WorldFirst, established in London in 2004 by Jonathan Quin and Nick Robinson, is considered to be an exponent of the ‘new wave of online currency brokers’. The company secured an FCA license in 2008, becoming the first foreign exchange broker in the UK allowed to sell currency options. 2008 was also the year they opened their first offshore office, in Sydney, Australia. Since then, the company has been steadily expanding, logging its millionth trade in 2014. That same year, WorldFirst won the Customer Focus category at the European Business Awards. WorldFirst won the Most Convenient Award in the 2017 edition of the Finder Money Transfer Awards.
The WorldFirst brand consists of several global operations and subbrands, covering Canada, the US, most of Asia, and Australia. Each of these operations is licensed by the financial authorities of its respective jurisdiction.
Though not among the first to offer currency exchange focused services in the UK, WorldFirst is without a doubt one of the most experienced online currency brokers. In 2015, they made the top 30 of Sunday Times’ International Track 200 and were listed in the Real Business Hot 100.
WorldFirst understands the importance of high-quality customer service and takes pride in the fact that none of its customers ever had to talk to an automated machine. The level of customer satisfaction is also expressed through the five-star rating (‘Gold Trusted Service’) WorldFirst received in 2018 on Feefo, a leading online reviews platform.
While only listing eight ‘popular countries’ they transfer money to, they do mention that the list of countries is endless. The only way to find out whether they do indeed transfer money to a specific unlisted location is by contacting them directly and asking them.
WorldFirst runs a corporate social responsibility program labeled ‘Together’, through which it supports local and global charitable causes. WorldFirst teamed up with The Prince’s Trust foundation ‘to support them in their mission to create brighter futures for young people aged 11 to 30’.
How does WorldFirst work?
1. Set up your transfer
To transfer money with WorldFirst, you need an account. Once your account is set up, you define the exact amount you want to send (with a minimum of £1,000 ), who to send it to, and in which currency. Based on your details, you will be quoted a rate in order for you to book your transfer.
WorldFirst offers you the opportunity to fulfill your KYC procedure, necessary for the initial registration, ‘live’ & remotely, making the process eKYC — the most up-to-date standard that dismisses the need for the actual paperwork turnover.
2. Send the funds to WorldFirst
After you book your rate, you’ll receive your transfer confirmation containing all the information you need to send the funds to WorldFirst by debit card or bank transfer.
3. Instruct the recipient to collect the money
WorldFirst will convert your funds to the desired currency and transfer the amount to the designated account.
Who should use WorldFirst?
Whether you’re an online seller, a business, or a private individual sending funds abroad, WorldFirst is a good solution for all purposes. WorldFirst makes transferring money online easy in any scenario.
WorldFirst is a trusted partner for many different purposes: if you’re buying property abroad, transferring overseas earnings home, making private investments, paying bills, booking travel services, or remitting a recurring payment, WorldFirst will make sure your money reaches the designated recipient safely and without problems, anywhere in the world.
- Fast, secure transfers
- Bank-beating exchange rates
- Solid client service and 24/7 customer support.
- Anytime, anywhere: open your account and start making your international payments — online, by email or over the phone.
The main focus of WorldFirst’s operations has historically been on business related money transfers.
If you need to pay foreign suppliers, employees, or partners, if you want to invest in a business project abroad, or quickly want to buy a foreign asset, WorldFirst is a reliable partner. They promise to execute payments quickly and securely. That’s not all: they also do it up to 48% cheaper than most banks.
First of all, you will need to open an account. WorldFirst then assigns you a dedicated Account Manager, company policy for business users, who guides you through the log in procedure and helps you choose the right account type.
- Spot contracts
Get an exchange rate quote to make an immediate payment. Ideal for when you need to move your money as soon as possible.
- Forward contracts
Secure a current exchange rate for a fixed amount of currency, for a set period of time. Great for planning ahead.
- Firm orders
If the timing of a transfer is of less importance than the rate at which you make the transfer, WorldFirst offers you the option to place a so-called firm order With which you instruct WorldFirst to execute a transaction on your behalf at a specific rate of your choice. Basically, you’re giving WorldFirst the responsibility to act at the right time – when the rate is optimal.
- Market updates
Currency markets can move quickly and unpredictably. To be on top of everything, make sure you sign up for WorldFirst market updates. WorldFirst will watch the market for you and send you insights and analyses directly to your inbox.
- Anytime, anywhere
Make your international payments online, by email, or over the phone.
- Easy bulk payments
When you need to make many payments, upload the details for all payments to the online platform, and execute all payments in a single one-click operation. If desired, WorldFirst can create a tailor-made, fully automated system for your specific needs.
Online seller Transfers
WorldFirst also aims to service “online sellers”. Are you selling goods or services online internationally? If so, then it’s worth considering WorldFirst as your partner in charge of handling payments. If you have an online shop, or if you’re providing freelance services, you can benefit from WorldFirst’s package of international payment solutions that online sellers need to grow their business. You can access receiving bank accounts abroad, pay invoices and suppliers, and plan transfers ahead for occasions that offer the most advantageous exchange rates.
