Review: WorldFirst Hong Kong international money transfers

Enjoy competitive exchange rates 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.

1 day

Transfer Speed


Min. Transfer Amount

No limit

Max. Transfer Amount


Min. Transfer AmountUSD 1
Max. Transfer AmountNo limit
Transfer MethodsOnline, Phone
Transfer Speed
Minimum transfer time
1 day
Online Transfer FeeAUD 0
Available CurrenciesAUD, CHF, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, KHR, NZD, USD
Online Transfer FeeAUD 0


  • Competitive exchange rate
  • Spot contracts, forward contracts and hedging options available
  • Weekly updates on market exchange rates


  • Transfer fee payable
  • Small numbers of currencies available

Must read: WorldFirst Hong Kong has closed its private customer business

WorldFirst has discontinued its services for private customers in Hong Kong until further notice. Money transfers services for business customers will remain unaffected.

What is WorldFirst?

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. They now have offices in Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, the US, the Netherlands and Singapore.

WorldFirst exchange rates and fees

Because WorldFirst takes a smaller margin than the major banks, it’s typically able to offer better rates than a bank can. In fact, its currency transfers may be up to 3x cheaper than the banks and it also backs up its exchange rates with a Best Rate Guarantee.

Calculate how much sending money overseas would cost with WorldFirst in Hong Kong by using our tool below. You can also check out the real-time exchange rate WorldFirst offers and if there are any additional fees.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 1 1 day HKD 0.00 0.125 USD
非Finder客戶將獲得較昂貴的匯率。 Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
可用超過130種貨幣匯款。 WorldFirst sends 60+ currencies at competitive rates with no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
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Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Best Rate Guarantee

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

  • Register with WorldFirst.
  • Inform WorldFirst of 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 from Hong Kong 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 in Hong Kong?

What separates WorldFirst from most traditional banks and currency brokers is the fact that they offer foreign exchange methods that banks typically reserve for large corporate clients. However, WorldFirst only offers bank-to-bank transfers — meaning, funds must be drafted from your bank account, which will then be deposited into your recipient’s bank account. You cannot use cash or a debit or credit card to make the transaction.

While you can’t schedule recurring transfers, WorldFirst offers these specialised services and features for your business to get the most out of its transfers.

  1. Same day international payments
  2. Spot contract bookings
  3. Quick and convenient bulk payments
  4. Fund collection from international customers
  5. Multi-currency account for online sellers to receive sales proceeds

What payment methods does WorldFirst accept?

WorldFirst only accepts payments via bank transfer in Hong Kong.

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 organise your money transfer with WorldFirst either over the phone or online.

How long does a transfer with WorldFirst take in Hong Kong?

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 the speed of your transaction will also depend 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 4.5* out of 5, based on over 1,964 reviews.
*According to WorldFirst and Trustpilot on 30 December 2021.

WorldFirst is regulated in Hong Kong as a Money Services Operator (MSO) by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) allows for 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 from the one being quoted to you. This is because a lot of money transfer companies and banks in Hong Kong 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 in Hong Kong

You can sign up for an account with WorldFirst over the phone or online on behalf of your business. Once you register and are verified the first time, it’s quick and easy to make future transactions.

The first step is to sign up for an account. You’ll need to provide:

  • Your full name and contact information, including an email address
  • Your country of residence and address
  • Date of birth
  • Proof of government-issued ID or passport
  • Details about your money transfer needs

After you’ve registered for an account, you can usually get up and running within an hour after the WorldFirst team has verified your identity.

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 Hong Kong, 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.

In a nutshell

  • Competitive rates. WorldFirst offers highly competitive exchange rates to customers that are usually not too far from the interbank rate.
  • Same-day transfers for major currencies. If you’re transferring to USD, EUR and GBP, WorldFirst is 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.
  • Only accepts bank transfers. You won’t be able to use your credit card to pay for a money transfer.
  • High minimum transfer limit. WorldFirst won’t process money transfers smaller than HK$10,000 (or currency equivalent)
  • Some smaller currencies missing. WorldFirst has 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 learn more about how cash pickup works and check out money transfer providers in Hong Kong that offer cash pickup in our guide.

How does WorldFirst compare to other providers in Hong Kong?

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 10 Within an hour HKD 70.00 0.127 USD
以透明的匯率,低收費及低最低金額的網上服務作匯款。 Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
USD 10 1 - 2 days HKD 25.00 0.126 USD
新客戶可享有首三個月無限次免手續費匯款。New customers get 3 months of unlimited free transfers.
可用15+種貨幣匯款,享有超越銀行的匯率以及快速轉賬時間。 CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
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SGD 1 1 day HKD 21.00 0.127 USD
你首兩次港幣$15,000或以下的匯款,手續費全免。Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to HK$15,000.
象徵式收費以及中間價匯率,可匯款至高達30多個國家。 SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
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USD 50 Within an hour HKD 17.50 0.127 USD
使用優惠碼FINDER去獲取HK$1,500折扣。Use code FINDER to access the HK$1,500 discount.
InstaReM 提供簡單的匯款服務,大部分的匯款劃一收取0.5%的手續費。InstaReM offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
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GBP 5,000 1 - 2 days HKD 0.00 0.125 USD
可匯款至20+個國家,無手續費。 CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace. Go to site Show details
USD 2,000 1 day HKD 0.00 0.125 USD
TorFX保證提供最佳的匯率。需受條款約束。TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate.
以30種貨幣匯款到全球。登記後,將會有一個客戶經理提供支持和引導。 TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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

Frequently asked questions

Does WorldFirst have an app?

Yes, the WorldFirst app is available from the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. It allows you to make transfers whenever and wherever is convenient. If you want to know more about money transfer apps, check out our guide on some of the most popular international money transfer apps.

Can I send money for cash pickup through WorldFirst?

No. WorldFirst transfers money to bank accounts only.

How long does it take to open an account with WorldFirst?

You can open an account online in minutes, with verification usually taking place within an hour. After setting up the account, you’ll need to wait for a representative to contact you and finish verifying your identity. Read more about the registration process here.

Watch: Business and online payments during COVID-19

We spoke to WorldFirst’s CEO Jeff Parker about the trends he’s seen in business transfers since lockdown.

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