World First, a UK-based currency broker, offers domestic and international money transfer services for individuals, businesses, and online sellers. It has been ranked in the Sunday London Times Virgin Fast Track list each year since 2009, and in 2012 was awarded the National Business Awards for Customer Focus. World First is regulated by theFCA, FinTRAC, FinCEN, and ASIC. World First's CEO Jonathan Quin was held an extensive interview with FXcompared in February 2017.
WorldFirst offers four distinct currency transfer services for individuals based on the customer’s preferred timing of the transaction.
The ‘buy now, pay now’ product is for customers who wish to make an international payment immediately. World First searches for the best rate on the current market (referred to as their ‘price promise’) and offers this rate to the customer.
The ‘buy now, pay later’ option is a forward contract for customers who wish to lock in a specific exchange rate but don’t want to make the transfer immediately. World First offers a rate lock for up to three years in advance. To initiate this type of transaction, customers need to pay a deposit up-front, with the balance due at the end of the contract. If the exchange rate moves, customers may be required to pay more to keep their deposit amount at the agreed-upon level.
For customers who need to make regular currency transactions, World First offers the ability to automate international payments on a schedule. Customers can set up a payment plan and choose between converting the payment at the exchange rate offered on the payment date, or can lock in a rate ahead of time.
World First also offers a ‘best of both’ currency option, which allows customers to lock in a rate ahead of time, but permits them to change it if the exchange rate moves when it’s time to make the transaction.
World First business customers can transfer money worldwide using either the ‘buy now, pay now,’ or ‘buy now, pay later’ options, or create a customized approach that factors in the company’s currency risk appetite and specific currency transfer needs.
Business customers are also provided with current rate information and research, and economic commentary to help them make the best money transfer decision for their business.
As of February 2017, World First stopped offering FX options contracts to clients.
World First provides money transfer services, competitive exchange rates, and flexible accounts for online sellers who need to send money globally, convert payments into their local currency, or pay overseas suppliers.
World First was formed in April 2004 by. By the end of its first year it had booked £43 million in currency trades. By October of 2005, the company reached £100 million in transactions and had expanded to eight employees.
In 2006, World First launched its corporate desk and hired Sir David Clementi, former Deputy Head of the Bank of England, to serve as Senior Advisor. The following year the firm reached £1 billion in currency transactions and, in 2008, the firm was the first UK-based foreign exchange broker to be granted approval by the FSA to sell currency options. The second World First office opened in Sydney, Australia.
In 2009, World First reached £2 billion in currency transactions and launched its automated payments product. The company was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. It finished the year by being authorized as a Payments Institution, and was ranked in the 53rd spot in the Sunday London Times Virgin Fast Track list. At the start of 2010, the company was named one of the London Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For, and launched its online platform. During the year the company also won the Service Business of the Year award (part of the Fast Growth Business Awards), and was named a finalist in the National Business Awards for Customer Focus.
By April of 2011, the company’s currency transactions had grown to £5 billion and it was once again named as one of the London Times Best Companies to Work For. It continued to expand, opening US offices in 2012 in Washington, DC, and was awarded the National Business Award for Customer Focus.
In 2013, the company’s Singapore office opened, and it grew to 200 employees by year end. By 2014, the number of World First employees had grown to 300 and the company opened its second Asian office, in Hong Kong. In September of 2014, the company completed its one millionth transaction.
Most customer reviews were positive for World First’s ability to secure favorable exchange rates for customer transactions, as well as for the fees charged per transaction. The company has a price guarantee in place that was mentioned in several reviews, as well as offering no-fee transactions in the UK. Feefo and ReviewCentre customer reviews were more than 95% positive in regards to the company’s fee structure and the exchange rate they received.
World First received overall positive reviews for its global reach and the amount of currencies available (over 100). The company offers translations in multiple languages and receives high marks from customers for its global presence, with offices in the UK, US, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Generally, customer reviews cited World First’s website, mobile app, and dedicated dealer service as reasons for choosing World First to send money internationally. Most reviewers praised the company’s helpful support staff and experienced dealers for making the transaction smooth and less stressful. It was difficult to find any negative reviews regarding the company’s ability to make overseas transactions easier and less of a hassle for customers. Overall, World First customers gave the company positive ratings for the ease of submitting money transfer orders and for being able to track their transaction.
World First’s market-timing options are well-received and well-liked by customers. Almost all reviews for the company’s ability to execute transactions to the customer’s satisfaction were positive. World First offers numerous hedging strategies and futures contracts, as well as an experienced and knowledgeable trading staff available to help customers, and the reviews reflected this. Customers liked the amount of options available for a transaction, as well as having access to a dedicated dealer to advise them throughout the process.
World First’s website, its account set-up process, and its mobile app all received positive customer reviews. There were no negative reviews for the company’s online account set-up process or for the company’s mobile app. Several commenters mentioned liking the ability to send and receive money through the app.
Reviews for World First customer service and support staff were overall favorable, with a few negative reviews mentioning difficulty contacting a dedicated dealer, or receiving an exchange rate that wasn’t as good as they expected. Most reviewers, however, were pleased with the level of customer service they received from World First, and several described situations where a dealer spent significant time explaining their options, walking them through the possibilities, and providing support each step of the way. Several reviewers mentioned the dedicated customer support they received while making a large international home purchase, and how the dealer and customer service staff were always available to answer questions.
World First distinguishes itself from competitors by offering additional products and services that many currency firms do not. The company receives high ratings from customers for its mobile app, which allows customers to track, send, and receive money on the go. The firm also helps merchants and online sellers receive international payments by setting up international bank accounts for them. This is a service few currency firms provide, and is much appreciated by its corporate customers. World First also offers a suite of sophisticated hedging options, including convertible forwards, market orders, a rate watch feature, and protection options. The company’s dedicated currency dealers are available to help customers choose the best option for their needs.
World First has a large amount of customer reviews spread across review sites including Feefo, TrustPilot, and ReviewCentre. Overall, the majority of the reviews are positive, with approximately 98% of Feefo customer reviews citing a positive experience, and 95% positive reviews on ReviewCentre. There have been more recent negative reviews, however, on TrustPilot’s site, with many customers describing a poor exchange rate or issues with documentation.
The positive reviews described an easy sign-up process using the company’s website, the helpfulness of having dedicated currency dealers, helpful customer service and support staff, excellent exchange rates, and satisfaction with prompt executions and funds delivery. Some reviewers were extremely happy that they were able to save large amounts of money by using World First to transfer funds instead of going through a bank.
Negative customer reviews covered a range of issues, from transactions being delayed due to poor execution or mismanagement on the part of a World First currency dealer, to receiving an exchange rate that was poorer than what the customer had been offered by their bank. Some of the negative reviews were for things that were beyond World First’s ability to control, such as additional fees charged by a recipient’s bank, a slow transfer due to country regulations that had nothing to do with World First, and additional documentation requirements which, again, were beyond World First’s ability to control. Lastly, one reviewer claimed their funds were not received on the day expected because of a bank holiday. While several of the negative reviews did seem valid, others blamed World First for circumstances that were beyond the company’s control.
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