How I used bitcoin to replace wire transfers and save money

I live in Berlin, and I need to send money to the US every month to make student loan payments. I am paid in euros, and my student loans must be paid in US dollars. Because of this I need some way to convert currencies and send money from Europe to the US.

The traditional way to do this is a wire transfer. That is very costly. My US bank, Chase, charges me $15 to receive a wire transfer. My bank in Berlin, Deutsche Bank, charges me 39€ ($48) to send one. Together that is $63 in fees.

Instead of wire transfers, I use bitcoin to send money. First, I use SEPA (the free system Europeans use to send each other money) to send euros to my bitstamp.net account. Once they arrive, I use all the money I sent to buy bitcoin. I then send the bitcoin to my Coinbase account. Once the bitcoin arrives, (which only takes a few minutes) I immediately sell the bitcoin and end up with US dollars in my Chase account.

Bitstamp charges a transaction fee of 0.5% to buy bitcoin. Coinbase charges 1% to sell. Together, that is 1.5% of the amount of money I’m sending. In my case, that is much less than the $63 it cost to send a wire transfer, and this method is saving me over $40 each month with no downsides.

If you were to send more than $4222, then paying $63 would be less than paying 1.5%. If you’re making regular wire transfers I strongly encourage you to use this method and save money.

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2 thoughts on “How I used bitcoin to replace wire transfers and save money

  1. Great tip. Between Bitcoin, Transferwise, and other services, the wire system and bank’s crazy exchange rates (even on “normal” pairings like USD/EUR) will be toast.

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