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People lose billions of dollars year to their banks, without even realizing it. But there is a new technology that is changing all that — and saving expats, freelancers, families, and SMBs millions of dollars a day.

Have you ever sent money internationally? If you have, there’s a good chance you paid more than you had to.

Generally, when you send money there are at least two costs: the fee and the rate. That’s because banks and traditional services often add a markup to the exchange rate they use to convert your money.

The trouble is that most people don’t realize the rate costs them extra when sending money. A lot more.

For example, if you send 1,000 dollars to euros, you might find that — on top of the wire fee — as much as 3-5 percent of your money goes missing along the way, in “currency conversion” costs. Suddenly a $20-30 wire fee can turn into a $60-80 cost.

The odds are, however, that you weren’t aware of that. Most people don’t understand the way this pricing structure works: in fact, 4 in 5 people underestimate the total costs.

Why is sending money this expensive?

Banks and traditional services have not built systems designed to process international money transfers in the cheapest and most efficient way. The extra costs they have get passed on to the customer in the form of a bad exchange rate, high fees, or both.

Essentially, while your bank offers you a host of services, when it comes to sending money abroad it’s unlikely to be the fastest, cheapest service. International money transfers are a peripheral service for them.

So if you live an international life, chances are you’re losing money in fees that you weren’t even aware of.

What’s the solution?

At the heart of this problem is a lack of transparency. That pricing structure banks and brokers use is incredibly hard for people to compare. However, the only way to understand which deal is best for you is to compare the true costs. Historically, that’s been hard to do (sometimes borderline impossible).

However, money transfer provider TransferWise has built a price comparison  that lets you easily compare the costs between multiple banks and brokers.

The true cost of sending USD to EUR

TransferWise was founded on the philosophy that moving money should be cheap and transparent. That’s why the company always uses the real exchange rate (i.e. one with no mark-up or currency conversion costs): so its customers always know how much they pay.

Its price comparison tool is one way the company is shining a light on the opaque pricing structures in the international money transfer industry.

Saving its customers millions of dollars a day

Not only does TransferWise show its true cost upfront, but that cost is typically a fraction of what a traditional provider charges. Its fee is generally between 0.35% and 1.5%, depending on the route and amount you’re transferring.

Those low costs have driven explosive customer growth for the seven-year-old company. Today it has over 4 million customers sending billions of dollars a month through the platform. The company estimates that it saves its customers millions of dollars a day in bank fees.

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