IMPORTANT NOTICE: WorldFirst has recently announced that they are discontinuing operations in the United States, effective immediately. Account holders are being notified, and their accounts are being closed. Any remaining funds in those accounts will be refunded shortly. However, the company intends to re-launch US operations under the brand name Omega in the coming months. If you are a US customer of WorldFirst, you will need to sign up for a new account with Omega once their service becomes available. International customers are not affected by this change. We will be updating this review once these changes have been completed.
- Easy online account signup
- Flat $10.00 fee for transfers of less than $10,000
- No transaction fee for transfers over $10,000
- Dedicated account manager for transactions over $5,000
- Expedited transfers can process within 24 hours
- Low exchange markup fees for currency conversion
- $1,000 minimum transfer amount
- Some transfers may take longer than 2-3 days
- Not available in Alabama, Nevada, or Quebec
WorldFirst is an international money transfer company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. They also have a US office in Austin, Texas, and international offices in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo. Established in 2004, the company currently serves over 75,000 active users around the world. Except where otherwise noted, all information presented in this review pertains to transfers originating in the United States. Transfer rules and processing fees may vary in all other countries.
The company has a robust network of transfer services, allowing you to send and receive money between the United States and over 120 countries around the world. Currency conversion is supported in every country where WorldFirst does business, although you will have to pay a small conversion fee for this service. The company’s low fees are one of its most attractive features, with a flat $10.00 fee for transfers up to $10,000 and no fee at all for transfers of over $10,000. Currency conversion fees generally range between 0.3% and 1.1%, making them very competitive when compared to other money transfer service providers.
Although WorldFirst provides top-notch service and stacks up well against its competitors, they’re not perfect. Their $1,000 minimum transfer requirement makes them unsuitable for customers who only occasionally need to transfer smaller amounts of money overseas. For US customers, WorldFirst is not available in either Alabama or Nevada. In Canada, they’re available in every province except Quebec. Unfortunately, since approximately one out of four Canadians live in Quebec, this is a significant limitation.
Overall, WorldFirst rates an excellent 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you need to transfer large amounts of money to other countries routinely, they’re a high-quality, reliable provider. Their minimum transfer requirement makes them better suited to online sellers and other businesses. Individuals looking to transfer smaller amounts should check out similar providers such as Payoneer (see our review).
Table of Contents
Products & Services
You won’t find a lot of bells and whistles with WorldFirst. They do one thing – international money transfers – and do it well. As such, their offerings are limited to accounts and mobile apps that allow you to access them. Here’s an overview of what they provide:
- WorldFirst accounts: Before you can initiate a transfer, you’ll need to sign up for a WorldFirst account. This step can be accomplished easily and quickly on their website. Once you’re approved, you’ll be able to access live exchange rate data beyond what’s available on their site. WorldFirst offers three types of accounts for individuals, online sellers, and businesses. There are no fees to set up or maintain a WorldFirst account. You’ll only pay fees when you make a transfer.
- World Account: First introduced in 2017, WorldFirst’s World Accounts are a separate feature from their standard money transfer accounts. Designed for marketplace sellers, they feature multi-currency support and can hold balances in pounds, Euros, and US dollars. A World Account allows you to do business overseas in the local currency, avoiding foreign exchange fees altogether. These accounts are a good choice for both businesses and online sellers.
- Mobile apps: The WorldFirst Money Transfer app is available for both iOS and Android. The app includes a payment tracker, currency converter, and live exchange rate data. App tools work without registering for a WorldFirst account, but you will need an account to actually send or receive money. User reviews of the app are generally positive. The WorldFirst Money Transfer app is best suited for individuals and simple money transfers. There is also a newer World Account app (currently available for iOS only) that supports the company’s new World Accounts.
- Security features: WorldFirst offers two-factor authentication (2FA) for its online accounts. This feature currently only works on the WorldFirst website, but will soon be coming to the company’s mobile apps as well.
