There are a number of different money transfer companies out there who can help you send money home.
However, they all have varying costs, features and level of service.
It can be difficult to pin your choice down to one company.
A top contender is WorldRemit, an industry leader of remittance services.
I’ve taken a closer look at WorldRemit and tested their service, detailing my findings in this review.
I’ll discuss how safe they are, how much they cost, what their customer reviews are saying and their features / payout options.
Finally, I’ll tell you when WorldRemit is the company for you, when they aren’t, and any alternatives that might be better suited.
What is WorldRemit?
WorldRemit is an international money transfer and remittance service.
The firm was founded in 2010 by entrepreneurs Ismail Ahmed, Catherine Wines and Richard Igoe.
WorldRemit focuses on the customers who require small, frequent payments to exotic countries.
This is mainly expats and travellers who need to send money home, or have family abroad.
They mostly send to countries that other providers will not.
Although they don’t provide ‘business accounts’, you can still use them to send payments for your business.
WorldRemit has received a number of investments over the last decade, totalling over $300m.
Investors include early-stage venture capital firms:
- Accel Partners
- Technology Crossover Ventures
- Leapfrog Investments
In 2021, WorldRemit Group acquired Sendwave, another cross-border payment provider.
- FX spread is larger than most
- They charge a transfer fee
- Not as highly rated overall compared to others
Is WorldRemit safe to use?
WorldRemit is a very safe, highly regulated company.
They’ve transferred $10 billion for over 4 million customers in 2022.
However, there are indicators that WorldRemit might not be as sustainable as once thought.
I’ll explain all below.
I’ve scored WorldRemit a 4.2/5 for safety.
Is WorldRemit legit?
WorldRemit is authorised and regulated in the following countries:
In the UK, WorldRemit is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
This gives the same level of protection, for you, as using a high-street bank.
It’s the highest level of protection.
Getting regulated by the FCA is not easy.
You have to prove that you’re secure and safe with people's money, over a lengthy period of time.
WorldRemit has done this in 6 different countries.
I’ll talk about how this regulation affects you below.
Is your money safe with WorldRemit?
As a regulated company, WorldRemit is required to separate client money from their own.
These separate accounts are what is called ‘ring-fenced and safeguarded’.
This means that the money in the accounts can’t be invested, earn interest (or accrue negative interest) or used to pay debts.
Typically, when a company becomes insolvent, any money available will be used to wind up the company.
With any regulated money transfer provider like WorldRemit, this isn’t the case.
All money belonging to clients is returned, in full.
In essence, it only entitles their customers to up to £85k of the bank goes under.
If your balance is over £85k, you’ll lose the rest.
Therefore, WorldRemit is arguably safer to use than your bank.
Is WorldRemit trustworthy?
WorldRemit has gathered 10s of thousands of customer reviews on Trustpilot.
However, their rating isn’t the best.
While they have the regulations and safeguarded accounts, there are customer comments questioning the reliability and speed of their services.
I’ve written a section on their Trustpilot page here.
Taking a look at their company accounts, they are making huge losses.
£95.4 million to be exact.
This is despite a revenue figure of around £150 million.
They’ve got some big investors, so they can take the hit…
However, with new competitors coming in every year and their Trustpilot rating taking a hit, is it sustainable?
As far as trustworthiness goes, there are companies out there in better financial positions.
WorldRemit exchange rates
WorldRemit, alongside most other remittance services, offer good (but not the best) exchange rates.
They’ll nearly always beat your bank, but there are other providers out there who can give better rates.
WorldRemit’s exchange rates get better or worse depending on a few things:
- Currency pair
- Destination country
- Payout method
- Transfer volume
I’ve found that the less exotic the currency and country, the better the rate you’ll get.
You’ll also get improved rates for larger amounts and cash pickups.
When I say “improved” rates, I mean WorldRemit applying less of a spread (or ‘margin’) to the mid-market rate.
The ‘spread’, or ‘margin’ is the difference between the rate the provider receives when buying the currency, and the rate they give to you when they sell. In other words, it’s the profit they make on the transaction.
So, it’s hard for me to pin down an exact percentage markup.
However, I’ve found WorldRemit to be between 1.5% and 2% away from the mid-market rate.
They also charge transfer fees, as I’ll get into below.
WorldRemit transfer fees
WorldRemit charges varying transfer fees, ranging from 99p to £2.99.
Here’s a quick table with some examples:
It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it can add up if you’re making regular transfers.
