Does Bitcoin work for international money transfers? | finder.com

Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

Using Bitcoin for international money transfers

Cryptocurrency could one day offer a simple, safe and affordable way to send money across international borders.

Updated

Fact checked

In September 2015, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac alongside Barclays, Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan participated in the international R3 project with a financial innovation company, Ripple Labs. The R3 project is focused on creating a distributed ledger technology that works much in the same way as the ‘blockchain’ structure on which all Bitcoin transactions are based. The aim of the project was to help the banks transfer funds to one another at a lower cost.

But what sort of impact will Bitcoin have on global finance and will it one day represent a safe and effective international transfer option? Let’s take a closer look.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency that was established in 2008. Commonly referred to as the currency of the Internet, it is based on a peer-to-peer network that allows users to pay others using a digital unit of exchange called Bitcoins. These Bitcoins are stored in the user’s digital wallet.

This alternative payment system removes the need for a centralized authority and instead uses a public ledger known as the ‘blockchain’. This contains all processed Bitcoin transactions and allows new transactions to be verified and a user’s wallet to calculate its spendable balance.

Just like any other currency, the value of Bitcoin is determined by supply and demand, and in its early years it has been known to fluctuate wildly in value. At the time of writing, 1 Bitcoin was worth $404. But if you wind back the clock just a little, after hovering around the $100 to $110 mark in September and October of 2013, by December the value of 1 Bitcoin had climbed above $995.

If you want more information on how and where you can buy Bitcoins, our handy guide has all the details you need.
Bitcoin mining: Can I make money doing it?

The impact of Bitcoin

In the early years of its existence, Bitcoin came in for criticism from several quarters due to a range of factors. In some cases, it has received bad press for making it possible for people to anonymously purchase illegal goods online. Its volatility, as demonstrated above, has also been criticized, while others have pointed to the lack of regulation of Bitcoin as grounds for concern. It could lead to money laundering and even the financing of terrorism.

Every new technology is bound to attract its share of criticism. Despite its detractors, Bitcoin does have many potential benefits for a range of people. It has been lauded by international migrants from companies such as the Philippines and India because it offers an affordable way to send money home to their families while working overseas.

Bitcoin’s benefits include low transfer fees, protection against identity theft and the control they allow users to have over their own money.
Bitcoin vs. PayPal

Compare Bitcoin marketplaces

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Cryptocurrencies
Gemini Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH)
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SGD, HKD

26
cryptocurrencies

Trade bitcoin, Ethereum and more at a US-based exchange where payments can be made in USD.
Coinbase Digital Currency Exchange
Bank transfer (ACH), Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer (SEPA), Wire transfer
USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, MXN, HRK, CZK, DKK, CLP, BGN & 10+ more

43
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell major cryptocurrencies on one of the world's most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges.
Crypto.com App
Credit card, Cryptocurrency, PayPal, TransferWise, SEPA
USD, AUD, CAD, CHF, EUR, GBP, NZD, SGD, JPY, ZAR & 9+ more

67
cryptocurrencies

Finder Exclusive: Get 0% fees on credit/debit card purchases for 30 days after signup.
Buy 80+ cryptocurrencies, earn up to 8% p.a. on holdings, pay with your crypto for cashback at stores, get loans and more with this complete crypto-finance platform.
KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency, Interac e-Transfer, PayPal, Wire transfer, Credit or Debit Card
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB, CNY, AUD, KRW, JPY, TRY, VND & 40+ more

211
cryptocurrencies

Finder Exclusive: Get up to 10 USDT in trading fee rebates for signing up and making a deposit, and up to 30 USDT in trading fee rebates after buying with fiat. T&Cs apply.
Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
CEX.IO Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Credit card, Cryptocurrency, SWIFT, SEPA, Faster Payments (FPS)
USD, EUR, GBP, RUB

22
cryptocurrencies

Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Use your USD, EUR or RUB to buy and sell cryptocurrency at competitive exchange rates and with high maximums for verified accounts.
Coinmama Cryptocurrency Marketplace
Bank transfer, Credit card, Debit card, SWIFT, SEPA
USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, GBP, JPY

