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What Is a Traveler’s Check?

  • How It Works
  • Where to Get Traveler's Checks
  • Where to Cash Traveler's Checks
  • Pros and Cons
  • Alternatives to Traveler's Checks

The Bottom Line

  • Personal Finance

Traveler's Check: What It Is, How It's Used, Where to Buy

Julia Kagan is a financial/consumer journalist and former senior editor, personal finance, of Investopedia.

traveller's cheque use

Investopedia / Eliana Rodgers

A traveler’s check (sometimes spelled "cheque") is a once-popular but now largely outmoded medium of exchange utilized as an alternative to hard currency and intended to aid tourists. The product is typically used by people on vacation in foreign countries. It offers a safe way to travel overseas without the risks associated with losing cash. The issuing party, usually a bank, provides security against lost or stolen checks.

Traveler’s checks have increasingly been supplanted by credit cards and prepaid debit cards.

Key Takeaways

  • Traveler’s checks are a form of payment issued by financial institutions.
  • These paper cheques are generally used by people when traveling to foreign countries.
  • They are purchased for set amounts and can be used to buy goods or services or be exchanged for cash.
  • If your traveler's check is lost or stolen it can readily be replaced.
  • Once widely used, traveler’s checks have largely been supplanted today by prepaid debit cards and credit cards.

How Traveler’s Checks Work

A traveler’s check is for a prepaid fixed amount and operates like cash, so a purchaser can use it to buy goods or services when traveling. A customer can also exchange a traveler’s check for cash. Major financial service institutions issue traveler’s checks, and banks and credit unions sell them, though their ranks have significantly dwindled today.

A traveler’s check is similar to a regular check because it has a unique check number or serial number. When a customer reports a check stolen or lost, the issuing company cancels that check and provides a new one. 

They come in several fixed denominations in a variety of currencies, making them a safeguard in countries with fluctuating exchange rates , and they do not have an expiration date. They are not linked to a customer’s bank account or line of credit and do not contain personally identifiable information, therefore eliminating the risk of identity theft. They operate via a dual signature system. You sign them when you purchase them, and then you sign them again when you cash them, which is designed to prevent anyone other than the purchaser from using them.

Many banks, hotels, and retailers used to accept them as cash, although some banks charged fees to cash them. However, with the rising worldwide use of credit cards and prepaid debit cards—such as the Visa TravelMoney card, which offers zero liability for its unauthorized use—it is getting much harder to find institutions that will cash traveler’s checks.

History of Traveler’s Checks

James C. Fargo, the president of the American Express Company, was a wealthy, well-known American who was unable to get checks cashed during a trip to Europe. In 1891, a company employee, Marcellus F. Berry, believed that the solution for taking money overseas required a check with the signature of the bearer and devised a product for it. American Express and Visa still use the British spelling on their products.

Where to Get Traveler's Checks

Companies that still issue traveler's checks today include Visa and AAA . They often come with a purchase fee. AAA now offers members pre-paid international Visa cards instead of paper checks.

In the U.S., they are available primarily from American Express locations. You can also buy traveler's checks online from the American Express website, but you need to be registered with an account. Visa offers traveler's checks at Citibank locations nationwide, as well as at several other banks.

American Express, Visa, and AAA are among the companies that still issue traveler’s checks.

Where to Cash Traveler's Checks

If you want to convert your traveler's checks into cash (instead of spending them directly), you can often deposit them normally at your bank. Many hotel or resort lobbies will also provide this service to guests at no charge. American Express also provides a service to redeem traveler's checks that they issue online to be deposited into your bank account.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Traveler's Checks

Traveler's checks are handy for tourists who do not want to risk losing their cash or having it stolen while abroad. Because traveler's checks can be reported lost or stolen and the funds replaced, they provide peace of mind. This was particularly a concern before credit cards and ATMs were widespread and affordable worldwide for most travelers. At the same time, these paper checks are now a bit outdated and come with a fee to purchase, making them potentially more expensive and cumbersome than using plastic or electronic payments.

Replaced if lost or stolen

Widely accepted around the world

Convenient to use

They don't expire

Must have the physical check to use it

Incurs a fee to purchase

Limited number of issuers today

Alternatives to Traveler's Checks

The most obvious alternative is to use a credit or debit card issued by a bank that works worldwide and charges low or no foreign exchange fees on purchases or ATM withdrawals. If your bank doesn't allow for this or charges high fees, then prepaid travel cards are the modern version of traveler’s checks. They allow you to get local currency from ATMs and make purchases with merchants—effectively eliminating the need for traveler’s checks.

Prepaid cards are not linked to your bank account, which prevents anybody from draining your checking account if the card gets lost or stolen—and you can’t go into debt. Credit cards offer similar (or better) protection, but you might not want to use your everyday card abroad. By using a dedicated travel card, you avoid spreading your card numbers around, which means you can be less vigilant about monitoring your accounts when you get back home. Visa and MasterCard both offer prepaid cards designed for use abroad. Those cards are available online, through travel agents, and at banks or credit unions. 

