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Screenshot of World First's homepage.

Key facts about World First

  • Customers benefit from great exchange rates
  • Money transfers take only minutes
  • Client funds are protected from creditors – World First was awarded the “Authorised Payment Institution” status in 2009
  • More than £60 billion was transferred since 2004
World First's benefits. © World First
World First's benefits. © World First

World First LogoWorld First is a popular foreign exchange company founded in 2004 and based in the UK. Both its international payment and currency exchange services are open to private clients and businesses alike. In fact, World First works with e-commerce and corporate clients on a regular basis, covering their currency transfer needs. With offices in the US, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia, World First has since become a global company, specialised in the following services:

  • Currency transfers
  • Fast payments
  • Foreign exchange services
  • Currency hedging
  • International payments

Although World First has not gone public yet, it has managed to establish itself as one of the leading foreign exchange and international wire transfer providers in the UK. With an annual growth rate of 40 percent, World First is one of the fastest growing UK companies in this sector.

Who is World First?

World First is a private financial services company that is headquartered in London with local UK offices at Millbank Tower. This company caters to private, e-Commerce and corporate clients across the globe, although a majority of its business is done in the UK. Many clients rely on this provider to transfer money abroad for the following reasons:

  • International school or university fees
  • Mortgage payments
  • Import
  • Export
  • Repatriation of salary

Since 2004, this institution has been able to cater to more than 70,000 customers and that number keeps on growing. Right from the beginning, its mission has been to help people easily transfer money across borders without charging ridiculous fees for doing so. In fact, Nick Robinson and Jonathan Quin, who set up this company in their London basement back in 2004, combined their 10 years of experience in the corporate banking world to provide higher levels of security and transparency to individuals and businesses looking to transfer money abroad.

How does World First work?

World First works with several well-respected banks all over the world in order to transfer your money abroad. As such, this company acts as a middleman. While World First relies on several international banks to process your transfers, the company is able to offer you better exchange rates, since World First takes much smaller margins.

My experience with World First

It took me a while to send money using World First, because of the relatively high minimum transfer amount. However, when I wanted to send my sister money for a wedding, I was happy to use this service, since there were no fees associated with sending money.

I had actually created an account with this company months back, since registering is free and I was under no obligation to use my account. The company website was incredibly easy to navigate and I found it easy to make a transfer.

Since I was in a bit of hurry to send the money to my sister, I was happy when she received the funds within 24 hours. Now, I am planning on purchasing some property in Germany. When I had questions about sending monthly mortgage payments to Germany, the customer service staff was incredibly helpful. The nice lady on the phone even called me back when she couldn't come up with and answer right away to a very specific question of mine. I would definitely rate World First 9/10!

How do you register at World First?

When getting started, you will first need to select the type of account that you wish to open. Select one of the options below:

  • Personal account
  • Business account
  • Online seller account
Screenshot of World First's Sign Up page.
Screenshot of World First's Sign Up page.

Press the respective “Sign up” button to get started. Singing up only takes a few minutes. In order to create an account, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Country of residence
  • First and last name
  • Username
  • E-mail address
  • Password
  • Your country code and telephone number
Screenshot of World First's Registration Form.
Screenshot of World First's Registration Form.

Hit the “Sign up” button again and provide your date of birth and your occupation before you press “Next.” Don’t forget to accept the terms and conditions and provide your address. You will then be asked about where you are planning on transferring money to and where you heard about World First. Submitting this information is the final step. Once this is done, you can access your free account and make your first transfer free of charge.

How do you transfer money abroad with World First?

Using World First to transfer money abroad is incredibly easy. Once you have signed up for this service, only 3 more steps are required. If you are wondering how to wire money, you should know that you will first need to book a rate. Simply provide the following information on the company website:

  1. How much money you are going to send
  2. Who the recipient is going to be
  3. Which currency you want to send

You will then be quoted the current exchange rate that World First is able to offer you. Once you have accepted that rate, you will need to send your money. You can either make a bank transfer to them or use your debit card to immediately pay for your transaction.