10
cryptocurrencies

Founded in 2013, CoinMama lets you buy and sell popular cryptos with a range of payment options and quick delivery.
Paxful P2P Cryptocurrency Marketplace
Bank transfer, Cash, Cryptocurrency, PayPal, Credit or Debit Card, Payoneer
DZD, XCD, ARS, AMD, AWG, AUD, AZN, BSD, BHD, BDT & 140+ more

2
cryptocurrencies

Connect with bitcoin buyers and sellers through this peer-to-peer marketplace that accepts cash, credit and more than 300 other payment methods.
Revolut Cryptocurrency App
Revolut Cryptocurrency App
Bank transfer (ACH), Bank transfer (SEPA), SWIFT, Credit or Debit Card
USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, NZD, JPY, HKD, NOK, DKK & 9 more

4
cryptocurrencies

Buy and sell several popular cryptocurrencies through your Revolut account, set up recurring purchases and transfer it to other US users. You can’t transfer cryptocurrency to anyone who does not have an active Revolut account. Service not available in Tennessee.
Robinhood Cryptocurrency Exchange
Robinhood Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cash, Debit card
USD

17
cryptocurrencies

Trade a handful of leading cryptocurrencies with this easy to use mobile app.
Kraken Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer, Cryptocurrency, SWIFT, Wire transfer, Osko, SEPA
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD, CHF, AUD

56
cryptocurrencies

Buy, sell and trade a range of digital currencies on this high-liquidity exchange – suitable for beginners right through to advanced traders.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

What types of transfers can you carry out with bitcoin?

Could bitcoin soon offer a safer and more effective way to transfer money around the world?

The involvement of Commonwealth Bank and Westpac in the R3 project shows that the banks are aware that Bitcoin offers plenty of potential benefits for digital commerce. “The development of the blockchain will certainly have a very interesting and potentially disruptive impact on financial services,” Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer said at the time.

There are also hundreds of other open-source blockchain experiments underway around the world, as financial institutions search for ways to streamline and simplify payments infrastructure. With lower fees on overseas transfers, fast processing of transactions and the ability to cut out the middle man, Bitcoin represents an exciting opportunity for international money transfers.

However, any transition to Bitcoin payments among banks and other established financial institutions is likely to be a slow one. Not only is much of the technology still in development, but regulators around the world are still catching up with the many implications of digital currencies. As research such as the R3 project continues around the world, finding a way to transform the international money transfer market is going to take some time – but the interest shown by large global banks indicates the possibilities.

In the meantime, the way we send money overseas will remain the same. While there is the option of sending a telegraphic transfer via your bank, specialist online money transfer companies still offer a cost-effective solution. It offers better exchange rates and charge minimal transaction fees compared to the banks, so it’s definitely worth considering when you need to send money abroad.
Predicting bitcoin’s future value and exchange rates

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

6 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    KingMykeSeptember 21, 2018

    Please how can I make a swift bank deposit or wire transfer to someone’s bitcoin wallet ?

      Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloSeptember 21, 2018

      Hi there,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      You cannot transfer dollars from a bank account directly into a bitcoin wallet.

      You’ll need to sign up with a bitcoin exchange service, there are many in existence. Once you have an account with one of them, you can transfer dollars to the exchange’s bank account, and then your user account will be credited. Next, you will be able to purchase bitcoins at the current market rate through the exchange.

      After that, you can withdraw your bitcoins to a bitcoin wallet you control.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else. :)

      Cheers,
      Joel

    Default Gravatar
    KunleSeptember 17, 2018

    I have a crpto currency company ,where i do buy and sell of bitcoin ,i want to partner with companies that can be selling btcoin to me on discount

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaSeptember 18, 2018Staff

      Hi Kunle,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      We currently don’t have a list of crypto companies that might be interested in doing business with you. However, you might want to start your search from looking at our list of exchanges. It’s a good place to start your search.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

    Default Gravatar
    gloryOctober 4, 2017

    I want to transfer money from south Africa to US using bitcoin so I want to know the starting point ?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JudithOctober 4, 2017Staff

      Hi Glory,

      Thanks for contacting finder, a comparison website and general information service.

      You may send bitcoin worldwide through a wallet-to-wallet transfer. The recipient of the sent bitcoins would also need to have an active bitcoin wallet to be able to receive the sent bitcoin.

      I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Judith

Go to site