For years we've been paying exorbitant fees just to transfer our own hard-earned money from one country to another. I'm in Poland at the moment and find I need to transfer funds from my US checking account to a local one (mBank) regularly to pay family bills etc.

Citibank for instance quietly dings me over 2.5% lower exchange rate than the current central bank rates, and about an additional 3% for "foreign transfer fee" against my account. No credit card--That's just using my ATM/debit card at a "local" Citibank S.A. teller. I would prefer a bank-to-bank xfer (not an expensive wire xfer) rather than have to drive to the city anyway, only during that one ATM's operating hours etc. Paypal is not much better.

Can Bitcoin be used as an intermediary?

USD --> BTC --> PLN

I like the idea of going through two exchanges ACH'd to my bank accounts on each side, but do their transaction fees and currency conversion rates make it worth the while?

Also, apparently last year 2011 there was still one online service able transfer PLN to/from your Bitcoin address, now they are shut down. Anyone know others methods to cash out of BTC in PL?

  • MtGox took that exchange over, and they seem to also own their bank account (in BZWBK I think), so it might be an option, although an unconfirmed one.
    – ThePiachu
    Jan 19, 2012 at 23:58

3 Answers 3


Intersango trades BTC/PLN and offers free domestic withdrawal as PLN.

  • + ACH & Dwolla support, via local USA account (@JPMorgan Chase). On Polish side: advertise free xfers but from London-based account (@Bank Zacodni). mBank.PL fees are likely.
    – Marcos
    Jan 19, 2012 at 23:13
  • 5
    Also their Bid/Ask tables for USD and PLN show very large spreads, on order of 10%, and low volume. ==> Illiquid. Maybe this is due in part to nature of BTC
    – Marcos
    Jan 19, 2012 at 23:19
  • Not free trading anymore. Recent fee changes: 0.65% of all trades.
    – Marcos
    Feb 16, 2012 at 22:28

The answer is yes, if:

1) You can find local sources to convert to and from Bitcoins;

2) The total cost of those two conversions is competitive; and

3) The risk, delay, inconvenience and other such factors are favorable or at least manageable.

I think in many cases, point 3 may be the killer.


This is not an answer to your question, but an alternate way.

Where I live I can get an ATM card for free (no yearly fee) but with a withdraw fee if abroad ($5?). I tranfer this card and its code to the relative that needs money (I brought it with me when I visited last time); this is most probably not approved/legal from the bank's view.

Now the relative can get ~$200 (maximum withdrawal amount per withdrawal) for ~$5, a "fee" of 2.5%.

  • 1
    For a short period around 2006-07 I was able to have my fam in PL use my one and only permitted Citibank ATM card withdraw PLN from Citibank S.A tellers completely free, and at mid-market rates better than at kantors(xchange kiosks everywhere). Eventually they started charging 2%, then 3.x%, then plus other junk fees, etc. Good suggestion but our trouble is in finding dispensers of USD not PLN--just doesn't happen around Kielce.
    – Marcos
    Jan 23, 2012 at 9:52

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