World First Review
World First is a major provider of international money transfer services for personal and business customers. Financial technology (“fintech”) insiders widely consider it one of the most reputable and credible operators in the industry. Let’s assess the company’s personal money transfer services and take a look at how they work, plus check out their pros and cons.
Pros and Cons of World First
Here’s what customers and professional reviewers like about World First:
- The company maintains a transparent pricing structure
- World First offers very fair rates with low markups
- Signing up is quick and easy
- Users give the World First mobile app very high scores
- Courteous, helpful customer service and telephone assistance
- A market-leading lineup of supported currencies
On the downside, there are a couple of drawbacks to the service:
- It isn’t available to senders in the United States as of January 2021
- The £1,000 transfer minimum (or equivalent) is high
World First was established in 2004 by two London-based fintech innovators. The company’s popularity and customer base have soared in recent years, thanks in large part to the launch of its highly regarded mobile app, which has very strong user reviews on Google Play and the App Store.
According to the company’s website, World First is the preferred choice of 250,000 personal customers and 150,000 international businesses. The company handles an average annual volume of about one million transactions and has completed a combined £70 billion (about US$90 billion) in transfers over the course of its history.
World First maintains a permanent workforce of about 600 team members and associates. The company is headquartered in London’s financial district and maintains a global network of regional offices with physical locations in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore, and Tokyo. It is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and complies with all applicable laws and statutes in every jurisdiction where it operates.
How It Works
Personal customers can have a new account fully operational within the same day. New customers can get started by visiting World First online or downloading its mobile app.
Registration takes about five minutes to complete. The company will need to verify your identity and certain personal details you provide, so you won’t be able to make your first transaction until those administrative steps are complete.
Once you’re ready to go, you can add recipients to your account. Customers are eligible to set themselves up as recipients, making it fast and easy to transfer funds to yourself across currencies and international borders. One thing to note: World First does not support cash pickup options as of January 2021, so you will need your recipient’s banking details. Depending on the country your recipient is located in, these may include:
- The full name and address of their financial institution
- IBAN and/or SWIFT code
- Bank account number
- Sort code (for UK-bound payments), ABA/routing code (for U.S. and Canada-bound payments), BSB code (for Australia-bound payments)
Once you’ve set up all those details, World First will review them and send you a confirmation code. You’ll be ready to go once you enter that confirmation code, which functions as an additional security and verification step.
Then, you’re ready to book your first transfer. Choose your currency pair, set the amount of the payment, and choose your payment method. As of January 2021, World First supports the following payment options for personal transfers:
- Bank transfers (online and telephone-based)
- Debit card
Additional options may be available, depending on your location. In general, debit card payments are the fastest option.
Features and Performance
World First has a strong track record of providing speedy, efficient service on its transfers. Some transfers can be completed on the same day, but others can take up to four business days to complete. It depends where you are located, and where your money is headed.
The company has grown at a rapid pace in recent years, and it’s now compatible with 180 currencies. In February 2019, multiple sources reported that World First had ceased operating in the United States due to a change in ownership.
The company still supports transactions denominated in U.S. dollars, but as of January 2021, its U.S. operations have not resumed pending the launch of a rebranded, United States-focused affiliate. Insiders expect the new entity to be fully operational in the near future. In the meantime, customers appear to be able to transfer money to recipients in the United States, but U.S. residents cannot initiate a transfer.
World First applies minimum requirements to its transaction amounts. The default minimum is £1,000 or the converted equivalent, as of January 2021. No maximum limits apply, and the service is highly reliable and provides very strong rates to customers seeking to transfer large sums of money.
If you need assistance, you can access World First representatives by telephone, email, or live chat. Those who choose live chat options are always connected to a real person, as the company does not use AI-powered chatbots. Assistance is available 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday. If you need help on the weekend, email is your best bet.
Costs and Pricing
Most personal transactions are eligible for the company’s policy of applying no additional transfer or transaction fees. World First earns its revenues by applying a markup to the exchange rates it pays when purchasing currency on the wholesale market. The company does not engage in currency speculation, so its solvency and financial stability are never at risk.
World First maintains some of the most transparent and straightforward pricing terms in the industry. It applies low, fixed rates to transfers, which depend on the total annual value of the transactions that have moved through your account. As of January 2021, the company’s fee structure breaks down as follows:
- Customers who transfer the equivalent of £1,000-£500,000 per year pay a 0.5% markup on World First’s conversion rate
- Customers transferring £500,000-£5 million per year pay 0.25%
- Customers transferring £5 million or more pay 0.15%
It’s that clear and simple, and customers never need to negotiate rates or prices.
What Others Are Saying About World First
As of January 2021, the company has nearly 1,700 user reviews on Trustpilot, which awards the service an impressive average score of 4.8 out of 5.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown:
- 84% of users give World First a perfect 5 out of 5
- 89% give World First 4 out of 5 or better
- 90% give World First a positive rating
Trustpilot users rave in particular about the company’s excellent customer service and the ease of its account opening process.
The Bottom Line
As of January 2021, World First is still not available to senders in the United States, though customers can transfer money to recipients in the United State. If you live in a country where you can initiate money transfers through World First, it comes highly recommended as a secure, trustworthy provider. As you compare top money transfer services, World First is a worthy option known for affordability and reliability.