B2B Payments

World First Lets Global SMEs Go Bankless


World First is launching a cross-border payments platform for SMEs.

The U.K. company said Tuesday (May 9) that it is rolling out its World Account solution, an international payments platform for B2B payments developed for smaller businesses. According to World First, the solution allows SMEs to go bankless and avoid the fees associated with traditional banking services.

World First claimed its World Account is a market first to provide SMEs with global banking capabilities typically seen only with larger firms. The platform supports outbound and inbound payments, the announcement said.

“We’re very excited to be launching our World Account, the first multi-currency international payments platform for businesses,” said World First cofounder and CEO Jonathan Quin in a statement. “Our research shows that over 1.5 million SMEs are trading more than £78 billion [about $1 trillion] a month across international borders. This is a significant contribution to the U.K. economy. It’s time that small and medium-sized businesses enjoyed the same products, price and service that was only previously available to big businesses.”

SMEs can open an account on World Account for free. It doesn’t charge fees and allows businesses to save money by reducing the number of FX transactions they need to conduct cross-border payments.

“Our World Account should solve what is a pain point for many ambitious businesses who buy or sell internationally enabling them to manage their international accounts in one single platform wherever and whenever they want,” continued Quin. “We think this will be the world’s most flexible financial platform to support a new era of international business.”

World First said the platform will launch in limited release throughout the summer and will be accompanied by a mobile app. More currencies and expanded functions will be added later in 2017, the firm said.

Research released by World First last year found most SMEs prefer to work with FinTechs, not traditional banks, to handle FX and cross-border payments needs.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.

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