Travel cards should feature low ATM fees, technology that lets you operate like a local in foreign countries, emergency cash when you lose the card, and “zero liability” fraud protection. That said, prepaid cards can be expensive, so you need to compare fees against your other cards to decide whether or not a travel card makes sense.

For U.S. citizens living abroad for extended periods, maintaining checking and other bank accounts in the United States provides several advantages, and many checking accounts are friendly for foreign transactions .

Where Do You Buy Traveler's Checks?

You can buy still buy traveler's checks from Visa and a handful of other financial institutions. To buy them, visit a location or check the website of an issuing institution. You may need a photo ID in order to set up an account.

How Do You Cash Traveler's Checks?

Some hotels, resorts, and currency traders will cash traveler's checks in exchange for local currency. However, with the rising prevalence of credit and debit cards fewer locations cash traveler's checks.

What Do You Do With Traveler's Checks?

Traveler's checks are a secure way of carrying money while abroad. Many businesses in the tourism industry will cash traveler's checks, and they can also be deposited into a bank account. Because the checks can be easily replaced, they have a lower risk of theft or loss. However, traveler's checks have fallen out of favor due to the increased convenience of credit cards and prepaid debit cards.

Traveler's checks were once a popular way to carry money while vacationing abroad. They are sold in fixed denominations, and can be used for purchases or cashed like an ordinary check. Traveler's checks can be easily replaced, making them less risky than carrying large amounts of cash. However, they have fallen out of favor due to the convenience of using credit or debit cards.

Sparks, Evan. “ Nine Young Bankers Who Changed America: Marcellus Flemming Berry .” ABA Banking Journal, June 26, 2017.

Time Magazine. " Travel (April, 1956): The Host with the Most ."

American Express. " Travelers Cheques ."

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All about traveler’s checks, plus modern alternatives

January 18, 2024 | 1 min video

Getting ready to travel? One thing to think about is how you’ll make purchases while you’re away. Traveler’s checks aren’t as common as they used to be. So you might want to consider modern alternatives that may offer the advantages of traveler’s checks and more.

Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of traveler’s checks. And find out about other options—for example, credit cards, prepaid cards and mobile wallets—that could help make the most of your trip.

Key takeaways

  • Traveler’s checks are paper documents that can be exchanged for local currency or used to buy goods and services abroad.
  • Traveler’s checks feature unique serial numbers, making them replaceable if they’re lost or stolen.
  • Fees may apply when purchasing and exchanging traveler’s checks.
  • There are modern alternatives to traveler’s checks that you may find more convenient.

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What is a traveler’s check?

A traveler’s check is a paper document you can use for making purchases when you’re traveling, typically in other countries. It can be used as cash or a regular check.

Traveler’s checks—you may also see them referred to as “cheques”—are generally printed with a unique serial number. This means you may be able to get a refund if your checks are lost or stolen. The checks are usually available in set denominations—$20 and $50, for example. 

How do traveler’s checks work?

Traveler’s checks may be accepted at participating merchants like hotels, restaurants and stores. Just keep in mind that there could be fewer participating merchants than there used to be.

When you purchase your checks, you may notice that they have a space for two signatures:

  • First signature: You might be asked to sign each of your traveler’s checks when you buy them. If not, you may want to sign them as soon as possible. 
  • Second signature: You’ll usually sign your traveler’s checks again when you’re making purchases.

This dual signature method is meant to provide extra security and ensure that only the purchaser is able to use them. The merchant can verify that the second signature matches the first.

How to cash in traveler’s checks

You can use traveler’s checks like cash to pay for goods and services at participating merchants. You’ll typically sign the check in front of the merchant at the time of the purchase.

While traveling, you may also be able to redeem your traveler’s checks for local currency at financial institutions or your hotel.

Potential fees associated with traveler’s checks

It’s possible that certain fees may apply to traveler’s checks. For example, you may need to pay a fee when you purchase them or when you exchange them for currency once you get to your destination. There might also be a fee for depositing unused checks into your bank account.

Where to get traveler’s checks

While traveler’s checks might be harder to find than they used to be, they’re still available. You may be able to purchase them at some banks, credit unions and travel-related service organizations.

Pros and cons of traveler’s checks

Take a look at some of the potential pros and cons of traveler’s checks:

When to use a traveler’s check

You might consider using traveler’s checks in certain situations, including: 

  • When you don’t have a credit or debit card. Some people may prefer to travel using modern payment options like credit and debit cards. But if you don’t have either, you may find traveler’s checks to be an acceptable alternative.
  • When you can’t access an ATM. If you find yourself in a place that doesn’t have an ATM on every corner, you can instead use your checks at merchants that accept them.
  • When you want to exchange them for local currency. When you get to where you’re going, you might want to have some local currency on hand. You may be able to exchange your traveler’s checks for currency at certain banks or other financial institutions.

Modern alternatives to traveler’s checks

There are a number of alternatives to traveler’s checks—options you may find faster, easier and more convenient. Here are a few to consider when you’re comparing your choices:

Credit cards

Carrying a credit card may be easier than carrying traveler’s checks. Plus, credit cards can be helpful for making large and online travel purchases like plane tickets and hotel reservations. That’s especially true with travel credit cards , which you could use to earn rewards on travel-related purchases.

