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World First Money Transfer Review: Personal Service, Good Rates

June 29, 2018
Banking, Money Transfer
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

World First
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Where World First shines:

  • No fees for sending $10,000 and up
  • Ability to deliver money within a day, especially between major currencies

Where World First falls short:

  • Minimum transfer amount is $1,000
  • Limited to bank accounts for sending and receiving money


Where World First shines:

  • No fees for sending $10,000 and up
  • Ability to deliver money within a day, especially between major currencies

Where World First falls short:

  • Minimum transfer amount is $1,000
  • Limited to bank accounts for sending and receiving money


Where World First shines:

  • No fees for sending $10,000 and up
  • Ability to deliver money within a day, especially between major currencies

Where World First falls short:

  • Minimum transfer amount is $1,000
  • Limited to bank accounts for sending and receiving money

 

The bottom line

WorldFirst

at WorldFirst

As an international money transfer platform, World First lets individuals and businesses send money from the U.S. to over 120 countries. Both sender and recipient must have bank accounts to facilitate a transfer, and the minimum sending amount is $1,000. The company has reasonably cheap transfers for $10,000 – at which point the fee drops — or above, especially because of competitive exchange rates for major currencies. Standard delivery is about two to three business days.

Best if: You want personalized customer service and plan to send over $10,000 quickly.


World First receives four out of five stars for its transfers from the U.S. to six countries: Canada, Germany, India, Mexico, the Philippines and the United Kingdom. Read on to see the four categories used to rate World First: transfer costs, speed offerings, transfer methods and options, and customer experience.

Transfer costs: 4.0/5.0

 

There’s a $10 fee to send below $10,000. World First focuses on high-volume transfers, dropping the fee for transfers of $10,000 and above.

Low rate markups: Average exchange rate markups generally range between 0.3% and 1.1% above the mid-market rate, depending on the currency and the amount sent. Rates tend to be slightly better for sending $10,000 versus $1,000. World First’s markups tend to be a better deal than other transfer providers. For example, the three largest providers have higher maximum markups for their bank-account-to-bank-account service: 2.6% for Ria, about 4% for MoneyGram and nearly 7% for Western Union.

The mid-market rate, also called the interbank rate, is the exchange rate that big banks use to swap currencies with one another. Most providers give customers an exchange rate that’s the mid-market rate plus an additional percentage, or markup, to make a profit on the transfer.

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.

Speed offerings: 4.0/5.0

 

Getting 24-hour delivery is possible. Delivery speeds vary by the destination, but the standard time is two to three business days if you have World First debit your bank account. For delivery within 24 hours, you need to send your funds to World First with a domestic wire transfer. That wire transfer will typically incur an additional fee from your bank — about $25 on average.

Transfer methods and options: 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

Customer experience: 3.5/5.0

 

Customer service is available 24 hours, 5 days a week. When you register, World First assigns you a dedicated customer service agent to answer questions or book transfers during weekdays.

Not the easiest web experience: Unlike other providers, World First offers no public list of available currencies, countries or real-time exchange rates that they offer, so you must register to see those. And for some rates, such as the exchange rate between U.S. dollars and Indian rupees, you can’t see them online so you must call the company.

Average or no ratings on mobile: The iOS mobile app hasn’t received enough reviews to be rated, but its Android app gets 3.6 stars.

WorldFirst

at WorldFirst

» Ready to take the next step? If you’re sending over $10,000 and want personalized customer service, World First may suit you well. But if not, or you want to compare exchange rates between providers online, you might want to consider other options.


METHODOLOGY

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).

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

How we rate money transfer providers