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.