What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

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Dog_Papa
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What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by Dog_Papa » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:09 pm

TC (Travelers Checks) just don't work like they used to, banks won't cash em and stores don't treat em as cash. Gift Cards are just like cash, in that if you
lose one, a person finding it, spend it, before you realize it is gone. GC (Gift Cards) don't allow you to get cash either, or depo leftover vacation money in
your account. The solution to me, would be a password protected GC. That would be safe as long as the password is not compromised. And a GC that does
not expire, so you can just hold on to it for the next time to travel or go on vacation.

You can still get a TC cashed if you [complain --admin LadyGeek] a little. I believe banks have some obligation, as part of the Fed Reserve to cash them, but I could be
wrong on that. Anyone know or have any ideas, on a GC or other way to store money safely? Prepaid credit cards are not a good option in my opinion.

Anyone have any suggestions?
Last edited by Dog_Papa on Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Watty
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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks use to?

Post by Watty » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:15 pm

Most people use their ATM card for that now.

I have a PenFed credit card which allows cash advances from ATM machines with no fees and if you pay it off in just a few weeks there is minimal interest charged. I typically use that when I am traveling in Europe instead of my ATM card because there is some more protection if there is a problem with the card number being skimmed.

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Aptenodytes
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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by Aptenodytes » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:49 pm

You need to be more specific about what need you seek to fulfill. If it is near universal acceptance, it is hard to beat a credit card atm debit card combination. Plus some dollars or euros.

tbradnc
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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by tbradnc » Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:22 pm

I figure if I can keep my license and credit cards safe I can keep up with a gift card.

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nisiprius
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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by nisiprius » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:02 pm

I don't think travelers' cheques ever did work that well, and that their negotiability was greatly exaggerated. Basically, as their name suggests, they were only accepted in tourist venues (with fairly high prices). That is to say: big-city, name-brand hotels and restaurants in the center of town.

Very hard to cash them without making a purchase, and even with a purchase very hard to get more than small amounts of cash in change.

I was seriously soured on them in 1975, when I moved and made the mistake of thinking I could use travelers' cheques to bridge the gap of a couple of weeks before the new bank account was set up and working. They happened to be CitiBank travelers' cheques. My own bank would not cash them because they didn't handle that brand. So I made a special trip into town to a CitiBank branch and they outright refused to cash them because I didn't have an account with them.

I also had trouble negotiating them. Landlord--major apartment complex, by the way--wouldn't accept them. Electric company, forget it. Lots of small shops and supermarkets--not all, but lots--wouldn't take them. And a lot of the ones that did gave me a hard time about ID. I tried to point out that that's what the countersignature was for, but no go. And in 1975, many driver's licenses didn't have photo ID on them, and the state I was moving from was one of them. So it was "we need ID." And I would show them my driver's license. And they would say "But it doesn't have a picture." And I would say, "right, it's a Wisconsin driver's license and they don't have pictures. But, see, it has my signature and, see, it looks just like the countersignature and I can sign it now and it will look just like both of them and--" "I'm sorry, sir, we can't."
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The Wizard
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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by The Wizard » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:11 pm

ATMs work fine now.
They worked in the Netherlands last fall and they'll work in Bonaire starting tomorrow.
And they work all over the US w/o question.
I can't even REMEMBER the last time I did freaking Traveler's Checks. Maybe back in the 80's?
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sscritic
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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by sscritic » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:19 pm

nisiprius wrote:I don't think travelers' cheques ever did work that well, and that their negotiability was greatly exaggerated. Basically, as their name suggests, they were only accepted in tourist venues (with fairly high prices). That is to say: big-city, name-brand hotels and restaurants in the center of town.

And at currency exchanges. I think the last time I used one was in Vancouver at a small exchange that had better rates than the airport or the hotel.

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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by YttriumNitrate » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:26 pm

I have to send small amounts (less than $100) via the postal service to various branches of the Canadian government from time to time. For some reason, they don't except U.S. currency... :D In the past, I had a Well Fargo bank account solely for the purposes of getting Canadian travelers checks, but they stopped that service. Getting a check drafted in Canadian funds usually has an outrageous $25 fee associated with it, so I've gone to just sending cash through the mail. Chase Bank, despite having terrible interest rates, offers foreign currency without an extra fee.

If you are actually traveling some place, a bank ATM at that location is usually the best place to get cash.