- Telephone transfers: While most customers will initiate transfers via the WorldFirst website or one of its mobile apps, telephone transfers are also supported. This feature can come in handy if you suddenly find yourself without internet access or while traveling.
Fees & Rates
WorldFirst’s fees are about as simple as it gets. As we’ve noted, the minimum amount for a transfer is $1,000 for US customers. Both the sender and receiver must have bank accounts to transfer the money into and out of. For individuals, there is a flat fee of $10.00 for any transfer between $1,000 and $10,000. This works out to a maximum of 1.0% if you only transfer the minimum amount allowed, or 0.1% for a transfer of $10,000. Transfers exceeding $10,000 are not charged a fee at all, although you will still have to pay the exchange markup fee if you need to exchange currencies.
Online sellers pay the same fees as individuals for sending money overseas. There is no fee to receive payments from customers in other countries. Sellers also pay no monthly fees and there is no setup fee for opening an account.
Business accounts are treated slightly differently, with fees ranging from $0.00 to $30.00 per transfer. This fee will be determined based on the transfer type and how frequently your business uses WorldFirst’s services. As such, fees are set for each individual business customer and are subject to some negotiation on your part.
Most overseas transfers will require a currency conversion, and you will pay a fee for this service. WorldFirst’s exchange markup fees generally range between 0.3% and 1.1%. These fees can vary significantly due to fluctuations in the currency exchange markets, so you’ll want to pin down the rate you’ll be paying for a given transfer before you initiate it. While all money transfer services will charge you a markup fee for converting currency, WorldFirst’s rates are very competitive in comparison to those charged by other providers.
Most transfers will be delivered within 2-3 business days. However, expedited delivery with a one-day delivery timeframe is also available. While the company doesn’t charge extra for this service, it will require you to wire transfer your funds to WorldFirst, and your bank will usually charge you around $25.00 for this service.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
WorldFirst doesn’t require you to commit to a long-term contract, and there’s no early termination fee for closing your account. You’re free to use your account for money transfers as often as you like. Note that WorldFirst may elect to close your account if it’s been inactive for more than three months. The only contract governing the use of your account will be the Terms and Conditions presented when you sign up on the company’s website. Yes, we’re all guilty of scrolling through these things without ever reading them, but in this case, you really should read them very carefully so you won’t encounter any unpleasant surprises later on. We’d also recommend downloading a copy of the Terms and Conditions for future reference.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
WorldFirst primarily markets its services through its website. The site is clean, easy to navigate, and very informative. The website is also very transparent, with WorldFirst’s basic transaction fees being fully disclosed. Note that currency exchange markup fees are not disclosed, but this is more due to their high variability than the company trying to hide this information from you. The site also includes several informative FAQs that should answer most of your basic questions. While the site now provides some basic dynamic currency exchange rate data, you’ll have to register for an account to access information such as a complete list of available countries and currencies. Account holders can also obtain more detailed dynamic exchange rate information for every currency that WorldFirst supports.
The company doesn’t appear to use sales agents to market accounts. However, businesses and online sellers will be assigned a “relationship manager” to help you in using your account and setting up transactions. Relationship managers are also available to individual account holders when transferring more than $5,000 in a single transaction. This level of personalized service is a great feature, and should come in handy if you’ll be using your account frequently.
WorldFirst has an active social media presence, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. They also have a very informative YouTube channel. Content is frequently updated and includes posts from the company’s blog as well as articles from other sites. The YouTube channel provides market news, tutorials, educational videos, and several customer testimonials.
Customer Service & Technical Support
The US office of WorldFirst offers telephone support from 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM Eastern time from Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM Eastern time on Friday. You can also contact the company via email, and they’ll call you back on the phone.
As we’ve noted above, most account holders will be assigned a dedicated relationship manager who will be their first point of contact for customer service issues. This feature seems to work very well, and we’ve found plenty of positive feedback from customers indicating that they really appreciated this level of personalized service.
