There is little to say when it comes to WorldFirst vs Wise in terms of credibility. Both of these companies are headquartered in the UK, licensed by the FCA as electronic money providers, and have demonstrated over the last decade that they are extremely safe to use. On top of this, they both have very good ratings on TrustPilot as well as on other review platforms we could find online. One thing worth highlighting is that, given the sheer size of Wise, they have amassed over 150,000 reviews on TrustPilot (rated 4.6/5), almost 100x the 1,900 acquired by WorldFirst (rated 4.5/5). WorldFirst did however amass over 10,000 reviews on the review platform Feefo before they transitioned to the even more popular TrustPilot.
WorldFirst was co-founded in 2004 by two former Citibank employees in the basement of a London house. To this day WorldFirst remains a private company but it was sold to Alipay in 2019. Meaning it’s now part of the Chinese conglomerate Ant Group (owner of Alibaba).
Wise was co-founded in 2011 by two Estonian friends in London. The firm went public in 2021 and is now listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Both companies are now global and offer multiple website translations, in languages such as French, Chinese, Australian, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese.
Another key similarity of WorldFirst and Wise, which helps to differentiate them from banks, is that they both specialise in money transfers overseas. Banks offer a wide-range of financial services but these firms focus only on international payments. You can get much better rates using these companies, plus you get an exceptional level of service and security, as both of them are ASIC and FCA compliant.
While both of these services give you the option to easily send money or receive money online, Wise does not provide telephone trading or hedging guidance. This lack of sophistication may put off individuals or businesses trading large volumes but for small transfers, such as monthly salary repatriation, the online functionality is usually more than sufficient. And by having a totally digital focus, it does mean the Wise app and Wise online platform is more user-friendly than that supplied by WorldFirst. This service by Wise also allows you to sign up for a multi-currency account for free, so you can send and receive funds across the world at the real exchange rate, plus a small variable fee usually around 0.5%
It’s also free to register and open accounts with WorldFirst.. WorldFirst offers superior customer support and account management.
When it comes to customer service, this one has to easily go to WorldFirst in our WorldFirst vs Wise comparison. Customers can easily contact WorldFirst by phone and speak to their own dedicated account manager. This account manager may assist customers by designing a bespoke currency strategy which can help to protect against exchange rate risk and the trials and tribulations that come with trading internationally. On top of digital currency accounts, customers can set rate alerts, place market orders and book forward contracts. .
Conversely, Wise is very good at hiding their contact information. It’s hard to find their phone number online and when you do speak to a member of staff they aren’t able to provide any specific currency advice. They can help you with troubleshooting problems to use the online platform, but cannot provide any guidance on the currency markets and movement in currency rates. The live chat feature is helpful and gets most issues resolved.
When using a money transfer service to send money from one continent to the other, the global reach is a key factor in making the right choice. Both companies allow users to transfer money to and from many countries of the world, funding the trade via either your WF/Wise account balance, a bank transfer or debit card. In addition to making online payments, Wise provides customers with a corresponding debit card so they can spend from their account balances around the world, wherever mastercard/visa is accepted.
WorldFirst is available to customers in the UK, Europe, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and China. Wise is available to customers in the UK, Europe, Canada, US, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Wise covers the Americas, whereas WorldFirst is the better choice for businesses trading with China.
Firstly, both providers charge a percentage-based fee. With WorldFirst this is taken as a spread, i.e. off the interbank rate. With Wise, they provide the interbank rate but then charge a ‘variable fee’. With WorldFirst the spread will be anywhere up to 0.75% away from the interbank rate, depending on how much is transferred. With Wise the variable fee is around 0.5%. On Wise’s homepage, it’s easy to calculate how much you’ll pay for any type of transfer. With WorldFirst it’s a little less transparent – confirm the fees with your account manager ahead of booking any trades.
On top of the percentage-based fee (which is where most costs are incurred) customers will also be charged a small fixed payment fee. Wise charges a negligible 0.66 AUD fixed fee, whereas WorldFirst will confirm payment fees for its business customers depending on the amount of payments they send.
Although both of these companies are highly experienced, there is no doubt that WorldFirst’s 18 years on the market beats the 11 years Wise has. WorldFirst has managed to serve over 400,000 global customers and around 150,000 businesses, enabling more than 1 million transfers each year.
Our WorldFirst vs Wise comparison demonstrates that both firms have their own strengths and weaknesses. If you’re seeking a slick, online offering then Wise is likely going to be your best choice. If you’re looking for the overall best money transfer company, one that offers a bespoke service and can formulate currency hedging strategies to manage exchange rate risk, then WorldFirst is a better option.
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