Some credit cards may also come with benefits that could be useful while traveling. They might include things like protection from unauthorized charges and the ability to use a mobile app to track your purchases .

Keep in mind that foreign transaction fees may come into play when you use your credit card overseas. While this fee might vary between credit card companies, it could generally be in the range of 1%-3% of your purchase. You may also be charged a currency conversion fee. This fee is often part of a foreign transaction fee.

Some companies don’t charge foreign transaction fees. For example, none of Capital One’s U.S.-issued credit cards charge this fee. View important rates and disclosures .

If you’re traveling with your credit card, your credit card issuer may want to be alerted before you go. That’s because it might flag your purchases as fraudulent if it notices purchases made in an unfamiliar location. Thanks to the added security of its chip cards, Capital One doesn’t require this notification.

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Debit cards

When you’re traveling, a debit card can be just as easy to carry around as a credit card. And like a credit card, it can help protect against fraud. 

The big difference: A credit card lets you “borrow” money for purchases, while a debit card uses the money in your checking account to make purchases.

It may be helpful to carry a debit card when you’re visiting a country that generally favors cash transactions. In that case, you could use your debit card at an ATM to get cash once you’ve reached your destination. And that may be safer than bringing cash with you and exchanging it for local currency once you’ve arrived. 

Keep in mind that you could be charged ATM fees when you use a debit card abroad. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), some banks and credit unions don’t charge customers a fee for using their ATMs. But they might charge you if you’re not a customer—and that could be in addition to a fee charged by the operator of the ATM.

Also, be mindful that some banks may charge a foreign transaction fee when you make purchases abroad with a debit card. You may also be charged a currency conversion fee—often, this fee is folded into the foreign transaction fee.

Some banks, though, don’t charge foreign transaction fees. For example, Capital One doesn’t charge this fee for its 360 Checking account . 

If you take a debit card on your travels, your bank may ask you to notify it beforehand. That’s because it could notice transactions made in an unfamiliar location and potentially freeze your account. Capital One doesn’t require this notification , thanks to the added security of your chip card.

Prepaid cards

Like credit cards and debit cards, prepaid cards may be easier to carry around than cash. They may also offer some protection against loss, theft or fraud once you register them.

But with a prepaid card, you don’t “borrow” money like you do with a credit card—or use money from your checking account, like with a debit card. Instead, you typically add money to a prepaid card before using it.

According to the CFPB, there are a few ways you can add funds to a prepaid card. For example, you can transfer money from your checking account or load funds at some retailers or financial institutions.

You might be charged one or more fees for using a prepaid card. The CFPB notes that if you get your prepaid card from a retailer, you should find a summary of fees on the card’s packaging. If you get your card from a different provider—online or over the phone, for example—the provider needs to share this information on paper or electronically.

Mobile wallet

You’ll probably have your phone with you when you’re traveling, right? Using a mobile wallet to make purchases is another modern alternative to traveler’s checks.

A mobile wallet is essentially a digital version of your real wallet. Depending on the wallet, you may be able to store things like credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, boarding passes, hotel reservations, event tickets and other types of personal data. 

Mobile wallets can be convenient, allowing you to make quick and easy payments using your phone or other mobile device when you’re on the go. And they typically use advanced technology that prevents your actual account numbers from being stored in the wallet.

There are lots of mobile wallets to choose from. Researching your options could help you see which will work best while you’re traveling. Keep in mind, some merchants might not take mobile wallet payments.

Traveler’s checks in a nutshell

Traveler’s checks can be a helpful way to pay for things abroad, but there are also more modern options available today, like credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards and mobile wallets. And with a travel credit card, you could earn rewards on your travel-related purchases.

Ready to upgrade the way you pay before your next trip? Compare Capital One travel credit cards today to find the best option for you, no matter where you’re headed. 

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Traveler’s Checks When Traveling Abroad — Useful or Outdated?

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Traveler’s Checks When Traveling Abroad — Useful or Outdated?

Table of Contents

What are traveler’s checks, how to buy and use traveler’s checks, what to do if traveler’s checks are stolen, best ways to use traveler’s checks, cons of using traveler’s checks, other alternatives, money tips for traveling abroad, final thoughts.

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our  Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

When traveling abroad, you might wonder how to pay for things once you arrive. Should you bring currency on your trip? Which currency should you bring? Can you get money once you arrive? How much cash should you carry at once?

Many of these questions can be answered by using traveler’s checks. Traveler’s checks might seem like an outdated choice, but they can still be useful in certain situations.

In this article, we’ll explain what traveler’s checks are, how they work, and when they might be worth the hassle. We’ll also explore other more common alternatives and give tips for obtaining foreign currency.

Traveler’s checks are documents that can be used like standard paper checks and cash. Travelers purchase them before they leave home to exchange for cash in the local currency when they arrive at their destination.

These checks are printed in varying denominations, and each check is uniquely numbered so that it can be replaced quickly if lost or stolen.

