WorldFirst Podcast

Saving Money on Cross Border Trade with World First

In this podcast we are joined by Jason who is the Global Head of eCommerce at WorldFirst and together we look at what World First does and how using them can potentially save you thousands in currency conversions.

We start off by hearing from Jason briefly about how he got started at World First and then we move on to look at World First in more detail.

Before we started recording, Matt absolutely hammered Jason with questions around the numbers and during this Podcast Matt asks all the “dumb questions” so you don’t have to.

Press Play below and listen in right now:


The Topics Covered

  • Introductions to Jason Brankin
  • Introductions to World First
  • What World First can do for eCommerce Businesses selling internationally
  • It’s all about the percentages!
  • The countries that World First can set you up bank accounts in
  • The costs of World First ( this is Great News )

Instead of paying over the odds on your currency conversions World First will secure you a better exchange rate which basically results in more pounds, dollars or euro’s in your bank account.

The maths are very straightforward, let’s say PayPal charge you ~4% on the conversion between Euros to Pounds, Worldfirst charge you ~2%. That means you save ~2% on your currency conversions.

This may not sound like a lot, but using the examples in the Podcast, you can be looking to save £30 for the conversion between Euro’s to Pounds ( that’s a meal out with the wife! ) for 2000€ and for a conversion of 200,000€ to Pounds sterling, this could be something like £3000 saved.

Now we are certainly no currency experts here at UnderstandingE but as you can tell in the Podcast above, this is exactly what World First are experts in.

They keep their eye on the market fluctuations all day and can also advise you on the best time to switch your money over resulting in the best result for your Bank balance.

Another thing that we picked up upon is that WorldFirst can create you a bank account in the local currency, this is helpful when starting out selling aboard as say with Amazon for example, you may need this local bank account to get started there.

Your Feedback?

Many thanks to Jason for taking the time to share with us a really interesting insight to how you can save money in your business by using World First to convert your currencies rather than the likes of your bank account or Paypal.

If you have any questions for Jason or about World First you can get in touch with them by using the links below.  Don’t forget to let them know that you have come from UnderstandingE and listened to the Podcast.

After listening to this Podcast, if you find yourself with any questions or feedback, then use the comments box below  to get in touch, we’d love to hear from you. Matt, Dave (& special guest Jason)

6 replies
  1. Guy.stewart
    Guy.stewart says:

    We had the same issue with PayPal.

    We accept AUD dollars, US Dollars, GB Pounds and Euros; however, we are based in the UK and PayPal won’t let us transfer our US Dollars (or any other foreign) into a non-GBP account unless we open a PayPal account with an address in the particular country which has the currency we want to transfer the funds into.

    Personally, I think PayPal just want to squeeze us a little more on the currency transfers, which is why the don’t let you.

  2. Jim @ Moogento
    Jim @ Moogento says:

    I’ve been using WorldFirst for about 5 years, and I found them to be pretty easy. But – their backend is hard to see what has been paid, and where from (you need multiple clicks to see the makeup of each transfer etc). In fact the whole system is difficult to work out what rates are being charged. You get an email before a trade happens with a rate, etc, but it doesn’t show what makes up the contents of that transfer, which means that you are trusting them to transfer all money paid to them.

    Normally I wouldn’t have an issue with that, but recently had an email from them where they apologised for a recent rate mismatch and said it was being covered by not being charged fees for the next transaction.

    I checked out the rate and the difference was about $500.

    This made me confused as the whole WorldFirst selling proposition is that they are cheaper than banks – who normally do a 2.5% spread. I hadn’t done enough trade to make up $500 @ 1-1.5% (the figure that was mooted on their website). Looking through it, the amount charged in transaction fees was about half the $500. So they were going to keep $250. I queried this and they said they would not charge commission on the next 2 transactions now. So they needed calling out, and for me to specifically check the numbers. Worrying.

    So then I checked the spread. They informed me this was set at 2.5% on my account, and without further questioning reduced that to 1.5%.

    This just seems sneaky. With financial companies you need to trust them 100%, as a % here is off the top of all revenue and will account for a multiple as profit/loss. Their marketing mentioned specifically 1-1.5%, but here I am having been charged 2.5% spread (and a spread is difficult to work out – you have to find the interbank rate, and then go backwards for the amount charged/transfered).

    I queried them on this and this was the reply:

    The advertisement about our rates being better than a bank is for individual and corporate clients who make international payments. However, for ecommerce clients like yourself, it is normal that the spreads range from 1.00% – 2.50%

    This is not very clear, and although the website doesn’t seem to show this now, it did used to have a calculator which showed how much you’d save vs a traditional bank (with no clause saying this wasn’t for transfers originating from ecommerce).

    At 2.5% this is the same as Paypal, and more than most banks. Shifting to WF from Paypal I think lost me my Paypal account manager, as I wasn’t providing Paypal with as much profit. So there was a cost to this.

    Just a ‘fyi’ – so I would double-check your World First transactions, maybe a good job for a va, and also check with them what spread you are on. It sounds like this is negotiable, and if it is 2.5% I would consider other transfer companies.

  3. Brian Barlow
    Brian Barlow says:

    I think this company is not geared towards USA sellers. I setup the World First account but could not link it to my Paypal account since it is USA based. The customer service rep told me Amazon makes it easy to link to foreign bank accounts but not Paypal (eBay).

    Here was the response from my Paypal rep:

    Any bank account that you link to your PayPal account has to be in the same country as your home mailing address. Because your PayPal account has a U.S. mailing address, you can only add a bank account from a bank located in the U.S. If you have a physical presence or address in the UK, you could set up a UK PayPal account and you would be able to add the UK bank account to that account.

    So it sounds like it IS possible, but not done easily.


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