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In the 60's, 70's, and 80's, we traveled the world without credit cards (and without phones!).  We did use travelers cheques.  Now the remaining cheques are turning up in strange places.

Any thoughts about how to use them up or cash them in?  Will they ever become useless?

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Cash them at your local bank.

We used to buy them when we traveled to China to cash at a bank for Yuan in Shanghai..it was easy to do this using our passport ID. We've never used them to purchase anything. We now prefer to get our foreign currency from our local bank...some use foreign ATM's but that's not our preference.

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I found a 1940s war bond my parents had and am having a devil of a time getting information on how to get it cashed. My bank is stymied by all the forms and instructions involved. My parents have been gone for 20 years so death certificate needed and available. Would rather see a collector get it but haven’t found anyone interested.

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I think they're pretty much useless if trying to buy something with them. You may be able to find an exchange bureau in a foreign country that would cash them. Interesting that I used the above link to see where I could exchange them in Canada, and the site said there were none! While AE will accept them forever, I wouldn't count on acceptance everywhere. Might be prudent to cash them out at your bank or with AE sooner rather than later.

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I have a supply of traveler's checks and have been able to cash them at the Front Office on a ship during a cruise.  I have started to cash them at my bank and have been able to do so without issue.  Interestingly, trying to do at a Chase branch in Fort Lauderdale, the teller had to get the Branch Manager's assistance to do so, which he approved once I provided identification (I provided a Chase branded credit card, my driver's license, and my Passport).  Locally, once the teller checked her computer as to the bank's requirements, the checks were cashed without question.  (Maybe my past relationship and/or my account balances had something to do with this?)  

 

 

 

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My Dad followed Carl Mouldoon's advice and kept a few AMEX Cheques in the glovebox, under the spare tire, in his wallet and a few places in the house. We're pretty sure we missed a few when we sold the house 😎

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8 hours ago, 2wheelin said:

I found a 1940s war bond my parents had and am having a devil of a time getting information on how to get it cashed. My bank is stymied by all the forms and instructions involved. My parents have been gone for 20 years so death certificate needed and available. Would rather see a collector get it but haven’t found anyone interested.

What does this have to do with Travelers checks??

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17 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

I have a supply of traveler's checks and have been able to cash them at the Front Office on a ship during a cruise.  I have started to cash them at my bank and have been able to do so without issue.  Interestingly, trying to do at a Chase branch in Fort Lauderdale, the teller had to get the Branch Manager's assistance to do so, which he approved once I provided identification (I provided a Chase branded credit card, my driver's license, and my Passport).  Locally, once the teller checked her computer as to the bank's requirements, the checks were cashed without question.  (Maybe my past relationship and/or my account balances had something to do with this?)  

 

 

 

Cunard stopped accepting them a few years ago.  Two major banks in New York, Chase and Wells Fargo, stopped selling them as well.  Amex closed their storefront offices in 2012.   I would say go to the issuer's website and find out where they can currently be cashed.  

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5 hours ago, Toofarfromthesea said:


It is another example of a financial instrument that poses challenges in getting converted to cash.

Thanks. I guess I forgot that no one on here ever posts a comment that does not contain all the words of the original title. My bad.

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Last time we had them, over 20 years ago, was on a trip to San Diego.  Guess they were already on the way out.  We had American Express, tried at numerous banks and credit unions.  The only place that would cash the AE cheques, about a few hundred dollars worth, was a Thomas Cook kiosk at a mall.

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6 hours ago, BlueRiband said:

I would say go to the issuer's website and find out where they can currently be cashed.  

 

All but three of my traveler's checks were bought at Chase.  Their name is "up front and center" on each check.  I have confidence that they will continue to accept these  monetary instruments.  I know that they won't be selling any more of them.

 

I have three small denomination checks that I purchased from AAA that are drawn on Bank of America.  AAA still sells traveler's checks, I think, but I don't know the bank that they use.  It will be interesting--to me--to see if Chase will cash these Bank of America checks.  If not, my next stop will be at an AAA office.  What will there reaction be?  

 

I don't need nor want the money that is in those checks currently.  I still prefer to keep them--for the most part--as "back-up" money when I travel.  A sense of security, if you will.  Maybe false?  Could be.  If so, I'll deal with it when that :bridge needs to be crossed".

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3 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

I don't need nor want the money that is in those checks currently.  I still prefer to keep them--for the most part--as "back-up" money when I travel.  A sense of security, if you will.  Maybe false?  Could be.  If so, I'll deal with it when that :bridge needs to be crossed".

