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World First vs. TransferWise – money transfer services compared

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Compared to banks, World First and TransferWise offer lower fees and better exchange rates on money transfers. Here’s how they stack up against each other.

World First and TransferWise are two strong contenders in an increasingly crowded market for money transfers. Let’s compare their fees, exchange rates and transfer speed to see which one comes out on top.

Worldfirst sites like transferwise
World First TransferWise
Fees $10 transfers below $10,000
$0 for $10,000 or more
From 0.5% to 1.5% of your transaction
Exchange rates Usually 0.2% off the mid-market rate Converts money at the mid-market rate
Speed 1–6 business days 1–6 business days
Max Transfer Amount $25,000 initial transaction maximum and $50,000 after $49,999 (personal) and $199,999 (business) maximum

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World First vs. TransferWise: How they work

World First transfers money for businesses, online sellers and individuals. For a personal transfer, you tell World First how much you want to send, then they quote an exchange rate. After you send your money, World First will convert the funds and send them to your recipient’s bank account.

Sending money through TransferWise is a similar process: Input how much you want to transfer, then send your money to TransferWise. They will convert your money and send it to your recipient’s bank account.

Who offers lower fees?

World First

For personal transfers, there’s a $10 fee for transfers below $10,000 and none for $10,000 or more. There’s no cost to send money to World First, although your bank may charge fees.

TransferWise

While World First charges a flat fee for transfers, TransferWise charges a percentage fee. They range from 0.5% to 1.5% of your transaction — and sometimes a bit higher, depending on the currency you’re transferring to. For example, to send $1,000 to China, you’ll pay 1.5% of your transaction (or $15); to the Philippines, the fee drops to 1% ($10).

You can easily find out what you’ll pay by visiting its “How much does TransferWise cost?” page.

  • Winner: It depends

TransferWise is cheaper for very small amounts, given its minimum fees. World First is cheaper for large amounts, charging a flat fee instead of a percentage fee.

Case study: $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 to Canada

Depending how much money you want to send, you’ll pay varying fees to transfer through World First and TransferWise. Let’s see what costs are for transferring different amounts of money.

$1,000: It’s about even, with a slight advantage to TransferWise

World First TransferWise
Send in money (ACH bank transfer) $0 $0
Transfer fee $10 $9.90
Exchange rate 1 USD = 1.3270 CAD 1 USD = 1.3299 CAD
Transfer speed 1–5 business days 1–6 days
Total Canadian dollars received 1,313.73 CAD 1,316.73 CAD

The difference is 3 Canadian dollars (or $2.26).

$5,000: World First wins

World First TransferWise
Send in money (ACH bank transfer) $0 $0
Transfer fee $10 $49.50
Exchange rate 1 USD = 1.3270 CAD 1 USD = 1.3299 CAD
Transfer speed 1–5 business days 1–6 days
Total Canadian dollars received 6,621.73 CAD 6,583.67 CAD

The difference is 38.06 Canadian dollars ($28.62). World First is cheaper in this example.

$10,000: World First is the big winner

World First TransferWise
Send in money (ACH bank transfer) $0 $0
Transfer fee $0 $84.41
Exchange rate 1 USD = 1.3270 CAD 1 USD = 1.3299 CAD
Transfer speed 1–5 business days 1–6 days
Total Canadian dollars received 13,270 CAD 13,186.74 CAD

With a difference of 83.26 CAD ($62.60) and a $0 transfer fee, World First comes up big here.

  • Winner: World First

With a $1,000 transfer, World First and TransferWise cost about the same. Transferring larger amounts earns you higher savings with World First.

While World First wins on fees if you send money through an ACH bank transfer, your costs increase if you send money via wire transfer (which typically comes with a fee of $15 to $30). World First requires you to send money through wire transfer for your first personal transfer.

What is an ACH bank transfer?

The Automated Clearing House (ACH) is a network that moves money and information between bank accounts through direct deposits and payments. It processes more than $40 trillion each year and supports more than 90 percent of all electronic payments in the United States.

Who offers better exchange rates?

World First

World First offers a pretty tight spread between its exchange rate and the mid-market rate — usually 0.2% off the mid-market rate.

TransferWise

TransferWise converts money at the mid-market rate, which is stellar compared to banks. Just watch for the percentage fees charged for transfers.

  • Winner: Tie

World First and TransferWise offer similar exchange rates. Though TransferWise’s rate — the mid-market rate — is an almost unbeatable deal.

What is the mid-market rate?

The mid-market rate is what your money’s actually worth on the global market compared to another currency. It’s the midpoint between worldwide supply and demand for that currency — and the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves.

Use this rate as a baseline to compare against the rates provided by your bank or transfer service. With it, you’ll discover which companies offer the best rates.

Who’s faster?

World First

For your first transfer, World First requires a wire transfer, which usually takes a business day. Afterward, you send money via ACH direct debit, which takes a few business days.

If you’re sending British pounds, US dollars or euros, World First will make a same-day payment once it receives your money, though it may take up to one business day for your account to be credited.

For all other currencies it takes one to four days for money to reach your recipient. To transfer US dollars to other countries, it may take up to four days.

TransferWise

First, sending money to TransferWise could take up to four days. Credit or debit card is the fastest way to send money; ACH bank transfer takes the longest.

TransferWise will then convert your money within a few hours to two days, and your recipient will receive the funds within a few business days. In total, it takes from one to six business days to complete a transfer.

Who offers more options?

Payment Methods Minimum and maximum transfers Delivery methods Transfer speeds Countries and currencies
World First Bank transfer (wire for first transfer; ACH Direct Debit available after) $1,000 minimum; $25,000 initial transaction maximum and $50,000 after Bank transfer 1–6 business days Most popular countries include Australia, Canada, Europe, USA and UK
TransferWise Bank transfer, credit or debit card $3 minimum; $49,999 (personal) and $199,999 (business) maximum Bank transfer 1–6 business days 39 countries

Bottom line

Costs for World First and TransferWise run neck-and-neck for smaller transfers.

For your first transfer, you’ll pay more through World First because you’ll have to send money via wire transfer. For larger transfers, World First is generally cheaper because it charges a flat rate, while TransferWise charges a percentage of your transfer.

Ultimately, you’ll want to compare your options to find the best service for your situation.

Compare your international money transfer options

Use our comparison calculator to weigh the fees, exchange rates and other details of specialist companies to find the best value on your next international transfer.

I want to send

to

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$0 3 - 5 days USD 0.00 19.106 MXN 95,530 Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 19.096 MXN 95,482 Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee
No-limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies.
Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour USD 3.99 19.096 MXN 95,406 Use promo code FINDER to send your first transfer at no fee to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
USD 1 3 - 5 days USD 75.00 19.270 MXN
94,904
Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 19.077 MXN 95,386 Get live quotes on exchange rates and take advantage of no transaction fees with no limits on transfers. Go to site Show details

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US International Money Transfers Offers

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XE Money Transfer

Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees.

WorldRemit International Money Transfers

Use promo code FINDER to send your first transfer at no fee to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.

World First Foreign Exchange

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TransferWise International Money Transfers

Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks.

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