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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by grabiner » Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:39 pm

I had a different problem with travelers checks. When I moved to Israel, I had a pack of travelers checks denominated in dollars, rather than carrying a pile of dollars. When I rented an apartment, the landlord needed a security deposit in shekels, so I went to his bank to deposit the checks. The bank charged a separate commission on every travelers check; I think I got about $350 worth of shekels for $400 in $20 travelers checks.

This was in 1995, and even then, my American ATM card worked in some Israeli banks. Some of the major banks were on the PLUS network, and these networks recognized that my ATM card was non-Israeli and presented me with a screen in English.
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Ged
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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by Ged » Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:59 pm

I had a business trip to the hinterlands of South Korea once (NOT a major city) but a small city in an agricultural area in 1995. A co-worker called where I was going Koreatucky.

They wouldn't take ANY of my credit cards at any place I tried to shop. Nor were there any ATMs that would accept my cards. The ONLY thing I was able to use were Amex Traveler's checks cashed into Korean currency at the hotel. Fortunately my hosts picked up most of my expenses, otherwise I would have been in rough shape.

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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by DRT » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:04 pm

YttriumNitrate wrote:I have to send small amounts (less than $100) via the postal service to various branches of the Canadian government from time to time. For some reason, they don't except U.S. currency... :D In the past, I had a Well Fargo bank account solely for the purposes of getting Canadian travelers checks, but they stopped that service. Getting a check drafted in Canadian funds usually has an outrageous $25 fee associated with it, so I've gone to just sending cash through the mail. Chase Bank, despite having terrible interest rates, offers foreign currency without an extra fee.

If you are actually traveling some place, a bank ATM at that location is usually the best place to get cash.


Have you considered a service such as XE.com? I've never used them and don't know if the exchange rate is fair, but it seems to meet your need.

obgraham
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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by obgraham » Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:31 pm

Sometimes we have to accept that some technology is obsolete. Even though there may be specific tasks that TC's did best, the truth is they have gone away. We need to find another way to accomplish that task. Even though that one might be more difficult, other financial transactions are now much more convenient.

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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by sport » Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:47 pm

I still have some Amex travelers checks that I take with me when I travel. I keep them for emergency use only. The opinions offered in this thread seem to be that they would not be very useful if/when I did try to use them. Should I just cash them in and rely on credit cards? One of my concerns is being stopped for a traffic violation (perhaps a predatory speed trap) and facing a fine and being told they do not take credit cards for bail. I would not want to have to spend time in jail waiting for a judge to arrive. Is this a realistic concern?
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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by Professor Emeritus » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:20 pm

jsl11 wrote:I still have some Amex travelers checks that I take with me when I travel. I keep them for emergency use only. The opinions offered in this thread seem to be that they would not be very useful if/when I did try to use them. Should I just cash them in and rely on credit cards? One of my concerns is being stopped for a traffic violation (perhaps a predatory speed trap) and facing a fine and being told they do not take credit cards for bail. I would not want to have to spend time in jail waiting for a judge to arrive. Is this a realistic concern?
Jeff


That is what true "emergency funds" are for. I have a code with my bank that will get 10K sent anywhere in the world.

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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by Professor Emeritus » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:31 pm

nisiprius wrote:. So I made a special trip into town to a CitiBank branch and they outright refused to cash them because I didn't have an account with them.
"


Actually that is a violation of the UCC. We brought a successful fraud case against a bank for failure to honor its own checks after collecting the value of the checks and a fee.

The bank tried to defend by saying it was an idiot teller who didn't understand the rules. No dice Statutory damages plus attorney's fees.

In fact any bank where a check is drawn has to pay or dishonor a check drawn on that bank if it is "properly presented"

If a bank wrongfully dishonors its own check it is liable for fraud in selling the check

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Re: What will work like Travelers Checks did in the past?

Post by Professor Emeritus » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:44 pm

grabiner wrote:I had a different problem with travelers checks. When I moved to Israel, I had a pack of travelers checks denominated in dollars, rather than carrying a pile of dollars. When I rented an apartment, the landlord needed a security deposit in shekels, so I went to his bank to deposit the checks. The bank charged a separate commission on every travelers check; I think I got about $350 worth of shekels for $400 in $20 travelers checks.

This was in 1995, and even then, my American ATM card worked in some Israeli banks. Some of the major banks were on the PLUS network, and these networks recognized that my ATM card was non-Israeli and presented me with a screen in English.


the per check fee was a surprise for many Americans. I remember special ordering $100 checks in 1983 to minimize fees

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