Currency conversion company WorldFirst have been testing an innovative new service with their customers since May this year: the World Account.
Now it’s available to all online sellers in the UK and the EEA (European Economic Area). Businesses in the USA and worldwide can register their interest to get a World Account when they launch globally.
For years, sellers have been using WorldFirst’s receiving accounts to bring funds home from international marketplaces. But online selling has evolved, and sellers need more than just an account to collect their payments. They need to pay suppliers, settle VAT liabilities, transfer between currencies, and manage their accounts on the move.
That’s where the World Account comes in. It’s a big leap forward in currency services for online sellers.
What is the World Account?
It’s a service, provided by WorldFirst, designed to help businesses trade internationally. WorldFirst specialize in currency exchange services for businesses and individuals, and have been working with online sellers for 11 years.
The World Account allows online sellers and other businesses to receive funds from a range of sources, including cross-border sales, make international and local payments, and hold balances in different currencies. Sellers can also can pay suppliers directly, and transfer instantly between currency balances. This is a big step up from a receiving account, which is solely for repatriating funds.
Opening traditional overseas bank accounts tends to be a long, drawn out process and they tend to have lots of restrictions. The World Account is a faster, cheaper and easier alternative. There’s a quick and simple signup process which provides instant access to accounts, for business purposes, in multiple currencies with no monthly fee to operate them.
How does it benefit sellers?
One of the biggest benefits to sellers is that they can pay suppliers, or their international VAT liabilities, straight from an account balance in a foreign currency. This cuts out unnecessary conversions, which will come as a relief to sellers, as in the past they had to convert funds into their home currency, just to convert them back again to pay an overseas supplier in the same currency that they started with.
Moving money between your different currency balances is also possible. With a World Account, if you want to pay a UK supplier but only have funds in USD, you can simply take, for example, $10,000 from your USD balance and transfer it into your GBP balance. The currency exchange will be made instantly, so you can proceed with the supplier payment, or just hold the funds in your account.
A further benefit is that sellers can receive payments from any business, not just marketplaces and payment gateways. They can also receive payments from individuals, as long as it is a business transaction. This is useful for sellers who wholesale internationally, or have a side business with overseas customers, as they can use their World Account to receive direct payments from other businesses or individuals.
The World Account can be accessed through a web browser or via a new mobile app. The app has all the key functions of the World Account browser interface, and gives sellers the flexibility to check balances and transfer funds between accounts on the move.
Do I still need a receiving account?
A World Account has all the benefits of a receiving account, so there’s no need for both.
World Accounts are now fully launched for UK and EEA businesses who join WorldFirst as new customers. In the coming weeks, existing customers will receive an email, and see a banner when they log into their account, letting them know they are now able to upgrade.
Businesses in the USA and other countries outside the EEA can pre-register to be the first to get a World Account when they are launched in their country. In the meantime, they can register for a receiving account, which have two important benefits:
- A better exchange rate when transferring international sales proceeds back home, compared to Amazon or PayPal, for example. You simply get more cash back in your home account, for very minimal effort.
- Meeting marketplace requirements for a local bank account to receive payment.
Who can open a World Account?
Initially the World Account is only available to WorldFirst customers in the UK and European Economic Area (EEA) but will be extended to the USA and other regions in the future. The accounts will hold EUR, USD, CAD and GBP to start with, but more currencies, including JPY, AUD, SGD, NZD and HKD, will be supported over the coming months.
Sellers in non-EEA countries, including the USA, can register their interest in a World Account, and will receive an email notification when it is available in their region.
Is my money safe?
When you open a World Account, your money is held in client trust accounts. This money is held by some of the world’s largest international banks, not WorldFirst directly, and is completely segregated from the company’s funds.
Account security is a priority for WorldFirst, and they follow the highest standards to keep accounts safe both from economic disruption and cybercrime.
How do I sign up for a World Account?
World Accounts are being rolled out to existing customers in batches. If you are an existing customer, you can login to WorldFirst and look out for a banner prompting you to upgrade to the World Account. Also look out for an email notifying you that your account is ready to upgrade.
When you upgrade to a World Account, you will need to provide the following information:
- Where you expect to receive money from (marketplaces, your bank account or another source)
- Which marketplaces or websites you sell through, and the corresponding URLs
- Which countries you will be making payments to
You will also need to provide your mobile number, and accept the new terms and conditions that cover World Accounts.
Brand new customers can sign up on WorldFirst’s website. In this case, you will need to provide your personal and company details, proof of your company address, and your account requirements.
Once all your information has been verified, you can open accounts in multiple currencies immediately, and start using your World Account.
This post was sponsored by WorldFirst.