Again, the price of the fee varies depending on the currencies and payout method.
A good thing about their fee structure is that it’s a flat fee, not a percentage.
You’ll pay the same fee for a £1,000 transfer to India as you would for a £100 transfer.
This is in comparison to Wise, where you’ll pay between 0.3% and 0.45% of your transfer volume.
For smaller amounts, you’ll pay less of a fee with Wise. And vice-versa with WorldRemit.
The crux here is that Wise doesn’t mark up their exchange rates, but WorldRemit does.
So even if you are charged a larger fee by Wise, they might still be cheaper overall.
After looking at their rates and fees, I have scored WorldRemit a 3.3/5 for cost.
WorldRemit’s Trustpilot page has nearly 70k reviews, with an average rating of 3.9/5.
As I previously mentioned, this isn’t the best rating.
I also had to scroll past 20 reviews to find one that was above 3 stars.
Most were 1 stars or 2 stars before I read my first 5 star review.
When I first reviewed WorldRemit in early 2022, they had a 4.1 rating.
So we can assume that their level of service has been slowly declining.
This has led me to score WorldRemit a 3.9/5 for customer satisfaction.
WorldRemit positive reviews
Here are some nice things that customers had to say about WorldRemit:
- Recovered ‘stuck’ funds and communicated the situation well
- Money transfers are secure and quick
- Better rates than Remitly, HSBC and Wise
- App is easy to navigate
Overall, there are positive comments about the entire service.
It’s good to see that some customers had helpful support from WorldRemit when their funds got stuck or lost.
One thing I stand by is that you should use a currency broker for large transfers, simply for this reason.
You’ll receive 5-star service when it comes to transfer issues.
With large amounts, any kind of issue can be very scary and stressful.
So, it’s good to see that WorldRemit was helpful in this regard.
However, as you’ll read next, not all customers had the same service.
WorldRemit negative reviews
Here are some not-so-nice things that people had to say about WorldRemit:
- Poor communication regarding lost funds
- Not meeting expected transfer times
- Documentation requested and not processed in a timely manner
- Accounts closed for no reason
Unfortunately, not everyone receives the same quality of service.
Sometimes you’ll be over the moon, sometimes heavily disappointed.
But this is the same with any company.
It seems that some customers were on the bad side of WorldRemit’s customer service.
Not replying to emails or calling back, and referring people to their FAQ section even in emergency situations.
Regarding points 3 and 4, these are compliance related and often unavoidable.
WorldRemit is authorised and regulated in 6 countries, and has a duty to prevent money laundering and illegal activities.
This might mean requesting additional documents to prove the legitimacy of the funds, or just straight up closing an account.
WorldRemit service, features and availability
WorldRemit offers a variety of different payout methods.
They also provide a heavily reviewed and popular mobile app.
Not only have they got the tech nailed down, their customer support is popular too.
It’s very easy to navigate their site and app to find the phone numbers and FAQs.
In comparison to other remittance companies, WorldRemit gets their customer service (mostly) right.
I’ve scored WorldRemit a 3.2/5 for service, features and availability.
WorldRemit mobile app
WorldRemit’s mobile app has over 310k ratings across the App Store and Google Play Store.
They’ve managed to maintain a solid rating of 4.8/5 and 4.7/5 respectively.
Their customers love it.
Here’s what you can do on the WorldRemit app:
- Exchange rate alerts
- Add and manage recipients
- Make transfers
- Track transfers
There’s nothing you can’t do on the app that you can on their website.
Overall, WorldRemit’s mobile app is one of the most popular in the world.
WorldRemit delivery methods
WorldRemit has 4 different delivery methods:
- Bank transfer
- Cash pickup
- Mobile money
- Airtime top up
Not all methods are available for all countries and currencies.
Let’s have a look at each method and how they work.
Choosing this method will result in the funds being deposited directly into the recipient's bank account.
They are then free to withdraw it as cash, make payments or bank transfers.
The bank transfer method isn’t available for the more exotic currencies and countries.
This method allows the recipient to pick up the currency in cash, from one of WorldRemit’s partner locations.
Usually, the funds can be picked up instantly after the transaction is completed.
Cash pickup is popular amongst the African currencies.
You can send money to a mobile money wallet using WorldRemit.
Although not a popular type of account in Europe, over half of their transfers go to Mobile Money accounts.
These are mostly in Africa and Asia.
Airtime top up
Airtime top up is essentially ‘credit’ for telephone use (calls, texts, data etc.).