After getting 'pick pocketed' in Barcelona, we now have a credit and debit card that aren't related to what we carry around. And US$100 in cash. They all are in our document case with passports etc. That might make you feel more comfortable. It does us.

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I had a few from a trip we took in the 80's......I decided to cash it in at my bank....well, the tellers had NO IDEA what they were, or how to handle them!    It took phone calls, and quite a while for them to give me my money.  

I would forgo traveler's checks in this day and age, and simply use a credit card, which offers protections that debit/bank cards do not!

 

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15 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

I don't need nor want the money that is in those checks currently.  I still prefer to keep them--for the most part--as "back-up" money when I travel.  A sense of security, if you will. 

 

Just a heads up if you are thinking of them as "back up" for travel outside the US. Even 10 years ago or more I remember reading warnings on foreign travel boards that local banks (at least in Europe) are not familiar with them and will not cash them unless you are an account-holder -- in which case you POSSIBLY might get them cashed.

 

I am pretty sure that if you have AMEX travelers' cheques, you could find an AMEX office to cash them but that may not always be convenient in an emergency.

 

The last time I ever got TCs was for a trip to London in 1988. Even then we found them to be somewhat of a hassle to use and have never used them since.

 

I generally travel solo, so I have no "backup" person should I lose my cc or money. So I generally do as clo does -- keep a second (different) credit card and some cash in my room safe or a hidden place. I also have two separate checking accounts -- one is strictly for travel with no access or back-up link to any of my other accounts.

 

 

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

I also have two separate checking accounts -- one is strictly for travel with no access or back-up link to any of my other accounts.

 

That is a good idea that I have never really considered previously.  It's certainly something for me to consider going forward given the level of fraud/theft these days.

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29 minutes ago, SelectSys said:

 

That is a good idea that I have never really considered previously.  It's certainly something for me to consider going forward given the level of fraud/theft these days.

 

We bank with Wells Fargo*, and before we took our first 'foreign' trip we talked to them and they set us up with a debit card that could not be used to access our regular accounts, but which we could easily transfer money into, as needed.  Our regular accounts had access to the debit card, but not vice versa.  That way if the debit card was lost or stolen our exposure was just to the amount on the card, which we kept pretty low since we could add more money, as needed, very easily.


I should add that this is the only debit card we have ever hsd, as I believe generally they are inferior to credit cards.  And we never used that debit card for purchases - used a credit card for that - we only used it to get local currency at ATMs.  And the currency exchange was done by my bank, not the ATM.  This was much better than the scam exchange places that abound in Europe.

* I'd imagine other major banks offer something similar.

Edited by Toofarfromthesea
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19 hours ago, 2wheelin said:

Thanks. I guess I forgot that no one on here ever posts a comment that does not contain all the words of the original title. My bad.

 

LOL.  I almost responded by asking him why he was talking about checks, when the topic was cheques.

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On 1/25/2021 at 3:15 PM, shipgeeks said:

Any thoughts about how to use them up or cash them in?  Will they ever become useless?

Your bank is the best bet to cash them. Shouldn't be difficult, I believe they have an ABA routing number just like any other check. My usual teller moves her lips as she reads her computer screen for unusual transaction instructions.

 

A few years ago the front desk at Holland America would cash them, don't know what the future may hold.

 

Ah, a fun trip down memory lane to the olden days of traveler's cheques. They were a pain in the neck. Debit and credit cards and the euro have made international travel so much cheaper and easier.

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15 hours ago, clo said:

After getting 'pick pocketed' in Barcelona,

 

I have never had that experience, fortunately, but I do use a neck pouch that is under two layers of shirts.  I'd have to be pretty clueless to not notice someone going after it.  I usually do keep some dirty tissues in a pants pocket to "reward" anyone who tries to pick pocket me.  😄

 

4 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

I am pretty sure that if you have AMEX travelers' cheques, you could find an AMEX office to cash them but that may not always be convenient in an emergency.

 

Yes, AMEX offices will cash their own brand.  But, the one time that I needed to do so, they charged a fee on top of the fee that I had paid my bank to get the checks.  I was an unhappy customer when that happened.  Because of my relationship with my bank, the ones that I still have were obtained from the bank with no fee.  Now, Chase does not even offer them.  

 

I am aware of the difficulty of getting any merchant--here or abroad--to honor them.  At least in Amsterdam, the money exchange booths did accept them, with a fee, of course.

 

4 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

So I generally do as clo does -- keep a second (different) credit card and some cash in my room safe or a hidden place.

 

I also will have at least one additional credit card along with my ATM debit card in a safe place in addition to whatever credit card I take with me on a tour.  There will be a small amount of cash as well.  

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