Review: WorldFirst international money transfers – December 2019

Last updated:  

Enjoy competitive exchange rates and no transfer fees when you send money overseas with WorldFirst.

  • Good for large transfers and transparent margins on the exchange rate.
  • Not so great if you only want to send a small amount or pay by card.

Because WorldFirst takes a smaller margin than the major banks, it’s typically able to offer better rates than a bank can. In fact, it claims its exchange rates are up to seven times better than major Canadian banks, and backs this up with the WorldFirst Price Promise.

WorldFirst's Price Promise

If you get a better quote from another international transfer service, WorldFirst will beat it. You just need to:

  • Register with WorldFirst.
  • Let WorldFirst know how much money you’re looking to transfer and the rate you were quoted, including the time of day you received the quote.

Conditions do apply:

  • You must have an active trading account with another provider.
  • You must have the quote in writing or email to send to WorldFirst within three hours of receipt.
  • WorldFirst cannot give you a rate better than the rate at which they buy the currency.

Available currencies

WorldFirst offers money transfers to over 60 different currencies. You can check out the full list of the currencies above, but some of the more popular ones include:

  • EUR Euro
  • GBP British pound
  • INR Indian rupee
  • LKR Sri Lankan rupee
  • NZD New Zealand dollar
  • PHP Philippine peso
  • USD US dollar
  • VND Vietnamese Dong

What types of transfers can you make with WorldFirst?

WorldFirst offers four main transfer types to help you get the most out of your transaction.

  1. Spot contracts. Make a one-time transfer at the time of payment.
  2. Forward contracts. Lock in today’s exchange rate and schedule a transfer now for up to two years later.
  3. Regular payments. Set up automated payments online or over the phone.
  4. Limit orders. Use these to execute a money transfer when your ideal exchange rate is met.

What payment methods does WorldFirst accept?

WorldFirst only accepts payments via bank transfer.

After you’ve booked your money transfer, you’ll receive an email with WorldFirst’s bank account details for you to transfer your money to. You can organize your money transfer with WorldFirst either over the phone or online.

How long does a transfer with WorldFirst take?

A number of factors affect the transfer time: the currency, what bank is used and the size of the transaction. If you’re transferring to GBP, USD or EUR, the transfer is normally completed within the same day. With other currencies, you should allow one to four days for your money transfer to be completed.

Keep in mind that these times are from when WorldFirst receives your funds, so depending on how fast your bank processes money transfers.

Transfers typically takeClock icon for transfer speed

1 day

Is WorldFirst safe to use?

  • Security and regulation: WorldFirst is government regulated and holds its customers’ funds separate from the company’s own.
  • Established: 2004.
  • Number of customers: Over 75,000*.
  • Reviews: Trustpilot gives WorldFirst a score of 7.7* out of 10, based on over 220 reviews.
*According to WorldFirst and Trustpilot on 14 September 2018.

WorldFirst is regulated in Canada by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), which is the body that regulates finance companies to protect consumers.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) allows you an extra layer of security. It requires you to use two types of verification when you’re logging into your account. These are usually your password and a number either sent to you by text or generated by an authenticator.

How does WorldFirst make money?

WorldFirst makes its money off the spread, which is also known as the margin. You may have noticed that the exchange rate you see on Google or XE is different to the one being quoted to you. This is because a lot of money transfer companies and banks add on a small margin to the interbank rate to cover their own costs. In other words, it’s the difference between the wholesale cost of the currency, and the rate WorldFirst offers to you.

This margin varies from company to company, so it’s important to compare both the exchange rate the money transfer service is offering as well as their additional fees. WorldFirst’s margin generally ranges between 0.1% and 4% per transfer, depending on market volatility and the specific currencies you’re buying or selling.

How to register an account with WorldFirst

You can sign up for an account with WorldFirst online and, once you register and are verified the first time, it’s quick and easy to make future transactions.

How do I make an international money transfer with WorldFirst?

  1. Log in and click ‘make a transfer’. You’ll find this button on the homescreen of your log-in page.
  2. Choose your currencies. You’ll need to include the currency you hold and what you want to send, as well as the amount.
  3. Select your payment method. Even though you can only use a bank transfer in Canada, you can choose if the money is coming from a bank account under your name or not.
  4. Pick what date you want WorldFirst to make the transfer. It can either be for as soon as possible or at a later date.
  5. Review your transfer. Double-check the exchange rate is the one you want as this is the one you’re locking in.
  6. Transfer the money to WorldFirst’s bank account. You can find WorldFirst’s bank account details in the confirmation email you’re sent.
  7. WorldFirst sends your money transfer. You’ll be able to track the transfer online and receive email updates during the process.

What is WorldFirst’s background?

WorldFirst was launched in 2004 by two ex-Citibank colleagues in London. The pair wanted to use WorldFirst to make international money transfers cheaper and easier than what’s normally offered by the banks. Although they now have offices in Hong Kong, Japan, the US, the Netherlands and Singapore, the Sydney office was the second non-UK one launched.

In a nutshell

Pros
  • No fees. WorldFirst doesn’t charge any transaction fees, commissions or ongoing fees.
  • Competitive rates. WorldFirst offers highly competitive exchange rates to customers that’s usually not too far from the interbank rate.
  • Same-day transfers for major currencies. If you’re transferring to USD, EUR and GBP, WorldFirst are able to deliver within a day.
  • Regular market updates. You can sign up for WorldFirst’s rate alerts or weekly market updates.
  • No maximum limit. With no limit, you can transfer as much as you’d like in one go.
Cons
  • Only accepts bank transfer. You won’t be able to use your credit card or debit card to pay for a money transfer.
  • High minimum transfer limit. WorldFirst won’t process money transfers smaller than $2,000.
  • Some smaller currencies missing. WorldFirst have most of the major currencies covered, but not all of the smaller ones.
  • No cash pick-up. Transfers must be sent to your recipient’s bank account. You can check out other money transfer providers that offer cash pickup here.

How does WorldFirst compare to other providers?

Our table below shows you the exchange rate and fees of other money transfer specialists.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 150 1 day CAD 15.00 0.751 USD
3,743
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.
Go to site Show details
CAD 0 Within an hour CAD 3.99 0.755 USD
3,774
Use code FINDERCA and pay zero fees on your first transfer. Conditions apply.
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
Go to site Show details
CAD 1 1 - 2 days CAD 45.00 0.759 USD
3,758
Make online transfers with transparent exchange rates, low fees and low minimum amounts. Go to site Show details
CAD 0 1 day CAD 0.00 0.751 USD
3,755
Send money in more than 60 currencies. Fee-free international money transfers with a global brand. Go to site Show details
CAD 2,000 1 day CAD 0.00 0.751 USD
3,755
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 45 currencies.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
Back to top

Frequently asked questions

Ask an expert

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Go to site