The bottom line
The company’s advantage lies in transfers of $10,000 — at which point the transfer fee drops — and above. Costs are better than average for the standard service with delivery in two or three business days. But the sender and recipient both must have a bank account to facilitate a transfer. The minimum you can send is $1,000.
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How World First rates
We rated World First at 3.5 out of 5 stars based on its transfers from the U.S. to six of seven benchmark countries. Where the provider shines: In transfers of $10,000 or more and its 24-hour delivery service, which is available if you pay your bank a fee to wire funds to World First. Where it falls short: No transfers of amounts below $1,000 and limited options for payment and delivery.
|Country overall ratings|
|Average rating for all countries|
- World First’s transfers can be delivered within 24 hours with expedited service option
- Transfers require bank accounts on sending and receiving ends
- Minimum amount per transfer is $1,000; there’s no maximum
- Transfers to China are available only to business customers
For each country, we analyzed World First’s money transfers based on four categories: transfer costs, speed offerings, transfer methods and options, and customer experience. We took the average of all countries’ category ratings to determine World First’s overall ratings:
|Transfer methods and options|
$10 fee for transfers of less than $10,000 and low rate markups
3.5 / 5.0
Transfers under $10,000 have a $10 flat fee, but there aren’t any fees for transfers above that. Exchange rate markups generally range between 0.5% and 1.3% above the mid-market rate, depending on the currency and the amount sent. For example, the rates tend to be slightly better for sending $10,000 versus $1,000.
Even for $1,000 transfers, World First’s range of exchange rate markups are competitive with other transfer providers. For example, the maximum markups on the same bank-account-to-bank-account service of the three largest providers are higher: 2.6% for Ria, 3.8% for MoneyGram and nearly 7% for Western Union.
Example: If the mid-market rate for U.S. dollars to Mexican pesos is 20 pesos per dollar, then a 2% markup means the provider would give you 19.6 pesos per dollar. For a $500 transfer, that’s the difference between 10,000 pesos from the first rate and 9,800 pesos from the second, post-markup one. The higher the markup, the less your recipients get in their currency.
Delivery possible within 24 hours
4.0 / 5.0
The delivery speed depends on the currency. Transfers can take two to three business days if you have World First debit your bank account. But the delivery can happen within 24 hours if you send funds to World First with a domestic wire transfer. That wire transfer will incur an additional fee from your bank — about $25 on average.
Transfer methods and options
Payment and delivery done only via bank accounts, but there are three sending options and no upper transfer limit
4.0 / 5.0
- Sending channels: World First’s website, mobile app and by phone with a customer service representative
- Payment options: Bank account only
- Delivery options: Bank account only
- Transfer limits: No maximum; minimum per transfer is $1,000
24/7 customer service, but it’s hard to find some information on website.
3.5 / 5.0
It’s not easy to find World First’s FAQs section on its website. It doesn’t offer a list of currencies or countries for making transfers. Instead, you’ll need to open an account and select the countries from a drop-down menu.
Although its simple fee structure is in the FAQs, you have to log in to see the provider’s exchange rates. But the rates for some currencies like Indian rupees aren’t shown online, so you have to call the company.
Customer service is available 24/7, with representatives in various offices worldwide. When you become a customer, World First assigns you a dedicated customer service agent to answer questions or book transfers during business hours on weekdays.
World First’s iOS mobile app hasn’t received enough reviews to be rated, but its Android app gets 4.2 stars.
Suited for large transfers
If you aim to send less than $10,000, however, or want to compare exchange rates between providers online, you might want to consider other options.
We analyzed 11 top money transfer providers that work in the U.S., including major players and smaller, innovative companies in the international money transfer industry, based on market research, experts, cost analysis and U.S. internet traffic.Providers considered: MoneyGram, OFX, Placid Express, Remitly, Ria, Transfast, TransferWise, Western Union, World First, WorldRemit and Xoom (owned by PayPal).
What the ratings mean:
— Above average
— Below average
How we rate money transfer providers