World First Review – Safety, Speed and How it Works

What’s to like and what’s not to like? – including negative reviews from others

Hi, I’m Bre – an expat who moved to Australia from the US six months ago after traveling through Asia for a few months.

  • World First has physical operations in the USA, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore – but transacts worldwide (some countries excepted) – click here to get free transfers for life (opens new tab).

Bre FowlerLike most people moving to a new country, living on a budget and not wasting money was crucial. The problem I quickly realized is I was losing a ton of money to bank fees and poor exchange rates whenever I used my  overseas bank card or withdrew cash.

To remedy this the first thing to do is open a bank account so I could get paid and pay for things in the local currency.

Most importantly I needed to transfer the money from my bank account at home to my new account.

The first time I transferred my money directly through my bank, (and unbeknownst to me) losing a good chunk in the process. Fortunately I didn’t transfer a huge amount to begin with.

Then I learned about international money transfer services, which have NO hidden fees and offer much better exchange rates.

I had done a lot of comparisons of the different services available, and found that World First was one of the top contenders and best fit my needs. They also have no fees – whatsoever – all their costs/profits are covered in the exchange rate.

Logo - World FirstAlso since, I prefer to transfer only the amount that I need rather than ALL of my money, and one of the reasons I like World First so much is because they have a low minimum transfer amount ($250). The also have great exchange rates and a lifetime of no fees with any of my transfers.

If you want to transfer larger sums of money, say for a car or a house, then you’ll get an even more competitive rate, but small amounts easily beat banks by 2 – 4%.

I also find it comforting to know that WorldFirst is a BIG business with David Clementi as their Chairman (who was the former Deputy Govenor of the Bank of England)

How it works:

When you’re ready to book a rate and make a transaction, you can either do it through your online account or contact your dedicated dealer over the phone.

1. Book a rate


There are three options offered, “Spot Rates”, “Forward Contracts” and “Currency Options”.  Although a little technical at first, I am told almost everyone simply uses “Spot Rates” – the others suit business customers or more advanced currency trades.

Basically they quote you an exchange rate for the amount you need to move. If you agree to the rate, they will book the trade on your behalf and the rate will be fixed, regardless of any changes in the market during the process.

Interestingly, the rate shown on their home page is the “Interbank Rate” so you need to login or call to get the actual rate they will offer.

2. Provide account details

Add the bank account details of where you would like your money to be sent via their online platform. This is called the “beneficiary”

3. Send your money to World First

When they receive your funds they’ll convert them and confirm the amount of buy currency they’ll send to your requested bank account, and then make the payment by the agreed date. On the day of the settlement date they will send you a Payment Confirmation to confirm that the payment has been made.

What I like

After a bit of comparison shopping I found that their rate were very competitive.

Many money transfer services will often contact you via telephone to confirm a deal. World First is different – they ask you to call a broker to lock in the deal. I like this because it meant I could just get it all done immediately, no waiting around for a call to come through.

Not only that, but if you do decide to sign up for their service, you will get your own personal currency specialist to guide you through the process, ensure you are getting the best rate possible, and that your money arrives safely and securely.

World First gets five stars for their customer service and answering any questions along the way so I know my money is in good hands.

The transfers can all be done online safely and securely; you can also transfer money over the phone or through their app, but I always prefer to do mine online.

What I don’t like

world-first-review-signup-2To get set up, they request a lot of info before you can activate your account and begin transferring money. You also have to speak to your currency dealer on the phone. (However this is the case with almost all of them – except one)

This apparently is an added security measure, along with submitting a photocopies of your passport and a recent bank statement or utility bill with your current address on it.

While I appreciate the extensive security measures, it was a bit of a hassle, especially for someone who just arrived in the country and doesn’t receive bills or statements.

That said, not sure there is any way around doing this and certainly it it well worth the effort.

Other Peoples Reviews of World First

I like to see what others are saying and to be honest I take a lot of comparison sites with a grain of salt – especially when they seem overly awesome. (most do)

If I trawl through and focus on the negative reviews most seem to come from people who are trying to send money to places like West Africa and finding out they do not deal with every country despite offering them a great rate.

I also found people who had trouble meeting the stringent compliance requirements.

In general through customer service standards and rates are some of the highest in the industry even compared with the overly positive reviews other companies seem to get too.


Overall I am very happy with World First and it would appear that many other people are too – the service and especially the rates offered.

They also have no transfer fee even for smaller amounts.

For business or money transfers of large amounts World First seems to be a very solid option as they support forward contracts and other more complex trades,

The setup process is a little tedious, but it provides a strong sense of security for your money and customer service is high.

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