International money transfer security tips

International money transfer security tips and best practices

Secure your account from all attack routes and learn the best practices during international money transfers.

Want to keep your money safe? International money transfers, like all transfers, come with risk, which is why it’s crucial to learn the latest security best practices. Money lost to bank scams rose by 71% in 2021, to almost £2 million a day, and the impact on independent businesses can be catastrophic.

In this article, we’ll cover ways your account may be compromised, as well as simple steps you can take to prevent any security breaches. We’ll also touch on some of the technical security features that WorldFirst uses to keep your money safe in the background. 

Money transfer security best practices

Account breaches can generally be summed up in three ways:

  • Repeat passwords: If someone uses a password for one website, it’s likely they use it — or a version of it — on another one. Hackers can exploit this and gain access very easily.
  • Phishing attacks: Messages that contain a link to what appears to be the official website of a service you use. Hackers hope that you’ll enter your password in the fake site which they can use later.
  • Viruses and malware: Innocuous or background website downloads can sometimes be viruses or malware that silently log and send your online activity to hackers.

How can you protect yourself and your international money transfers?

Use strong, unique passwords every time

Make sure to use unique strong passwords on every account — especially on ones with payment information linked. You can use free online password services to help you generate new passwords and store log-in details.

Be careful who you’re in contact with

If you receive an email, text or phone call from someone you don’t already know, make sure to carefully consider whether the person on the other end is genuine. Hackers can string together a few pieces of information about you and unlock other areas of your business or personal life.

Alternatively, if you’re reaching out first and are using details they’ve sent you, make sure to enter everything correctly. For example, entering the wrong bank account information or email address can mean your payment or email will be sent to the wrong person. Read more on our Fraud FAQ page.

Use updated anti-virus software

Anti-virus software is one of the easiest ways you can stop account hacks before they happen. There are plenty of free and accessible options available — although, do you really want to scrimp on your security? 

Whatever you choose, make sure to update the software so the programme always knows what files to scan and delete without harming your computer.

Open a World Account for free

  • Open up to 10 local currency accounts, with local sort codes, account numbers and IBANs
  • Collect secure payments from 100+ marketplaces, overseas buyers and payment processing gateways
  • Pay suppliers, partners and staff in 40 currencies without hidden fees
  • Pay and get paid easily with local bank details on your invoices
  • Lock in conversion rates to manage your currency risk
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What does WorldFirst do to keep your international money transfers safe?

Money transfer security doesn’t stop there. WorldFirst implements a broad range of money transfer security measures to make sure your account is safe. Some of them include legal compliance measures (like holding enough capital to safeguard your account) and others include technical steps, such as: 

Two-factor authentication

WorldFirst offers two-factor authentication (sometimes displayed as 2FA) — one of the strongest ways you can protect your international money transfers. 2FA is a method of separating log-in information across different channels so only you — as the genuine account owner — can verify them both. For example, passwords and a thumbprint or face scan. 

When logging into WorldFirst, along with your typical log-in details, you’ll be asked to enter a code before you access your account via the Authy app or through an SMS. Learn more about 2FA on our PDS2 page.

Real-time fraud monitoring, blocking and alerts

WorldFirst has systems and analytics in place that constantly monitor fraudulent activity in real-time. 

This means that as fraudulent access is spotted (like log-in access from a country a user doesn’t live in), our software alerts and prompts users to enter 2FA codes. Without entering the code in time, the access or process will be blocked.

256-bit encryption

WorldFirst also uses 256-bit encryption on all platforms. 

This encryption standard refers to the length of the key used to access/encrypt a file. Hackers need over 2,000 different combinations to break any 256-bit encrypted message, which is nearly impossible — even with the fastest computers.

What should you do if you think you’ve been affected by a scam?

Money transfer security is complex and you can only do your best to protect yourself. But, what should you do if you think your account has been breached? 

Change your account password as quickly as possible. Doing so logs you out from all devices until the new password is re-entered. 

If you think you’ve sent a fraudulent payment, first, log the incident with your local crime authority as soon as you have reason to believe the payment is fraudulent. Then, make your account relationship manager aware as soon as possible, as this will offer a better chance of recovering funds.

Access secure, fast and cheap international transfers with WorldFirst

WorldFirst is an expert currency partner, with nearly 20 years of experience in facilitating international transfers, having transferred over £87 billion for more than 240,000 businesses.

With WorldFirst you can open one or multiple local currency accounts online for free, and make foreign exchange transactions in 68 currencies securely and at speed. 

Along with all the security features outlined above, you can also access fixed exchange rates for up to 24 months, Xero integration and a dedicated account manager for support with your transfers.


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