Banks, hotels, and merchants were once very used to accepting traveler’s checks. These places liked traveler’s checks because of the safeguards that were put in place. Basically, as long as the original signature matched the signature made at the time of the purchase, payment is guaranteed — eliminating any “bounced checks.”

Now, with the increased use of credit and debit cards (especially those with no foreign transaction fees ), prepaid cards, and ATMs on every corner, traveler’s checks have become less popular.

You may find it difficult to find banks or hotels that accept them , and if you do, you might be at the mercy of their business hours to cash them in.

You can still buy and use traveler’s checks in the U.S. and other countries.

Where To Buy Traveler’s Checks

You can find traveler’s checks offered by companies like American Express and Visa . You can also go to your local AAA office to purchase them.

The best place to purchase traveler’s checks is from your own bank, but unfortunately, many banks no longer offer traveler’s checks, including Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.

If you’re not sure if your bank offers traveler’s checks, it’s worth contacting them to confirm. If you are a customer, banks typically waive any fees to obtain them and this can add up because other companies can add on a 1% to 3% fee on top of the base currency amount that you request.

In order to obtain a traveler’s check, you will need to:

  • Either go in person to an eligible bank or visit the website of the traveler’s check issuer.
  • Select the total amount of currency to purchase.
  • Submit payment, including any fees.

How To Use Traveler’s Checks

Once you have the traveler’s checks, you need to know how to use them. Traveler’s checks work a bit differently than other forms of currency. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  • Sign the checks immediately. Follow the issuer’s instructions to find out where to sign (and only sign once).
  • Leave evidence of your traveler’s check purchase somewhere safe. If checks get lost or stolen, you’ll need to provide proof of purchase along with check numbers to get a refund. Leave those details with a friend or save them online for easy remote access.
  • Complete the payee and date fields. Once you have confirmed that the payee or bank will accept traveler’s checks, fill out the payee and date fields.
  • Sign the check again. You must complete this portion in-person to ensure that the signature matches the original. You may also need to show some sort of identification as well. This is key to keeping traveler’s checks secure.
  • If checks get lost or stolen, contact the issuer immediately. You may be able to get replacement checks locally, and the issuer needs to know which checks to cancel.

Traveler’s checks don’t expire , so if you don’t use them you can either keep them for future use or deposit them into your bank account once you’re home.

If all of your cash is stolen while you’re traveling abroad, you’ll have next to no chance of getting it back.

However, if this happens with your traveler’s checks, you’ll likely get them replaced as long as you’ve complied with your check issuer’s purchase agreement . This is the primary benefit of traveling with traveler’s checks.

Bottom Line: Treat your traveler’s checks like cash. If you lose your checks, you may not get replacements if your check issuer has reason to believe you didn’t safeguard them appropriately.

Here’s what to do if your traveler’s checks are lost or stolen:

  • Call the customer service phone number provided by your issuer or find it by accessing their website.
  • Provide proof that the check is yours by submitting the check number, proof of purchase, and your identification. It’s important to have easy access to this information for this reason.
  • If required by your issuer, provide evidence that you have reported your stolen check to the police.
  • Be sure to return any other refund paperwork requested.

If you don’t comply, you could experience delays or even have your claim denied. After you’ve reported your missing check, your provider will void it and issue you a new check.

Some issuers even pledge to get replacement checks out to you within 24 hours !

The following are situations when you might consider using traveler’s checks:

1. No Access to Credit or Debit Card

If you don’t have a credit card or a debit card tied to your bank account, a traveler’s check could be a safe alternative to simply carrying lots of cash abroad.

This tip also applies if your particular credit or debit card isn’t accepted abroad. This is more likely to happen if your card is something other than a Visa or Mastercard , as those credit cards claim the widest global network.

2. Limited Access to ATMs

In many places, you can easily get cash in the local currency at an ATM once you arrive. This wouldn’t be a problem in Europe, for example, but ATMs are rare in some parts of the world. In addition, ATMs can malfunction, networks can be down, and machines might even run out of cash.

Traveler’s checks allow you to get local currency at participating banks, hotels, and other foreign locations without regard for these potential problems.

3. Access Good Exchange Rates 

Buying traveler’s checks can help you avoid bad exchange rates. If you decide to exchange currency once you arrive, you might not get the best conversion rates by doing this at the airport.

By purchasing traveler’s checks before you leave, you can lock in a set amount at the current exchange rate.

Read our guide for the best places to exchange currency .

4. Avoid Common Credit or Debit Fees

If your credit or debit card charges a foreign transaction fee , you can be charged a fee every time you make a purchase with your card in a foreign country. If your card also charges ATM fees, these fees can add up quickly.

To avoid these fees, it might make sense to use traveler’s checks. Although there may be a fee involved when you purchase or cash a traveler’s check, it might still be less than other fees your credit or debit card may charge.

Hot Tip: If your card charges a foreign transaction fee, it will typically be 3% of each purchase you make.

5. As an Added Safety Measure

If you’re traveling to a potentially unsafe region, traveler’s checks keep your money secure. Even if you’re in a relatively safe place, anyone who enters your room or has access to your bags could search for your money.

