Review: WorldFirst international money transfers
Enjoy competitive exchange rates when you send money overseas with WorldFirst.
- Good for sending money to a major currency.
- Not so great for small transfers.
Check out our full list of pros and cons below.
Min. Transfer Amount
Max. Transfer Amount
1 - 2 days
|Product Name||WorldFirst International Money Transfers|
|Min. Transfer Amount||SGD 2,000|
|Max. Transfer Amount||No limit|
|Transfer Methods||Online, Phone|
|Transfer Options||One off payments, Market orders|
Minimum transfer time
|1 - 2 days|
|Customer Service||Phone, Email|
|Available Currencies||AED, AUD, BBD, BGN, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, FJD, GBP, HKD, HUF, IDR, ILS, INR, JPY, KES, LKR, MUR, MYR, NOK, NZD, PHP, PLN, RUB, SEK, SGD, TND, USD, ZAR|
|Online Transfer Fee||SGD 0|
|Exchange Rate Updates||Real time|
What's in this guide?
- WorldFirst exchange rates and fees
- Available currencies
- What types of transfers can you make with WorldFirst?
- What payment methods does WorldFirst accept?
- How long does a transfer with WorldFirst take?
- Is WorldFirst safe to use?
- How do I send money through WorldFirst?
- How can I register and transfer money?
- What is WorldFirst's background?
- In a nutshell
- How does WorldFirst compare to other providers?
- Frequently asked questions
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 by using our tool below. You can also check out the real-time exchange rate WorldFirst offers and if there are any additional fees.
MUST READ: WorldFirst’s rates in detail
In August 2019, WorldFirst announced it was launching a new pricing structure aimed at making the margins applied to each transfer more transparent and easier to understand. 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.
Annual transfer amount (SGD)
Exchange rate margin
Cross currency fee
Take note that same currency transfers will incur a percentage-based fee depending on the amount transferred. The transfer service is also not applicable to regional currencies such as IDR, INR, MYR, PHP, VND.
Annual transfer amount (SGD)
Exchange rate margin
Cross currency fee
Same currency fee
Take note that a flat fee of S$10 will incur for all cross-currency fees.
Annual transfer amount (SGD)
Exchange rate margin
Same currency fee
Best Rate Guarantee
If you get a better quote from another international transfer service, WorldFirst will 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.
WorldFirst offers money transfers to over 30 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
- JPY Japanese yen
- AUD Australian dollar
- NZD New Zealand dollar
- CAD Canadian dollar
- USD US dollar
- HKD Hong Kong dollar
What types of transfers can you make with WorldFirst?
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 those with individual client accounts to get the most out of your transfers.
- Customer service. Get access to customer service on a variety of platforms and speak to a representative over the phone or email. You may also contact your dedicated local relationship manager if you have any enquires or issues with your transfer.
- Spot contracts. A spot contract allows investors to buy or sell a currency at today’s market rate. This is different from a forward contract, which settles the value of a currency transaction sometime in the future. If you are looking to make a single payment for an item purchased overseas, a spot contract is usually the best choice.
- Zero-fee transfers. WorldFirst charges no fees for transfers made by private clients and online sellers, as long as you’re transferring over S$2,000. For online sellers, there are also no monthly charges or any fees for receiving payments. However, a nominal fee will be charged for business transfers.
What payment methods does WorldFirst accept?
WorldFirst only accepts payments via domestic bank transfer (FAST payment, Express transfer or GIRO).
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 depending 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.
WorldFirst is regulated in Australia by ASIC (the Australian Securities and Investments Commission), which is the body that regulates finance companies to protect consumers. Part of ASIC’s Client Money regulation means that WorldFirst has to keep its customers’ funds separate from its own. This protects its 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 4% per transfer, depending on market volatility and the specific currencies you’re buying or selling.
How do I send money through WorldFirst?
You’ll first need to sign up for a free WorldFirst account. In addition to your name and contact information, you’ll also need to upload a copy of your government-issued ID — such as your NRIC or passport.
First, you’ll need to wire money to your WorldFirst account by domestic bank transfer (FAST payment, Express transfer or GIRO). WorldFirst will then transfer your money to your recipient’s bank account.
To initiate a transfer, you’ll need to:
- Log in and click ‘make a transfer’. You’ll find this button on the homescreen 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 Singapore, 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.
How can I register and transfer money?
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, like your NRIC or passport.
- Details about your money transfer needs.
MUST READ: Face-to-face verification
Due to Singapore regulatory requirements, WorldFirst will need to meet all new account holders face-to-face. So after you’ve completed the online form, a WorldFirst representative will be in touch to schedule a time that suits for a brief meeting at their office: 6 Shenton Way, OUE Downtown Tower 1 #36-03.
Once you have an account, enter the details of your transaction, including how much money you’re sending, where you’re sending it and who will be receiving the funds. Provide your recipient’s bank account details and the currency you wish to send, and you will be presented with an exchange rate quote.
You can choose to send the money right away or lock in a rate for a future transaction. It’s then a matter of depositing funds with WorldFirst from your bank account, and the company will convert the money into your currency of choice and send it to your recipient.
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
- 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 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 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 S$2,000 (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.
How does WorldFirst compare to other providers?
Our table below shows you the exchange rate and fees of other money transfer specialists.
Frequently asked questions
Is there an app available to conduct transfers?
Yes, the WorldFirst app is available from the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. It allows you to place transfers whenever and wherever is convenient.
How long does a transfer take?
This depends on the currency you’re sending, the bank you’re using and the size of your transaction. Sterling, US dollars and euros usually transfer the same day that WorldFirst receives your cleared funds. With other currencies, it sends your payment out on the date agreed to, but you’ll need to allow one to four days for your funds to reach the recipient.
How do I send my funds to WorldFirst?
You will need to send the money by domestic bank transfer, either FAST payment, Express Transfer (RTGS/CHATS) or e-Transfer/Telegraphic Transfer (GIRO).
When will my payment go out to my beneficiary?
WorldFirst makes the payment to your beneficiary on the date you agree to when you book your trade. Your beneficiary might not be able to access the money right away, as their bank might take some time to clear the funds for them.
Can I send money for cash pickup through WorldFirst?
No. WorldFirst transfers money to bank accounts only.
How can I contact WorldFirst?
Existing clients can contact WorldFirst at +65 6805 4370, and new clients can contact them at +65 6805 4380.
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.