App review: World First

How did World First come to my attention?World First came to my attention when reviewing Azimo and Transferwise, another London-based money transfer service. A simple Google search to find Azimo and Transferwise competitors surfaced World First. I subsequently learnt that WorldFirst specialises in foreign exchange – the conversion of one country’s currency into another – whereas Azimo focuses on remittance, which is the transfer of money by a foreign worker to a person in his or her home country.

My quick summary of WorldFirst (before using it) – I expect a service that lets people transfer money at a cheaper rate and in an easier way compared to the mainstream banks.

How does WorldFirst explain itself in the first minute? – “Currency transfers aren’t just about money” is the main strap line on World First’s homepage. It says “We’re changing money” underneath the WorldFirst logo. I get the sense that World First’s mission is to transfer the way in which we transfer money. WorldFirst aims it services at consumers (“For You”), businesses (“For Your Business”) and people/businesses who sell online (“For Online Sellers”). It’s the latter category that I’m intrigued by, since you could argue that both consumers and businesses sell online.

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Getting started, what’s the process like (1)? – After clicking on the “Get started” button, I arrive on a landing page which shows me three signup options (see screenshot below). The page feels quite busy, and I’m wondering whether the copy on each of the grey tiles could be tightened up. For example, if I’m looking to sign up to WorldFirst for my business, the reasons why I should do so don’t feel entirely convincing. For example, “Award winning service”, “Industry leading foreign exchange solutions” and “Transparent and fair rates.” With some of these reasons I felt like “so what!?” and “what does this mean?” I believe that demonstrating tangible value at the earliest opportunity is paramount to successful customer onboarding.

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After lingering on the page for a mere few minutes a popup appears which urges me to leave a reason for not signing up. Whilst I fully understand the ratio behind this popup, I wonder why this message has to appear so quickly. It feels like I’m hardly getting the chance to make up my mind about signing up.

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Getting started, what’s the process like (2)? – I don’t want to leave the sign-in process, I want to sign up ‘for me.’ I like how WorldFirst makes it clear from the outset that the service is only for money transfers for an equivalent of £1,000 or more.

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The signup process feels pretty straightforward. I like that when I select countries to transfer money to, I’m being presented with suggested countries as soon as I start typing the first letters of a country.

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However, I’m slightly surprised to learn that the detail around “Where did you hear about us?” is a mandatory part of the onboarding process. I appreciate that onboarding with WorldFirst is likely to be more onerous than other products, because of the very nature of the service; it’s money, and it’s a service that’s heavily regulated. However, something has to give and I feel that detail about how I found out about WorldFirst shouldn’t be a mandatory field.

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I then get a notification to say that I’ve signed up successfully. The screen also tells about next steps that I could take: “Add payee details” and “View live rates and graphs” – followed by a call to action to go to my account:

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How does WorldFirst’s onboarding process compare to others? – Creating a free account on Skrill feels very simple at a first glance. Six steps to onboard successfully and a nice, clean interface – it should be a walk in the park, shouldn’t it!? Nope. Something seems to be the matter with my chosen password and I keep being pushed back to the first step without any guideance on the password error I need to correct.


Apart from introducing unnecessary friction, Skrill also doesn’t highlight the benefit of its service which I believe is one of the hallmarks of a successful onboarding flow. In contrast, competitors like Transferwise provide an onboarding experience that is both frictionless and clear about the value of its proposition.

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Payoneer, provides clear tooltips for each of the fields that I’ve got to enter when onboarding.

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It was interesting to see that creating a free account on Valuto’s iOS felt incredibly easy, but when I then logged into my account dashboard I still need to add additional information to be able to send or receive money.

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The onboarding flow that the Revolut iOS app uses feels the most intuitive and seamless. I feel that the app does a particularly good job in highlighting the benefits of its service, in a compelling but non intrusive way.



Did it deliver on my expectations? – Yes. Signing up with World First felt fairly seamless and intuitive. However, I can’t help myself in feeling that certain aspects could be simplified further. For example, I wasn’t entirely clear about the distinction between “For you”, “For your business” and “For online sellers.” Similar apps just distinguish between exchanging money for personal and business purposes. Equally, I feel that the benefits of using World First could be communicated better, especially given that the business already operates in a fairly crowded market.

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