The main benefit of traveler’s checks is that they reduce your risk of theft or loss. Since they can’t be cashed without your signature and often require a photo ID, they are less appealing to thieves or pickpockets. They can also be easily replaced if you provide the issuer with the proper information.

Here are some reasons that might discourage you from using traveler’s checks:

1. Limited Availability for Use

In much of Europe and Asia, traveler’s checks are no longer widely accepted and cannot be easily cashed — even at the banks that issued them.

This means that cashing in traveler’s checks might require hunting down a bank branch or hotel that accepts them during business hours.

Bottom Line: Those relying solely on traveler’s checks may find that they are unable to cash them in many remote or rural locations.

2. Not All Banks Offer Them

Certain major banks, such as Bank of America, no longer offer traveler’s checks at all. This might mean ordering traveler’s checks online well in advance of your travel plans or having to find a new bank that offers them.

3. Potential for Additional Fees

If a company does offer traveler’s checks, it typically charges fees for both buying and cashing in a traveler’s check. While some banks offer them for free if you are a customer, others charge between 1% to 3% of the total purchase amount.

Check the math for your own situation, but using traveler’s checks could actually cost more than using an ATM or credit card abroad.

4. Bulky Paperwork

Not only are traveler’s checks a hassle to carry, but most companies also require that you keep proof of purchase for the checks to verify the check numbers if they are lost or stolen.

Both of these just add up to keeping track of additional paperwork.

Obviously, traveler’s checks aren’t your only option when it comes to obtaining foreign currency. Here are some other options you should consider.

Variety of Foreign Currency

Cash is convenient and relatively easy to exchange. You can bring money from home into a foreign bank or currency exchange location almost anywhere in the world. It can be easily exchanged without the worry of multiple bank fees or ATM fees adding up.

Hot Tip: Be aware: if you exchange your money in tourist areas, you might be hit with a bad exchange rate.

On the downside, carrying paper money is a risk since it can’t be replaced if stolen.

A debit card can be used at an ATM to collect cash. While not all ATM machines (especially in more rural places) accept foreign debit cards, you will find that most do.

Depending on your bank, you might even have to pay both an out-of-network ATM and an international ATM fee for this convenience.

Hot Tip: An out-of-network ATM fee is typically between $2 to $3.50 per transaction in 2021 and a typical international ATM fee can range from $2 to $7 per transaction (plus a 3% conversion fee), depending on your bank and card.

Most restaurants and stores accept foreign debit cards, but carrying a form of backup currency is always wise . Additionally, foreign transaction fees can add up quickly if you are using your debit card frequently.

Credit Card

Like debit cards, credit cards are small and easy to carry. Mastercard, Visa, and more recently, American Express , are widely accepted in other countries, so you can rest easy knowing you will be able to complete your purchases. You can also limit fees by getting a credit card with no foreign transaction fees .

A credit card also comes with fraud protection. You can dispute fraudulent charges and get them removed from your account if reported timely.

Hot Tip: While you can use a credit card for ATM transactions, you will be hit with a cash advance fee . It’s best to avoid doing this, if possible.

Prepaid Card

If you have difficulty getting approved for a credit card , a prepaid card could be a good alternative. You simply load the card with money from your bank account and use it as a debit card at an ATM or as a credit card at merchants and hotels.

While prepaid cards are locked with a PIN number, they can sometimes be difficult to use at ATM machines. Additionally, fees for foreign currency transactions can be as high as 7% , depending on the card.

Hot Tip: Booking hotels, airfare, or activities online will require either a credit card, debit card, or prepaid card.

Do Your Research

Know which types of currency are accepted at your destination and how much of each type (if any) you should bring. Especially be aware of any cash you might need on arrival (to obtain a visa , exchange upon arrival, etc.) in case you can’t immediately locate an ATM or a currency exchange office.

Carry a mix of cash, cards, and maybe even traveler’s checks. Ideally, the cards you bring with you shouldn’t have foreign transaction fees or ATM fees . Having some variety also helps if one of your cards isn’t accepted or your cash is lost or stolen. 

Tell Your Bank You Are Traveling

Always be sure to let your bank and credit card issuers know where you’re going and when so that your card isn’t declined when you try to make a purchase due to unusual activity.

If you exchange money at your bank, you will likely also get a better exchange rate.

Don’t Keep All of Your Money in 1 Place

Keep some of your currency or an extra card locked in your hotel room’s safe or in a money belt . In the terrible instance that you lose your purse or wallet, you would still have immediate access to additional money.

We’ve shown that traveler’s checks aren’t necessarily the most convenient way to take currency abroad, but depending on if you have limited access to debit or credit cards or they aren’t accepted where you are traveling, it might be worth it to bring some along.

Overall, if you’ve decided that traveler’s checks can be of use to you, taking some, along with some cash and a debit, credit, or prepaid card, may just be the smartest way to travel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you still buy traveler's checks.

While many larger banks are no longer offering traveler’s checks, they are still available at American Express and other smaller banks and credit unions. It is worth asking if your bank offers them and at what cost.

How much does it cost to buy traveler's checks?

While some banks offer them for free if you are a customer, others charge between 1% and 3% of the purchase amount.