Using WorldRemit, you can top up someone's phone, whether it be yours, family or a friend.
This is done through WorldRemit's select Airtime partners.
WorldRemit customer service
WorldRemit’s customer service is often praised by their customers.
It’s really easy to find their phone numbers:
- Scroll to the bottom of any page on the WorldRemit website
- Click on ‘Contact us’
On this page, you can find WorldRemit’s phone number for your region.
If you’ve got a simple question, you can check out their FAQs section instead.
You can also go on the page to submit documents.
Customers have written positive reviews about their low hold times and helpful staff.
1. Check WorldRemit’s rates compared to competitors
You can use TopMoneyCompare’s comparison engine to check out how WorldRemit’s rates stack up against their competitors.
You can see the amount and rate you'll receive, transfer fees, and speed.
This way, you can get a clear picture of how they compare and decide if WorldRemit is the right option for you.
2. Sign up for an account with WorldRemit
To use WorldRemit for your international transfer, you'll need to sign up.
Click here to sign up for a WorldRemit account (opens in a new tab).
Create your login details and click ‘Continue’.
Then fill out the details about yourself and your requirements.
Keep in mind that additional checks may be required if your details can't be verified.
This might include sending them some documents to prove that it’s really you.
This could be a drivers’ licence or passport, and a utility bill or bank statement.
3. Initiate a transfer
Once your account is open, you can log in to the platform or mobile app and make your transfer.
First, choose your destination country.
Then enter in your amount, check the rate and fees, delivery method and transfer speed, and click continue.
4. Add your recipient details
The next step is to add the details of where you want your converted funds transferred to.
The information you’ll need will depend on the receiving country and delivery method.
You’ll nearly always need the recipient's name and address.
If you choose the bank transfer method, here’s an idea of what you might need:
- Europe - IBAN
- USA - account number and routing number
- Most African & Asian countries - account number and BIC
Other countries might require different details.
If you choose mobile money or airtime top up, you will need the recipient’s phone number.
For cash delivery, you’ll need the recipient’s name, and they will need to bring some ID to the pickup location.
If in doubt, call customer support. They’ll know what you need
5. Confirm and pay for your transfer
Once you’ve checked the details and confirmed the transfer, it’s time to pay for it using your preferred method.
If you opted for the debit card option, they’ll take the money from your card and make the transfer instantly.
If you went for the slightly cheaper bank transfer, you must now transfer your funds to the details provided by WorldRemit.
You can do this via online banking, mobile banking, telephone banking or go into a branch.
When WorldRemit receives your money, they’ll then make the transfer.
You can then track your transfer via the platform or app.
My verdict: Is WorldRemit for you?
WorldRemit is one of the top remittance companies, helping millions of people send money home.
They’re safe to use, have a great mobile app and provide a number of payout methods.
However, there are some scenarios where you should look at using another company instead.
Here’s some examples of when WorldRemit is good for you, when they aren’t, and some alternatives.
When WorldRemit works
Here’s when using WorldRemit is a good idea:
- You’re sending money to an exotic country
- You require cash pickup, mobile money or airtime top up
- You’re transferring under £25,000 (or equivalent)
An exotic country is a country that isn’t a 1st world country, or has a thinly traded currency.
When WorldRemit doesn’t work
Here’s when WorldRemit isn’t for you:
- You’re transferring over £25,000 (or equivalent)
- You want the best possible exchange rate
- You’re transferring money through a common corridor
When I say common corridor, I mean from one common country to another.
They often don’t support these kinds of transactions.
If you are transferring over £25k, I recommend using a currency broker instead.
You’ll receive personalised 1-on-1 service from an account manager to guide you through your transaction.
When transferring large amounts, problems are the last thing that you need.
The peace of mind you receive when you have an expert helping you is valuable.
Not only that, you’ll get a better rate too.
Bear in mind that there are some countries they won’t send to, so make sure to check.
If you are looking to make a transfer through WorldRemit but want the best rate possible, then you’ll want to look elsewhere.
WorldRemit’s rates are OK, but not the best.
My recommendation is Atlantic Money.
They provide mid-market rates with a flat £3 fee.
However, their currencies and payout options are limited, so they might not be suitable for you.
If you’re transferring money through a more common corridor (not an exotic country), and you only require a bank transfer, then there isn’t much point in using WorldRemit.
You may as well go with a cheaper provider.
You can open a multi-currency wallet with Wise, or check out XE’s popular conversion and chart tools.