Transferwise vs bank transfer vs ATM withdrawal vs Bitcoin

As I recently moved to Australia I needed to transfer my savings from Norway here.  In the modern times, year 2016, there are some alternatives to the conventional services offered by the international banksters. Two of them would be Transferwise and Bitcoin. Without further talk, say hello to my little experiment…

Bank vs Transferwise

Brick’n mortar bank transfer

8.1.2016 Transferred 1000 AUD to Australian bank account. 6264.30 NOK was deducted from my Norwegian account. Transfer fees I set to “receiver pays all” as cheekily I thought I’d avoid the fees this way. My Australian bank had said there is no fee in incoming foreign transactions.

11.1.2016 Still no money on my Australian bank account

12.1.2016 961.59 AUD received on my Australian account. Fee turned out to be 38.41 AUD.

Total exchange rate incl. fees is then 6.5145.

Transferwise transfer

8.1.2016 Logged on to Transferwise, made 1000 AUD transaction. Logged on to my Norwegian bank to pay 6518.68 NOK to Transferwise Norway.

11.1.2016 1000 AUD received on my Australian bank account.

12.1.2016 205.39 NOK refunded to my Norwegian account. Transferwise says fee was 43.99 NOK.

Total exchange rate incl. fees is then 6.3123

ATM Withdrawal

4.1.2016 Withdrew 200 AUD from Australian ATM with my Norwegian card. Together with $3 transaction fee it cost me 1331.24 NOK.

Total exchange rate incl. fees is then 6.6562

Now extrapolating the same exchange rate for 1000 AUD, then adding $3 fee, the exchange rate is 6.5775


From cheapest to most expensive, here are the rates.

  • Transferwise: 6.3123
  • Bank transfer: 6.5145 (+3.1% ≅ +31 AUD)
  • ATM withdrawal: 6.5775 (+4.0% ≅ +40 AUD)
  • ATM withdrawal for only 200 AUD: 6.6562 (+5.2%)

The winner is Transferwise. Use my affiliate link to sign up now and get your first transfer up to £500 for free. When you do transfer it might pay off to observe the exchange rate for a few days to snag the better rates.

You might be interested in a very thorough review of Transferwise on

Historical daily rates

8.1.2016 AUD/NOK 6.2110

11.1.2016 AUD/NOK 6.2333

12.1.2016 AUD/NOK 6.23491 – Transferwise quotes 6.2803 incl. fees

AUD-NOK 1 year (c)

AUD-NOK 1 year (c)


One year before emigrating to Australia, I was here on holiday. I then made similar experiment but with bitcoin.

On 25.11.2014 I bought 1 BTC from Norwegian fellow on It cost me 2674.76 NOK and I received the bitcoins the next day in my virtual wallet. This was roughly 460.226 AUD worth on that days rate.

I had intended to sell the BTC to an Australian fellow after I had landed. However, I forgot about it and remembered the bitcoins only after returning to Norway again. They were then worth 2100.80NOK only. So in theory, I had lost 574 NOK. But I didn’t sell and kept them further and today, 12.1.2016 they are worth 4013 NOK (636 AUD). In effect, my attempt to save money in bank foreign transaction fees ended up as a small accidental profit in forex trading.

I might update this post with future experiment results.

posted: 16 January 12
under: Lifestyle, Tech