What is the purpose of a traveler's check?

A traveler’s check offers a safer option than carrying around money. There are multiple safeguards in place to prevent fraud and if the checks are lost or stolen, they can be easily replaced.

Can you cash old traveler's checks?

Traveler’s checks do not expire. You can cash them in at any time — typically even at banks that don’t offer them for sale. This means you can go to your own bank and redeem your traveler’s checks.

To do this, date them, fill out the “Pay To” field (to your bank), and countersign in the presence of the cashier . Any unused value will be returned to you in cash.

Can I buy traveler's checks online?

American Express is the only large bank that offers traveler’s checks online. Its website offers a step-by-step process to order them.

You should check with your local bank or credit union to see if they might also offer this benefit.

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About Christy Rodriguez

After having “non-rev” privileges with Southwest Airlines, Christy dove into the world of points and miles so she could continue traveling for free. Her other passion is personal finance, and is a certified CPA.

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How Traveler's Checks Work in the Modern World

Can You Still Buy Traveler's Checks?

traveller's cheque use

  • What Are Traveler’s Checks?

Best Ways to Use Traveler’s Checks

Evolution of traveler’s checks, how to use traveler’s checks, frequently asked questions (faqs).

Traveler’s checks, once a necessity for traveling abroad, can keep your money safe. While modern alternatives accomplish most of what traveler’s checks do, those checks are far from useless. Traveler’s checks probably don’t need to be your primary resource in areas with an ATM in every town (or on every corner), but they make for an excellent backup plan.

What Are Traveler’s Checks, Anyway?

That’s a fair question in the modern world. Traveler’s checks are paper documents that can be used like standard paper checks and cash. Traditionally, travelers carried these checks to get cash in local currency and pay merchants. Issuers print checks in varying denominations, and checks can be replaced quickly if lost or stolen. With the spread of digital payment options and ATMs, traveler’s checks have become less popular and more difficult to use.

Here are situations when you might want to use traveler's checks.

Low-Tech Access to Cash

In many places, you can get cash in local currency at an ATM , but they're rare in some areas of the world. What’s more, ATMs can malfunction , communication networks might be down, and machines occasionally run out of cash. Traveler’s checks allow you to get local currency at banks, hotels, and foreign exchange offices with a familiar piece of paper. That said, converting a traveler’s check to cash can be challenging and time-consuming.

Added Security

Traveler’s checks keep your money secure. Recipients are supposed to watch you countersign and compare signatures carefully when you use a traveler’s check, making them lose value when lost or stolen. Credit and debit cards provide similar protection, but they are more attractive to thieves who often use them successfully before you disable the stolen cards. You can replace lost or stolen traveler’s checks or get a refund from the issuer. On extended trips, you can keep traveler’s checks on hand for emergencies without risking large financial losses.

Currency Control

Buying traveler’s checks in your destination country’s currency helps you avoid surprises when it comes to exchange rates. You might not get the best conversion rates at home, but you can at least secure a portion of what you need at current rates.

Traveler’s checks aren’t what they used to be. Banks, hotels, and even merchants were once accustomed to taking traveler’s checks from foreigners. Nowadays, you may not be able to find anybody willing to accept a traveler’s check (or the process will be harder than in days past).

Prepaid travel cards are the modern version of traveler’s checks. They allow you to get local currency from ATMs and make purchases with merchants—effectively eliminating the need for traveler’s checks.

Prepaid cards are not linked to your bank account , which prevents anybody from draining your checking account if the card gets lost or stolen—and you can’t go into debt. Credit cards offer similar (or better) protection , but you might not want to use your everyday card abroad. By using a dedicated travel card, you avoid spreading your card numbers around, which means you can be less vigilant about monitoring your accounts when you get back home.

Visa and MasterCard both offer prepaid cards designed for use abroad. Those cards are available online, through travel agents, and at banks or credit unions. 

Travel cards should feature low ATM fees, technology that lets you operate like a local in foreign countries, emergency cash when you lose the card, and “zero liability” fraud protection. That said, prepaid cards can be expensive , so you need to compare fees against your other cards to decide whether or not a travel card makes sense.

As an alternative, if you already have credit or debit cards that you rarely use, reserve those cards for foreign travel. Be sure to test the card if it’s been dormant, check with the card issuer before you leave home, and monitor your accounts after you return.

Contact your card issuer before you travel. Otherwise, your purchases may be flagged as fraudulent, which could cause your account to be frozen.

You can still buy traveler’s checks in the U.S. and other countries. In the U.S., checks are available primarily from American Express , but you may need to do some legwork to get your hands on new checks.

Here are a few tips for using traveler's checks.

  • Keep purchase records separate from the checks: If checks get lost or stolen, you’ll need to provide proof of purchase and check numbers to get a refund. Leave those details with a friend or online for remote access.
  • Sign the checks immediately after you get them: Follow the issuer’s instructions to find out where to sign (and only sign once). You’ll sign the checks again when you use them to make a purchase or get cash.
  • Fill in the payee and date when you’re ready to use a check: Be sure that the payee actually accepts traveler’s checks before you do so.
  • Sign the check again when you complete your payment: The person or business you’re paying must be present to watch you sign. This ensures that the signatures are valid as both signatures must match.
  • Traveler’s checks don’t expire: You can either keep them for future use or deposit them into your bank account once you’re home.
  • If checks get lost or stolen, contact the issuer immediately: You may be able to get replacement checks locally, and the issuer needs to know which checks are potential fraud risks.

