Review: WorldFirst international money transfers – October 2021
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.
Min. Transfer Amount
Max. Transfer Amount
|Product Name||WorldFirst International Money Transfers|
|Min. Transfer Amount||NZD 2,000|
|Max. Transfer Amount||No limit|
|Transfer Methods||Online, Phone, Agent|
|Transfer Options||One off payments, Market orders, Forward contracts|
Minimum transfer time
|Customer Service||Phone, Email|
|Available Currencies||AED, ALL, AMD, ANG, AOA, ARS, AUD, AZN, BAM, BBD, BGN, BHD, BIF, BMD, BND, BOB, BRL, BSD, BWP, BZD, CAD, CDF, CHF, CLP, CNY, COP, CRC, CVE, CZK, DJF, DKK, DOP, DZD, EGP, ERN, ETB, EUR, FJD, GBP, GEL, GHS, GMD, GNF, GTQ, GYD, HKD, HNL, HRK, HTG, HUF, IDR, ILS, INR, IQD, ISK, JMD, JOD, JPY, KES, KHR, KRW, KWD, KYD, KZT, LAK, LBP, LKR, LRD, LSL, MAD, MGA, MKD, MNT, MRO, MUR, MWK, MXN, MYR, MZN, NAD, NGN, NIO, NOK, NPR, NZD, OMR, PEN, PGK, PHP, PKR, PLN, PYG, QAR, RON, RSD, RUB, RWF, SAR, SBD, SCR, SEK, SGD, SLL, SRD, STD, SZL, THB, TND, TOP, TRY, TTD, TWD, TZS, UGX, USD, UYU, VEF, VND, VUV, WST, XCD, XOF, XPF, ZAR, ZMW|
|Exchange Rate Updates||Daily|
|Online Transfer Fee||NZD 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
WorldFirst exchange rates and fees
WorldFirst charges transactions fees for smaller amounts and adds a margin to the mid-market exchange rate. This means WorldFirst’s exchange rate won’t be as good as the one you can see on Google or the news.
On most popular currencies, WorldFirst guarantees that the margin will only be 0.6% on top of the exchange rate. The more you send, the lower it gets. This rate goes down to 0.4% for Finder customers.
For the other, less popular currencies, you won’t pay more than about 1% on top of the exchange rate.
WorldFirst’s fees in detail
In March 2021, WorldFirst introduced transaction fees for sending amounts less than $10k. Most popular currencies are available to purchase at these rates online, but for some, you’ll need to contact WorldFirst by phone. These rates apply to personal, business and online seller customers.
|Transfer amount (NZD)||$0-$1,999||$2,000-$9,999||$10k+|
Calculate how much sending money overseas would cost with WorldFirst by using our tool below. You can also check out the real-time exchange rate WorldFirst offers and if there are any additional 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, it claims its exchange rates are up to seven times better than the Big Four 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.
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
- AUD Australian 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.
- Spot contracts. Make a one-time transfer at the time of payment.
- Forward contracts. Lock in today’s exchange rate and schedule a transfer now for up to two years later.
- Regular payments. Set up automated payments online or over the phone.
- 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 organise 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 it depends on how fast your bank processes money transfers.
Transfers typically take
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 400,000* globally.
- Reviews: Feefo gives WorldFirst a score of 4.6* out of 5, based on over 485 reviews.
Because WorldFirst is not based in New Zealand and does not have a physical presence here, it is not regulated in New Zealand by FMA (the Financial Markets Authority). However, in Australia WorldFirst is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Part of ASIC’s client money regulation means that WorldFirst has to keep its customers’ funds separate from its own. This protects their users’ money if the company runs into financial difficulties.
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 0.6% 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?
- Log in and click “Make a Transfer”. You’ll find this button on the home screen of your log-in page.
- Choose your currencies. You’ll need to include the currency you hold and what you want to send, as well as the amount.
- Select your payment method. Even though you can only use a bank transfer in New Zealand, you can choose if the money is coming from a bank account under your name or not.
- Pick what date you want WorldFirst to make the transfer. It can either be for as soon as possible or at a later date.
- Review your transfer. Double-check the exchange rate is the one you want as this is the one you’re locking in.
- Transfer the money to WorldFirst’s bank account. You can find WorldFirst’s bank account details in the confirmation email you’re sent.
- 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. The company now has offices in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, the United States, the Netherlands and Singapore.
In a nutshell
- 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.
- 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 pick-up here.
How does WorldFirst compare to other providers?
Our table below shows you the exchange rate and fees of other money transfer specialists.
Want to compare WorldFirst with other services side-by-side?
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.
Can I send money for cash pick-up 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.