have referred to them:
Very good, speedy service. Staff I spoke with regarding opening the account were very friendly & knowledgeable. Setting up the transaction, beneficiary etc., was simple and straightforward, and the money arrived in the beneficiary’s account very quickly. To top it all, total transaction was £60 cheaper than my bank!
Clients are extremely satisfied with the services provided to them by World First online, and over the telephone. The few complaints (only dozens out of thousands of highly positive WorldFirst reviews) focused on areas that are objectively difficult to handle. They are required to retain original documentation, in accordance with anti-money laundering laws, as are all foreign exchange firms. Transactions can also be slow to reach specific areas, regardless of which company you choose. In virtually all countries worldwide , banks do not handle incoming international transactions during bank holidays and weekends.
Overall we couldn’t find any consistent, reasonable, complaints that would make us believe the service at World First is nothing short of excellent.
World First’s Exchange Rate & Fees 2020
Fees: World First’s fee policy indicates that there are no fees for outbound transfers for private clients from anywhere in the world – UK, EU, Australia or elsewhere. That means that there are absolutely no fixed transfer fees from any one location to another.
Guarantee: For UK clients, World First guarantees that they will beat the rate of any other firm if you happen to receive a better quote elsewhere.This makes its exchange rates the best in the business!
Exchange Rates: World First’s foreign exchange rates hover between 0.5% and 0.15% below the inter-bank rate, simply positioning WorldFirst as the cheapest company to transfer money abroad with, with a particular focus on high-volume clients. 0.5% margin is likely to be twice cheaper than a bank, and 0.15% (the margin they offer top-tier clients) is the best margin in this industry hands down. Limits: The minimum transfer amount is £1,000 (or €1,000 if you are transferring from Europe), and with World First’s size and liquidity, there is no upper cap on how much you can send. They handle many business clients and online merchants and assist them in transferring millions of pounds each year , to those clients’ utmost satisfaction.
Global Reach & Service
Furthermore, as a World First corporate client you are able to open collection bank accounts overseas for online sellers in GBP, EUR, USD, CAD, AUD, NZD, AUD, SGD & JPY .
Ways to Contact: Email, toll-free telephone number, call-back form, and meetings in worldwide offices.
Translations: World First is available in several languages, including English, French, Mandarin, Catonese, and Japanese.
Accepts Clients: Generally speaking, globally, bar the USA.
Currencies Handled: Over 130.
Client Reviews: Often praise the quality of support and dedicated dealer functionality.
With a dedicated dealing team consisting of knowledgeable dealers worldwide and offices on 5 continents (including most recently the Netherlands and Japan), service and global reach can’t get much better than this, with the exception of World First not accepting USA-based clients starting from January 2019.
World First Foreign Exchange deals with more currencies than any other company we have compared it to. It has more local currency translations than 99% of its competitors. It has dedicated support centers on each continent, which makes service much more localised than with most companies. It is also worth mentioning that the sign-up process takes less than 60 seconds, while most competitors retain perplexing and complex sign-up forms.
When it comes to global reach and service, WorldFirst FX is among the top 10 money transfer companies in the world, and with such an extensive setup of banking partnerss across the world, they can make sure transfers always remain domestic, thus avoiding recipient bank account fees, which is another invaluable asset. Here is how this works:
- Market Orders
- Limit Orders
- Rate Watch
- Forward Contract
- Regular Transfers
Many types of forward contracts, as well as many types of rate watch functionalities, make WorldFirst one of the best companies for hedged transactions. Clients are able to set up regular transfers which can be particularly helpful for individuals with a requirement to repeatedly make the same transaction such as overseas mortgage payments. Clients can then opt to fix each of the regular transfers with a forward contract so they know exactly how much they will have to pay or agree to pay the rate on the day the transfer is scheduled to take place. To cap it off, WorldFirst offers the capability to book forward contracts for up to 3 years in advance, this is significantly longer than the standard 12 months offered by many other firms.
In February of 2017, World First decided to drop World First Markets UK which was a subsidiary company owned by World First UK and offered Participating Forwards and option contracts. The reasoning behind that decision was to focus on the core business of payments and the fact that its corporate businesses were not using World First Markets enough to justify the costs
In May of 2017, World First launched the World Account, one of the best corporate FX features we have seen. It enables small businesses to open bank accounts across the globe, where they can make and receive domestic payments and also keep the money as a balance and use it for future payments. This service is currently available in the UK and Canada.
In March of 2019, after being sold to AliPAy, the company announced the buying of CurrencyVue, an Integrated FX Exposure Platform. With an increasing number of SMEs looking to quickbooks or xero for its accounting software the move will allow WorldFirst to better integrate with these and other Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Ensuring WorldFirst continues to lead the way in the online experience it offers its client base.
WorldFirst money transfer is one of the few FX companies that help merchants receive payments by setting up local bank accounts for them in a number of major ecommerce destinations (since May 2017 it is available to all corporate clients). This is an area that is highly complex and one that most companies would rather avoid, but WorldFirst makes it happen and reduces costs and overheads in the process.
E-Commerce is a growing segment for World First, and we have covered the ins and outs of it on our Online Seller Account page. As the longest running money transfer firm in the ecommerce space it is also compatible with the greatest number of marketplaces. You will often find marketplaces offering introductory terms to attract WorldFirst ecommerce clients onto their platform too.
WorldFirst has one of the top ranked money transfer apps. Unlike most companies, which either don’t have an app at all or have apps that can only watch rates, with World First mobile app, you can actually make transactions on your mobile phone. This is extremely important for expats who want to exchange on the go and constantly need to move money back and forth between different currencies.
The app can be found on iTunes, and Google Play and can even be used on Smart Watches (perhaps the only app in the industry that is suitable for these devices).
This is yet another area in which WorldFirst really excels. It is one of fewer than 10 international currency transfer companies in the world with a live, functional app. It is one of around 5 companies that can help you open offshore accounts to accept payments. Its hedging options are more sophisticated than usual – products such as flexible forwards are hard to find.Even large financial service providers, such as Virgin Money (a licensed UK bank established by the Virgin Group’s founder, Richard Branson, who is a multi-billionaire and one of the investors in rival company Transferwise), use World First to transfer money for their clients.