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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Taxes & Financial Planning > Travelers' Checks

Travelers' Checks Cost

How Much Do Travelers' Checks Cost?

average costChecks: 1%-3% of Purchase Amounthigh costCashing Checks: 1%-3% of Purchase Amount
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  Typical costs:
  • Although their use is declining, travelers' checks are still available in a variety of currencies and denominations from $25 to $100. Purchasing travelers' checks for non-bank customers typically costs about 1%-3% of the purchase amount, or about $10-$30 per $1,000, depending on location. Banks typically offer travelers' checks at no charge to their customers, depending on average balance and size of purchase. For example, Bank of America[1] offers their customers American Express Travelers Cheques for a 2% service charge with a minimum order of $100 -$250. Customers with Prima or Premiere accounts receive the travelers' checks without a fee.
  • Cashing the checks may also incur another charge of about 1%-3% or $10-$30 per $1,000, at a designated location from a bank, travelers' check kiosk or selected large hotels. Some countries offer better cashing rates and more locations, including China where the exchange rate is regulated by the government. However, in Europe, many locations outside of banks and designated cashing locations[2] no longer accept travelers' checks. "Checks for Two" programs allow either party in a traveling couple may countersign the checks.
Related articles: Travel Credit Card, Prepaid Travel Card, Credit Card, Money Belt, Passport

What should be included:
  • If checks are lost or stolen, they will typically be refunded, excluding selected cases of neglect.
Additional costs:
  • American Express offers travelers check purchases online for an additional $7.50 in shipping for amounts less than $1,000. Overnight shipping fees may be about $20. Travelers checks by other companies are sold in banks.
  • Purchasing the checks in the destination currency means that any currency rate differences are taken care of at the same time. Otherwise, expect to pay surcharge at the cashing location based on the daily rate of exchange.
  • Check with current bank for non-fee purchase options, which could save $10-$30 on $1,000 in travelers' checks.
  • Travelers checks allow holder to avoid ATM fees, which can cost $3 or more per transaction.
Shopping for travelers' checks:
  • U.S. companies that sell travelers' checks include American Express, Bank of America (also American Express checks) and Citibank[3] . Not all companies offer online purchases[4] .
  • Prior to traveling outside of the United States, check area currency exchange rates[5] to estimate the amount of travel money needed.
  • Experts warn against countersigning the checks until use and recommend making a note of serial numbers, storing the list separate from the checks and treat them as cash. Also keep a copy of the purchase agreement form separate from the checks.
  • Visit[6] prior to an international trip to learn about possible scams in the destination area.
  • Travelex[7] provides currency exchange services throughout the U.S. and abroad in major downtown locations and airports throughout the world.
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