Of course, the money you send online is automatically converted to the desired currency by World First. Moreover, there won’t be any guessing involved, since the applicable rates will be displayed to you before you even make your transfer. Once your money is received, your funds are immediately sent as requested and will be received within just a few short days or even just a mere 24 hours.

One of the other benefits of using this service is that you can transfer money online, via the Android and iOS apps or over the phone. Therefore, transferring money from one bank to another just got a whole lot easier.

How much does it cost to use World First?

This is where World First stands out when you compare the company to the competition, such as TransferWise, HiFX or Global Reach Partners. If you are a private person who wants to send money abroad, you are not going to pay a single penny for the services that World First offers. While the £0 fees are great, the downside is that the minimum transfer amount must be at least £1000 or equivalent. In turn, this company is not your best contact for small money transfers. However, big money transfers are usually very expensive with other providers, which is why World First has been able to outperform its competition in this area. While there might be some receiving charges along the way, World First is able to cover these charges for you in a lot of cases.

VCCP's World First Campaign. © World First
VCCP's World First Campaign. © World First

How long does it take to transfer money with World First?

How long your bank transfer will take depends on both the size of the transaction and the currency you are sending. It doesn't take long when you are sending money online as a UK customer. In fact, my sister, who lives in Germany, was able to access the funds that I sent her the very next day. In addition to UK transfers, New Zealand and Australia transfers also tend to clear the same day. The same goes for all Euro transfers and even Swedish krona transfers as well.

However, if you are sending money to the US or most non-EU countries, it can take up to 4 days for your transfer to clear, which is still reasonable. I found that it is best to call the company’s customer service team if you are about to transfer money and need those funds to arrive on a particular date.

Is World First safe and reliable?

If safety is one of your main concerns when sending money online, you will find that you are in good hands at World Transfer. As an “Authorized Payment Institution,” this company makes sure that your funds are protected from creditors. Moreover, this company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, which means that World First must adhere to rigorous safety standards when executing your money transfer. Also note that the following, trustworthy banks are the main transaction banks that this company works with, which should make you feel better about sending money with World First:

  • Barclays
  • Citibank
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Commerzbank (Germany)

Unlike some of its less reliable competitors, this company is very transparent about its financial situation. On the company website, you will find detailed information about the company’s financial position, which illustrates that World First keeps sufficient funds on hand to execute all of your wire transfer transactions.

Personally, I also found this company to be reliable as it provided client references when I asked for them. This made me feel like this institution really has nothing to hide and is in fact reliable.

World First awards. © World First
World First awards. © World First

World First customer support

I found the customer support  to be very helpful. There is a Freephone UK number that you can call as well as an international number if you are making a call from abroad. I very much appreciate the fact that there is a different hotline for new and existing customers. The private customer service team is available from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

While I wish that the hotline was open on weekends, they offer a call-back service in case the lines are busy and you do not want to wait. I also found the FAQ section on the company website to be very useful. I highly recommend that you refer to this section to get some of your questions answered without having to call.

Which currencies does World First support?

>ore than 100 different currencies are supported. You will most likely be able to transfer money to the designated country of choice. Here is a list of some of the most popular places that World First customers like to transfer money to:

  • Australia
  • USA
  • New Zealand
  • Europe
  • Canada
  • Spain
  • France

Of course, money transfers within the UK are supported as well.

What are others saying about World First?

World First is unique in that it allows its customers to rate the company and the reviews are then published on the company website. Not only was this institution recognized for its international money transfer services by the Sunday Times, but this company also received the UK Customer Experience Award 2013. The same year, this provider won at the European Business Awards as well.

Apart from being spotlighted in the London Evening Standard, Homes & Property and The Times, clients have had great things to say about World First. In fact, you can watch their testimonials on the company website to learn more about their experiences. As a feefo Gold Trusted Merchant, World First has been able to achieve a 98% customer service rating. More than 1,770 reviews certainly speak for the high level of customer satisfaction that this company is able to provide.

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