- Local receiving accounts
WorldFirst offers receiving accounts in different currencies (GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, NZD, JPY, CNY, and USD). Such accounts can be opened for you in Europe, the US, Canada, Japan, China, and the UK in a process that is both quick and effortless. Once everything is set up, you can start selling to buyers around the world.
Important note: WorldFirst UK Ltd provides clients with access to a receiving bank account in the name of WorldFirst UK Ltd, for the sole purpose of receiving marketplace revenues. Funds held in these accounts are safeguarded and segregated in line with the requirements set by the Payment Services Regulation, 2009. These bank accounts aren’t covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
- Manage funds across marketplaces
If you are selling online, you can use your WorldFirst receiving account to collect the money you made from sales on international marketplaces, such as Amazon, Rakuten, eBay, Newegg, eBay, PriceMinister, and Cdiscount, a.o.
- Supplier payments
WorldFirst offers good rates for executing payments to international suppliers. You need to define the exact transfer amount, the recipient, and the desired currency of the transfer. Subsequently, you will be offered the best possible rate based on the live exchange rate of the day.
- Forward contracts
If you want to benefit from a favorable current rate, but you aren’t quite ready to make a transfer yet — you have the option to freeze the rate up to 3 years ahead.
WorldFirst does not charge additional fees. Regardless of where you are selling, opening an account is completely free of charge, and no hidden fees (monthly fees, transfer fees, etc.) apply.
Why should you consider using WorldFirst?
WorldFirst offers a fully regulated service. Not only do they have to adhere to all the directives of the FCA in the UK, its activities are also regulated in each of the jurisdictions in which it operates: Canada, Australia, Europe, Asia, and the US. Moreover, WorldFirst is registered with the relevant financial authorities in all those locations.
Transfers executed by WorldFirst are safe and secure. In line with the FCA’s requirements, WorldFirst segregates client funds from business capital. They also hold a 3A2 credit rating from Dun and Bradstreet.
While banks continue to cut deeper into funds transferred through them, WorldFirst offers clients to save on transfer fees and exchange rates.
How much does it cost to use WorldFirst?
WorldFirst’s money transfer services involve no transfer fees or currency exchange rates; conditions that are a lot better than what regular high-street banks offer clients. By using WorldFirst’s service, anyone transferring money across borders gets to save a considerable amount on money transfers compared to the situation in which they use ‘regular transfer methods’ they may have used in the past (i.e. banks).
How can an online currency broker offer better exchange rates than banks? Being a specialized currency exchange service transacting more than $7 billion per year, WorldFirst has access to the interbank exchange rate, which is the rate at which banks buy and sell currency to other banks. Banks add a margin on the interbank rate to set the exchange rates for clients. WorldFirst charges its clients a considerably smaller margin, which is how you save money on transfers. The amounts WorldFirst clients save may not look impressive on a single small transfer, but they add up quickly on larger transfers. In general, savings range from 0.25% up to 4% of the transfer amount.
Opening a WorldFirst account is free of charge, both for individuals and businesses. Fees and exchange rates depend on the amount of money you transfer abroad, the currencies you’re exchanging to and the contemporary exchange rate at the time of the transfer. WorldFirst makes its money from the difference between the buying and selling prices of the currencies you’re transferring, which is known as the spread. WorldFirst charges no additional fee for receiving money or to foreign exchange transactions, and also doesn’t charge account holders a monthly user fee. Occasionally, charges may be applied by a third party bank as part of the transfer process, but these fees are not part of the services offered by WorldFirst.
Online sellers are not required to pay a fee for transferring funds back to domestic accounts.
For business clients, the fee structure is based on the amount of business done together. Fees range from £0 to £15 per transaction.
How long does it take?
The duration of the transfer process depends on several factors, the transaction currency, the bank used and the size of the transaction being the main ones. If you’re sending pounds, US dollars, or euros, WorldFirst usually makes a same-day payment after your funds have cleared, meaning the funds will arrive the same day though your bank may hold off on crediting your account until the next business day. For other currencies, it takes 1-4 days before your funds reach the recipient, depending on the currency.
In rare circumstances delays may occur. WorldFirst will do everything reasonably possible to ensure that funds arrive on time but is not liable for delays caused by intermediary or receiving banks.
WorldFirst Customer Support
The WorldFirst support staff is available 24/7 and can be reached via email and by phone, for which they offer a variety of toll-free local and international phone numbers and an additional, very convenient call-back service.
Customer reviews and user feedback show a very positive image of WorldFirst’s Customer Support team, which is further confirmed by the 4.7/5 Feefo and the 4/5 TrustPilot ratings the platform receives from users.
WorldFirst offers all types of clients (business, personal, online seller) a solid money transfer service. This includes competitive, bank-beating rates, a reasonable fee structure based on usage (for business clients only – personal & online seller account holder don’t pay fees), a market-conform security level, and several ‘nice-to-have’ special features for all account types. The company is licensed in several territories around the world and strictly regulated by multiple international financial authorities, which definitely adds to its reliability and trustworthiness. WorldFirst receives a high user-rating for its service and customer support, and has won several awards over the years.
All in all a highly recommended money transfer service.