Where can I buy traveler's checks?

Most traveler's checks in the U.S. are issued by American Express, but you can also buy them through various small banks and credit unions throughout the country. Call your bank, or check online to see whether it offers this service.

What do traveler's checks cost?

You'll usually have to pay a service charge of between 1% and 4% for traveler's checks. Fees typically will be higher if you purchase from an institution where you don't already have an account.

What are the differences among a traveler's check, a cashier's check, and a money order?

Traveler's checks, cashier's checks , and money orders are all issued by banks and can be used as cash or personal-check substitutes for purchases in the U.S. However, traveler's checks are the best choice if you're traveling outside the country. They're designed to be accepted anywhere in the world, come in small denominations, and can be easily replaced if lost. They're also fairly secure, because you don't sign them a second time until you're in the presence of the recipient. However, they are becoming less common and are not as widely accepted as they once were.

American Express. " Online Travelers Cheques Redemption: Frequently Asked Questions ."

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. " What Is the Difference Between a Prepaid Card, a Credit Card, and a Debit Card? "

Visa. " Visa TravelMoney Prepaid ."

Mastercard. " Prepaid Travel Card by Mastercard ."

Federal Trade Commission. " When a Company Declines Your Credit or Debit Card ."

American Express. " Acceptance of American Express Travelers Cheques ," Page 2.

American Express. " American Express Travelers Cheques ."

Frommer's. " Traveler's Checks ."

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A Guide to Travellers Cheques

Once a foreign currency staple, this form of prepaid funds has existed for hundreds of years, designed as a way to allow payment from one person to another across currencies. As the financial services sector continues to shift to online solutions , we look at how, where and why travellers cheques are used, as we discuss the relevance of this form of currency.

April Summers

What are travellers cheques?

The history of the travellers cheque spans as far back as 1772 when the first of its kind was issued by the London Credit Exchange Company, in the UK. Over the coming centuries the concept became popularised on a global scale, with major banks and financial institutions adopting this form of travel money in the 20th century. American Express became the largest issuer of travellers cheques and continues to offer these services to customers to this day.

A safe and convenient method of payment for anyone travelling to foreign territories, these pre-printed cheques hold a fixed amount which can be used worldwide across a range of currencies. Designed to facilitate payments from one person to another, using different currencies, travellers cheques were initially seen as a more practical way for individuals to carry their spending money.

Travellers cheques had their heyday in the late 20th century, reaching peak popularity in the mid-90s, before alternatives such as credit and debit cards became more widely available and easier to manage financial transactions. It was reported in 2018 that a mere 1.5% of Britons use travellers cheques, a rapid decrease over the course of two decades.

How do you use travellers cheques?

When you first receive your travellers cheques, you will be required to sign each one before use, as a way of verifying your signature. Each cheque will have a fixed value (usually $20, $50, $100, $500 etc.) as well as a unique serial number which can typically be found in the top right corner.

It is important to take note of these serial numbers as they will be referenced in any case of lost or stolen cheques. Unlike cash, if anything happens to your travellers cheques, the original vendor will be able to issue a refund for the exact same value. This added level of security is why this payment method was seen as revolutionary when first introduced.

As well as signing upon receipt, you will also need to sign each travellers cheque when used by a retailer or exchanged for cash. The act of signing your name as a form of security is somewhat outdated, given the modern technologies in place nowadays.

When accepted by retailers, a travellers cheque will be treated like local currency, which means you should receive any change in the standard, local currency.

Where can I get travellers cheques?

Due to dwindling demand, travellers cheques are not as readily available as they once were. However, they can still be acquired from some banks and financial institutions, post offices and currency exchange offices, like Travelex.

One thing to note is you may be required to settle the handling, commission or cash-in fees that often accompany travellers cheques, and these can be expensive, amounting to 2 - 3% in some cases. This cost is another reason they are no longer as frequently used.

Where can I use travellers cheques?

Generally, travellers cheques are still accepted all over the world, albeit harder to find vendors selling them and retailers accepting them as legal tender. Consider your destination before deciding on this form of travel money: if you are travelling to major cities there is more chance of you finding somewhere to cash your cheques or use them for in-store purchases. However, more remote destinations may not be equipped or able to accept this type of funds.

How safe are travellers cheques?

The original blueprint for travellers cheques was a paper payment method which could be used as foreign currency but was more secure than handling cash. At the height of its popularity, travellers cheques were generally considered much safer than cash due to the added security of their unique serial numbers, meaning customers could cancel and replace cheques if need be. These numerical codes were a money-back guarantee for anyone whose cheques were misplaced, destroyed or stolen. Another added benefit, if your travellers cheques are intercepted, you will not be vulnerable to bank fraud, as they are in no way connected to your bank account, unlike credit or debit cards.

