Frequently asked questions
These are some of the questions we’re often asked. If your question isn’t answered here, please give us a call you're no more than three rings away from a friendly voice.
How do I save money?
We guarantee to quote you a better exchange rate than your bank. Savings are usually from 0.25% up to 4% of the amount being transferred. For example, a client transferring £100,000 into euros was recently quoted 1.18 by their bank and would have received €118,000. We quoted 1.20 and paid €120,000. Just get in touch to compare your bank's rate with ours.
Do you charge commission?
No, we never charge commission. And there are no other hidden fees or account charges, apart from payment charges for smaller transactions. The full details are in the answer to the question below.
How does World First make money?
Banks and large financial institutions trade with each other in large amounts (e.g. amounts over £5m) at a rate called the interbank rate. We make money on the difference between the rate we quote you and the interbank rate. This is known as a spread. We can pass this advantage on to our clients by generally taking a smaller spread than the banks. There is no hidden fee on top of the rate that we quote you. With more complex transactions such as Options there may be costs depending on the structure, but these charges are always made clear upfront.
Do you charge for payments or wire transfers?
All transactions over £5,000 are free. For amounts under £5,000 the fee is £10 if the transaction is processed using World First Online, our online system, or £15 if the transaction is agreed by telephone. This is less than the banks, where charges are usually up to £40. If you are making regular transfers to Europe there is no fee, and to the rest of the world the fee is £10.
We can also help you to avoid correspondent and receiving bank charges in most countries.
We’ll agree a payment fee structure with you that reflects how much business we do together. These fees can range from £0 to £15 per transaction. We also avoid correspondent and receiving charges in most countries.
How much can I transact with World First?
You can transact any amount with us over £250. For transactions under £1,000/€1,200/$1,600 we would ask you to transact online. For transactions over £1,000/€1,200/$1,600 you can either transact by telephone or online.
How do I open an account with you? How long will it take?
First you need to accept our terms and conditions. You can do this online or complete, sign and return our paper copy. If you’re a UK resident we can usually verify your identity electronically. We can also do this for certain other countries. If we can’t verify your identity, we will require you to send:
•A copy of your passport or driving licence.
•A copy of a recent bank or credit card statement or a utility bill issued in the past three months.
It is possible to open an account and make your first trade within an hour.
If you set up an account you’re under no obligation to transact with us. But you’ll get a great rate whenever you do use us.
You can register here if you're interested in foreign exchange for yourself.
You’ll just need to sign our terms and conditions and return them along with your Certificate of Incorporation or VAT registration. We can now provide you with an online form that you can sign electronically.
If your company doesn’t have limited liability, we’ll need a copy of a company utility bill, as well as a copy of the passport or driving licence of the person who will be authorising transactions.
We can open corporate accounts the same day we receive your documentation.
You will get a great rate however often you use us, and even if you set up an account you’re under no obligation to transact with us.
You can register here if you're interested in foreign exchange for your business.
Can I transact online?
Yes you can. World First Online - our best-in-class system lets you manage all your foreign exchange transactions and payments whenever it suits you. With World First Online you can:
•Fix rates and book currency transactions
•Manage payments and beneficiaries
•View live statements
•Access the system 24/7
•Access economic information and research
You need an account with us to be able to use World First Online. If you don't have one, it's easy - and free of charge - to set up. If you already have an account give us a call on +44 20 7801 2367 and we'll get you set up or answer any queries you may have.
How safe is my money? Is World First regulated?
We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. We have a 2A1 credit rating from Dun & Bradstreet (the highest rating you can get for a company our size), and our clients' funds are all placed in segregated accounts, so they are entirely separate from our own business accounts.
If you’d like a bank reference for us please give us a call, we’d be happy to oblige.
You’ll find full information on our security page, where you can also download our audited financial statements.
How long does a transfer take?
This depends on a few factors including the currency you are sending or buying, the bank you use and the size of the transaction.
•Sterling, US dollars or euros
We will usually make a same-day payment when we receive your funds. This will arrive fully cleared with your bank the same day though they may not credit your account until the next business day.
Once we have received your payment, please allow one to four days for your funds to reach the recipient. The length of time depends on the currency. For example for Swedish kroner, it will be one day; for East Caribbean Dollars please allow four days.
If you need funds to arrive by a particular date please call us for advice and accurate information for the country you are sending funds to.
What rate will I get? Will I get the same rate I see online?
The rate will depend on the amount being transferred and the date you want the funds to arrive.
Generally, the rates you find online are mid rates for transactions over £5,000,000. This means they are an indicative rate halfway between the buy rate and the sell rate. No-one can trade at these rates. We believe, however, that World First will quote you an exchange rate closer to these mid rates than anyone else. If there is a particular exchange rate you are trying to achieve, we are always happy to watch the rate for you and do the deal or let you know if the rate is reached.
You can see indicative exchange rates on our currency converter. But remember that these are the interbank rates for amounts over £5,000,000 so smaller amounts will get slightly lower rates.
Rates quoted on World First Online
Our rates quoted on World First Online are linked to the live foreign exchange market. When the market is open the rate will constantly fluctuate throughout the booking process until you click ‘Accept rate and book transaction’. At this point the rate will be fixed and the transaction booked. When the foreign exchange market is closed (at the weekends from Friday 22:00 to Sunday 20:15 GMT), the rate offered will not fluctuate as it will have been set when the market closes on Friday.
Can I fix an exchange rate for a future date?
Yes, this is called a forward contract. You can fix a rate today for any date from one week up to three years in the future. You might need to pay a deposit and pay the balance a day before the pre-agreed future date. This can be ideal if you have to pay the balance on a foreign property in three months’ time and you want to know exactly how much your property will cost in pounds sterling.
Will World First accept funds from a different source / account?
Yes we can receive funds from an account in a different name to yours, but for AML (anti money laundering) regulations we will need to verify the source. Please contact us for more details.
What are the differences between using World First and someone else?
There are a number of benefits to using World First versus your bank or another currency company:
• Our rates are the best available, guaranteed.
• We don't charge commission and there are no other hidden fees or charges.
• We tailor products just for you.
• You can transact online or on the phone.
• We make the whole thing straightforward and stress free.
• Our award-winning service will truly impress you.
We encourage you to compare us to your bank or existing currency company. We are confident you will be impressed with our service..
What payment / beneficiary details do I need to be able to send funds?
• Europe – IBAN and SWIFT
• Canada – SWIFT and Transit code
• Australia – SWIFT or BSB code
• New Zealand – 6 digit bank code and SWIFT
• USA – ABA routing number or SWIFT
• UK – account number and sort code or SWIFT and IBAN
• India – SWIFT and IFSC number
• China – SWIFT
• Mexico – Clabe no. and SWIFT
Please call us for information on other countries.
What happens if my funds don’t arrive?
This is extremely rare – only 0.001% of funds didn't arrive in October 2010. But if your funds don’t arrive within the expected timescale, then let us know as soon as possible so that we can set up an investigation with our bank. We will continue to liaise with our bank until the issue has been resolved and the beneficiary has received the funds, and we promise to keep you informed every step of the way.
What if I am unhappy with the service I receive from World First?
This is also very rare. Over 99% of clients we surveyed said they would use us again. We strive to ensure that every client receives the best possible service from us. However, if you are unhappy with any aspect of your transaction with us, please contact your dedicated dealer. This will always be investigated and you will receive a formal response. We appreciate all feedback, both positive and negative, as it will help us to tailor our services towards your requirements in the future.