Overall, feedback from customers generally gives WorldFirst high praise for its customer support. With dedicated account representatives and an extensive FAQ on their website, the company provides a level of support that’s well above what we typically see in the merchant services industry. The only improvement we’d like to see is an option that’s available after hours and on weekends. Business customers in particular often need true 24/7 support, especially considering the length of time it can take for a transfer to be delivered to the intended recipient.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
WorldFirst does not have a BBB profile for its US office. We also couldn’t find any relevant reports from customers on Ripoff Report, although there appear to be a few complaints that mention the company while criticizing a business or online seller that used their services.
We did, however, find a number of customer reviews on TrustPilot and several other review sites. While most of the feedback was positive, there were a few scattered complaints. Issues raised in those complaints include the following:
- Failure to provide original documentation for transactions: Some customers took WorldFirst to task for not providing them with the original documents related to their transactions. While this might seem important for really large transactions, the complaint isn’t valid. WorldFirst and other money transfer services are required to retain all original documents related to international transactions to comply with anti-money laundering laws.
- Slow delivery to some locations: Customers were also unhappy when transfers failed to go through within the advertised 2-3 business day period. Unfortunately, byzantine banking laws in certain countries (Brazil is frequently mentioned in these complaints) all but guarantee that a transfer will take much longer than usual to be delivered. This will be true regardless of whether you use WorldFirst or one of their competitors. You can avoid this kind of unpleasant surprise by working closely with your relationship manager to ensure that you have an accurate estimate of how long a transfer will actually
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
WorldFirst only includes some brief, anonymous feedback from customers on its website. However, their YouTube channel has several much more impressive video testimonials. Most of them are short and to the point, and don’t appear overly scripted. We also found a lot of positive comments from reviewers on TrustPilot. The company also touts several awards it’s received from online publications on the WorldFirst website.
Have you had a positive experience using World First? If so, please be sure to tell us about it in the Comments section below. Thanks!
If you need to transfer money overseas on a regular basis – or even just occasionally – you’d be hard-pressed to find a better service to help you do so than WorldFirst. They make it very easy to sign up for an account, although it will most likely take a little longer than just a few minutes due to the volume of information you’ll have to provide before they can approve your account. Their complete lack of monthly or annual fees also makes them a great choice for individuals who won’t be using their accounts all the time. Be aware, however, that the company does have a policy of shutting down accounts after a prolonged period of inactivity. If this might become an issue for you, be sure to bring it up with your relationship manager when you set up your account.
WorldFirst’s fee schedule for transactions is about as simple and affordable as it gets. With only a flat $10.00 fee for transactions under $10,000 and currency exchange markup fees that are disclosed before your transaction goes through, you’ll always know in advance exactly how much you’ll pay for a transfer. Note that the banks involved in your transaction might tack on fees of their own, such as wire transfer fees. WorldFirst has a policy of absorbing these fees “when they can,” although they’re not going to take a loss on a transaction by doing so. While it’s nice to see a company trying to keep your costs low, you shouldn’t count too much on benefiting from such a vague and poorly-defined policy.
Our only major concern with WorldFirst is their minimum transfer requirement of $1,000. While we understand that they probably have to do this because they’re operating on such thin margins, it makes their service completely unusable for individuals who need to transfer smaller amounts. We’d also like to see true 24/7 customer service, but we realize that after-hours support is often outsourced and of a lesser quality than what you’ll receive from company employees.
WorldFirst doesn’t mention FOREX trading at all on their website, but it’s apparent that some people are using it for that purpose. We’re not going to make a recommendation one way or the other on that issue. On the one hand, the company’s low fees may make it a good choice for an active trader. At the same time, however, the length of time it takes for a transaction to go through makes it less responsive to currency market fluctuations than other services. If you want to dabble in FOREX trading, we highly recommend that you do your homework first. While some people have made money this way, it’s also a very easy way to lose a lot of money if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Overall, WorldFirst rates a very impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars. They’re affordable, have great customer service, and support more countries and currencies than many of their competitors. As long as you can meet their $1,000 minimum transfer requirement, they’re a great choice for sending your money overseas.
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