How Much Do Traveler’s Checks Cost?
Although the wide use of debit cards and automatic teller machines (ATMs) have made the use of traveler’s checks decline, they are still quite popular for those who do much traveling abroad. Traveler’s checks are safer than carrying cash because they require identification before they can be cashed or used as payment. While ATMs may be more convenient since they are faster and are usually in service 24 hours a day, the fees of an ATM are quite a bit more expensive than the fees of a traveler’s check.
How much is it?
- Traveler’s checks can be purchased through companies such as American Express and Visa, or they can be purchased at your personal bank. Most establishments charge 1-2% for each check you purchase. Because traveler’s checks can be used as cash, you usually purchase them in different denominations. For example, if you wish to carry $500, it would be best to carry separate traveler’s checks in $100, $50, $20, or $10 amounts that add to a total of $500. No matter how you split up the amounts, however, the charge for $500 worth of traveler’s checks will be between $5-$10.
- For example, the bank Wells Fargo offers travelers cheques through American Express. They will charge based on the amount of cheques required. Additional fees such as an express delivery fee can apply if they are required within 24 to 48 hours.
What is going to be included?
- Traveler’s are refundable if they are lost or stolen. Be sure to read the fine print before purchasing one as all carriers are going to vary.
- Checks will never expire and can be used at any time.
- Countries will be able to exchange them for the local currency. Common denominations for travelers cheques include $50 and $100.
What are the extra costs?
- While some companies offer free replacement services in case of lost or stolen checks, others charge for this type of “insurance”. This charge can be anything from a flat fee of $10-$50 or a percentage of your total amount in checks. Some companies return this as a deposit if the service is not needed.
- Express delivery fees can apply with various banks.
Tips to know:
- If a traveler’s check is lost or stolen, most issuers will replace it free of charge. This is a rather big advantage over having cash.
- Get checks issued in dollar amounts rather than to a specific currency. This way, you can use them in various countries while traveling.
- Always get checks that are less than $100 to play it on the safe side. Consider getting checks that range anyhwere from $20 to $100.
- Get checks that are branded with major names such as American Express, Visa and MasterCard. This will ensure you that it’s going to be accepted everywhere.
How can I save money?
- Many banks, especially credit unions, now offer free traveler’s checks for members of their bank. There may be some regulation as to what type of account you have, but not always. Check with your bank to see what their traveler’s check policy is.
- If you are going to be traveling often, switching to a bank that offers this service for free may be your best option.
- Consider sticking to your ATM card. Traveler’s checks are slowly becoming a thing of the past. While many companies will still accept them, most will accept your credit card with a Visa logo on it.