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Troubles with travelers checks

Travel Forums General Talk Troubles with travelers checks

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1. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

We recently returned from 2 weeks in Panama. We took cash, travelers checks and credit cards. We did not need to use our travelers checks until returning to Panama City, a few days before our departure. Our hotel was located in the financial district of town where (litereally) a large international bank could be found on every corner. We were carrying VISA travelers checks, which we've never had a problem cashing before. After twelve bank stops, 2 cab rides, and down to $5 - we finally did a credit card cash advance. Every bank (local and international, including Citicorp, Bank Boston, Banco de Panama, Banc le Parisienne (sp)) would only take American Express checks. Each, in turn, would direct us to our previous stop.

Has anyone run into this type of problem in their travels???? (And, if so - where?) I'm rethinking the travelers check thing when we plan our next adventure.

Thanks!

2. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

I've given up on travellers cheques. Travellers Cheques are difficult to cash (as you have experienced) and most places charge you an outrageous fee. ATMs are so wide-spread now that it just makes sense to pull money out as I need it. Most of the places where one can't find an ATM, one can't find a bank that would cash your travellers cheques anyways.

Down with TCs! Up with bank cards!

3. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

I don't use traveller's cheques at all. Cash (especially $US100 bills) seem to be the simplest to cash. Sometimes, I may even use Mastercard. It's usually easier for me to get a cash advance on Mastercard rather than any other card.

4. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 11y

I've never bothered with Travellers Cheques personally, partly due to the hassle factor, and partly because i just that the one time i would need to rely on them would be about 3 mins after close of business on Friday, and as well as teh weekend, the Mon and probably Tue would be holidays as well....

However, from people that do use them, everybody that i know seems to be in agreement that you should have American Express ones, as they are by far the most widespread and accepted.

5. Posted by mtlchica (Respected Member 922 posts) 11y

I have used - and still would use - traveller's cheques. I've used both AMEX and Visa, and I have had no problems cashing either. I guess the safety factor appeals to me. I know that if my credit card gets stolen all I have to do is report it and I won't have to worry about bogus charges, but getting a replacement card is (or so I've heard) pure heck. Call me captain cautious.

Cheers,
Katie ;)

6. Posted by Kingwindle (Respected Member 301 posts) 11y

I'm ordering mine today, only for the pure fact that if everything gets stolen then at least I can still afford to live for a bit so i can somehow replace my visa debit card.
By the way , has anyone lost their card or had it stolen and tried to get the replacement sent out to them?? If I have american exp cheques dont they do a mail service included too?

7. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Quoting GregW

I've given up on travellers cheques. Travellers Cheques are difficult to cash (as you have experienced) and most places charge you an outrageous fee.

I forgot to mention, the hotel did charge us a fee for cashing the checks they were willing to take. It was only $0.15/check, but they asked for that in cash before taking the checks.

We have never lost or had anything stolen so have no information on replacement procedures. I do know that VISA has the mail service included, which makes me thing AmEx would also. They have cornered the market on everything else, so it seems. (Not a complaint, I carry their cards too.)

I don't have a bank debit card - are there interest fees attached to their use (ie: like credit cards)? Guess I should talk with my bank...

8. Posted by mtlchica (Respected Member 922 posts) 11y

Quoting isadora


I don't have a bank debit card - are there interest fees attached to their use (ie: like credit cards)? Guess I should talk with my bank...

A bank debit card is liquid just like cash. There are no interest fees...but you can get strapped with service charges ranging from $0.50 to $5.00. If I go to my bank (ie: the bank whose logo is on my card) I don't get charged a fee. Independant ATM's charge the highest fee...and going overseas and using the card at a foriegn bank is higher still.

K

9. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

Debit card fees can be high. However, there are banks which provide packages (some of them for a very low rate) that allow you to make withdrawls overseas without the outrageous service charges. Nationwide is a favorite of the brits.

I haven't found a great Canadian bank yet, but I do know if you are willing to pay for it, the Canadian banks will waive the service charges. You just need to do a cost benefit analysis - is it cheaper to pay the service charges each time or once a month (depends on how many withdrawls you think your make).

10. Posted by Kingwindle (Respected Member 301 posts) 11y

This is an open comment to anyone.... I live in england- hence have a nationwide flex account that lets you withdraw cash from ATM's anywhere in the world for no commission fee. This sounds all well and good, but I was wondering, dont they just give you a crappy exchange rate so they make their money from that and not from the commission??
Does anyone have any insider knowledge how this works or would work and why it is such a good deal!!??