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Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

Old May 14th 2011, 3:53 pm
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Default Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

Hi all,

sorry actually emigrating to Aus but holidaying in US next week so hope you don't mind me seeking advice on your forum.

Am having a bit of a dilemna about whether to take travellers cheques or just my UK bank card for our 4 nights in New York followed by 4 nights in Las Vegas. Barclays have said as long as I use Bank Of America there will only be a 2.99% charge. Travellers cheques seem the safer option, as obviously if I lose them then as long as I've noted the numbers down I'd be able to get them replaced. But does anyone know if there's generally commission charges for cashing in when I get Stateside? And also how easy is it to cash traveller's cheques these days? Thanks for any help on this.
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Old May 14th 2011, 8:52 pm
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

I didn't think anyone used travelers checks any more. If you do though, make sure they are US dollar checks.
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Old May 14th 2011, 8:59 pm
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

No one but a bank would know what to do with travellers cheques over here...and even then, you might struggle.

Could always preload a "gift" debit card, or buy one here so you only get dinged the once for using your debit card...TD Bank don't charge to buy or register the card, sure there are others, but BoA will fleece you dry using their gift cards.
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Old May 14th 2011, 10:43 pm
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

Originally Posted by stuartsummers1980 View Post
Hi all,

sorry actually emigrating to Aus but holidaying in US next week so hope you don't mind me seeking advice on your forum.

Am having a bit of a dilemna about whether to take travellers cheques or just my UK bank card for our 4 nights in New York followed by 4 nights in Las Vegas. Barclays have said as long as I use Bank Of America there will only be a 2.99% charge. Travellers cheques seem the safer option, as obviously if I lose them then as long as I've noted the numbers down I'd be able to get them replaced. But does anyone know if there's generally commission charges for cashing in when I get Stateside? And also how easy is it to cash traveller's cheques these days? Thanks for any help on this.
I would think that using a credit card would be cheaper so you shouldn't need much cash. However check with your bank to determine what exchange rate and fees they will be charging when using a credit card overseas.
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Old May 15th 2011, 6:18 am
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
No one but a bank would know what to do with travellers cheques over here...and even then, you might struggle.

Could always preload a "gift" debit card, or buy one here so you only get dinged the once for using your debit card...TD Bank don't charge to buy or register the card, sure there are others, but BoA will fleece you dry using their gift cards.
While the average store and such likely will be confused with a travellers check, hotels and such will generally cash them as long as the hotel is not a super low end budget type.

Many touristy places will also take them, think theme parks and such.
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Old May 15th 2011, 6:49 am
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

If you decide to go with travellers checks do yourself a favour and do not get them in anything higher $50 checks.
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Old May 15th 2011, 9:31 am
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

I laughed at an uncle 10 years ago when he brought traveller's checks and I think they are even less accepted today then back then.

How much in CASH are you going to spend in the USA really? I mean, $1,000? So 2.99% fee is going to be what, $30 US or £18 or so.

That's a rounding error on the cost of your entire trip.

Enjoy yourself. Just use your ATM and don't worry about it.
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Old May 15th 2011, 11:04 am
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
I laughed at an uncle 10 years ago when he brought traveller's checks and I think they are even less accepted today then back then.

How much in CASH are you going to spend in the USA really? I mean, $1,000? So 2.99% fee is going to be what, $30 US or £18 or so.

That's a rounding error on the cost of your entire trip.

Enjoy yourself. Just use your ATM and don't worry about it.
Some banks charge a minimum "per use" fee for internatioanl transactions - so if it's £3/$5 per use and it's used for everything from shopping to eating out, etc., it could mount up. If the OP is going to use it to take cash from an ATM, best to use it to take out cash in relatively large sums rather than bits at a time.

And don't US banks charge an extra levy for using the ATM with an unrecognised card?
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Old May 15th 2011, 8:24 pm
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

Thanks to everyone who's come back on my posting. I think it sounds like traveller's cheques could be a bit dated so going to use the ATM option and take a bit of cash albeit not too much to worry about losing. I think in hindsight it sounds like I should have got one of those pre-pay cards. Maybe next time.
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Old May 16th 2011, 12:34 am
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

I now use the ATM on international travel. The per transaction costs can be limited by taking out fairly large chunks of cash at a time [$250 or so, depending upon where you are].

Also, you get the best exchange rate in electronic transfers if the chegues are in a different denomination.

Two years back, went to Vietnam, and they wanted actual greenbacks! A true blast to the past.
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Old May 16th 2011, 9:10 am
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

Hi StuartSummer1980,

I was just reading your post and just wanted to mention another option.....

I am travelling to visit my USC fiancee next week and usually just take cash, this time though when going to exchange my currency to USD the helpful exchange lady suggested I did half cash & half on what they call a 'cash passport card', this seems like a very good idea, i got $600 transferred onto it, you are supplied with a pin num for the card and you use it in restaurants, bars etc as you would in the UK. This is handy as it works as a debit card but only has the balance you transferred onto it available, also if you do run out of $$$'s you just go online and log into your account and can 'top-up' the card from your uk account with the amount of your choice. (I thought this was handy incase of running out of cash and avoding any charges whatsoever)

Hope this helps....


P.s
I changed half to cash just because the one downside to the card is if you withdraw cash from an ATM it charges you like £2.50, this would be ontop of any charges the ATM has also.....(so mainly useful in restaurants etc...)
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Old May 16th 2011, 6:01 pm
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

Originally Posted by masih86 View Post

P.s
I changed half to cash just because the one downside to the card is if you withdraw cash from an ATM it charges you like £2.50, this would be ontop of any charges the ATM has also.....(so mainly useful in restaurants etc...)
Alternative is cash back at any grocery store type place...won't get charged a fee for usually, well I don't know about this card, but it's a thought.
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Old May 16th 2011, 6:18 pm
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

FYI if you do by a prepaid card and use it in a bar and/or restaurant in the US the issuing company automatically does an approval for a gratuity even if you are not putting the gratuity on the card. So if you have want to pay a $100 check with a $100 prepaid card (say AMEX)it will most probably be declined because they will figure in approval of at least $115 dollars. This has happened several times over the years in bars/restaurants that I have worked in. I always explain this to tourists and they are not very happy about it.
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Old May 16th 2011, 7:47 pm
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

Originally Posted by penguinbar View Post
FYI if you do by a prepaid card and use it in a bar and/or restaurant in the US the issuing company automatically does an approval for a gratuity even if you are not putting the gratuity on the card. So if you have want to pay a $100 check with a $100 prepaid card (say AMEX)it will most probably be declined because they will figure in approval of at least $115 dollars. This has happened several times over the years in bars/restaurants that I have worked in. I always explain this to tourists and they are not very happy about it.
Don't you have the option of swiping the card as a gift card? That would stop that issue from happening.

Seems to be the norm around here, if you mention it.
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Old May 16th 2011, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: Travellers Cheques vs ATM card

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Don't you have the option of swiping the card as a gift card? That would stop that issue from happening.

Seems to be the norm around here, if you mention it.
When you swipe a card on a restaurant computer you only have the option of choosing what type of credit card it is.Amex, Master, Discover.etc. Not gift or debit. It happens with gift cards all the time.
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