Financial security measures have evolved greatly since the inception of travellers cheques, however, with the introduction of PIN codes, two-factor authentication, fingerprint touch ID and facial recognition, to name a few forms of fintech security commonly available now. With this in mind, the concept of a travellers cheque no longer measures up in terms of fraud protection and data encryption.

Travellers cheque vs. Cashiers cheque: What is the difference?

In terms of appearance, a travellers cheque looks nearly identical to a standard issue cashier's cheque: but are they similar in any other ways?

A cashiers cheque is issued by a bank or financial institution and is designed to be processed quickly, by the individual whose name is printed on the cheque. Conversely, a travellers cheque is for use overseas, is loaded with prepaid foreign currency - usually USD or GBP - and does not have a name or account number printed on it, although it does require a signature. Because travellers cheques do not have any bank details printed on them, they are deemed safer than cashiers cheques in terms of potential for fraudulent use. In addition to this, they are paid for when printed, meaning it is not possible for a travellers cheque to bounce.

What are the alternatives?

Credit or debit cards.

If you are worried about travellers cheques not being widely accepted where you are going, then this form of travel money will offer more flexibility. Using your regular bank cards overseas provides a record of spending and offers maximum convenience, but there are also some frequently flagged concerns. Primarily these concerns focus on the sky-high fees and below-average exchange rates related to using your debit or credit card abroad. This isn’t always the case, however, as many banks and financial institutions offer travel credit cards, tailored to suit the needs of frequent flyers.

traveller's cheque use

Travel money cards

Prepaid travel money cards are the modern equivalent to travellers cheques and have become very popular. This is largely due to the fact that they are totally separate from your regular bank account, allowing users to spend their balance freely without the worry of potential fraud or overspending. Preloaded with funds, travel money cards often help limit additional currency exchange charges. In addition to this, in spite of fluctuating currency rates, these cards let customers lock-in a favourable exchange rate ahead of time.

traveller's cheque use

International bank accounts

If you are headed overseas for a sustained period of time, it could be more convenient and cost-effective to open a bank account in your destination country. You would be subject to the relevant security and eligibility checks but this decision pays off if you are making regular international money transfers or being paid in a different currency by foreign clients. Find out more about this option by reading our guide: How to Open a Bank Account Overseas.

traveller's cheque use

Due to the growing alternative digital payment methods available nowadays, it seems this age-old travel money no longer measures up in terms of accessibility, cost and convenience. When travellers cheques were originally launched, ATM withdrawals were not commonplace for travellers, and digital point of sale systems had not been invented. Nowadays, it is easy to access local currency using an assortment of different payment methods such as debit or credit cards, travel money cards or money transfer apps .

The best option for anyone who is reluctant to use their debit or credit card overseas, would be to use a prepaid travel money card. Prepaid travel money cards are a safer and more widely used alternative to travellers cheques, and customers do not need to seek out a bank to use them, are not required to sign for each transaction and security measures in place are far more advanced. This method enables customers to secure multiple foreign currencies, locking in the optimum exchange rate for your currency pairing ahead of your trip abroad. Use our comparison tool to ensure you receive the most competitive exchange rates for your international money needs.

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What Are Traveller’s Cheques and How Do They Work?

You’ve probably heard of traveller’s cheques but may not have used them. A traveller’s cheque is among the many cashless methods of paying for services or goods. However, traveller’s cheques have been losing their popularity since the onset of credit and debit cards.

The good news is that traveller’s cheques are still functional and can save you from the stress and risk of carrying a huge chunk of money while travelling.

Here, we will answer the following questions:

  • What are traveller’s cheques?
  • How do they work?
  • What are the benefits of traveller’s cheques?
  • Can traveller’s cheques be a hassle?
  • What are alternatives to traveller’s cheques?

Let’s get started.

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What are Traveller’s Cheques?

A traveller’s cheque is a printed cheque that allows payment from one person to another and across currencies. So, travellers get the cheque before they travel to exchange it with the local currency after getting to their destination.

You can easily get traveller’s cheques in Canada from financial institutions like American Express or Visa. Also, some local banks offer traveller’s cheques, but most of them scrapped it a long time ago.

How Do Traveller’s Cheques Work?

Traveller’s cheques do not bounce since you pay upfront for a specific amount that you wish to spend. The cheque will have a fixed value and a unique serial number.

Once you receive your traveller’s cheque, you should be conversant with how to use it. So, you should follow the issuer’s instructions and sign the traveller’s cheque upon receipt. 

When making purchases, countersign the cheque in the presence of the receiver; the recipient should compare the signatures and confirm that they match. Any change is returned in the local currency since the traveller’s cheque is accepted at the same exchange rate as a cash payment.

However, you must enquire from the recipient if they accept traveller’s cheques as a means of payment before making any purchases. While the traveller’s cheques still work, some institutions and persons refer to them as outdated and do not accept them. You can still make the purchases in such cases, but you need to deposit the traveller’s cheque and receive cash in the local currency. Also, do your research ahead of your trip. Ensure that you can easily access services via your traveller’s cheque before purchasing them.

Most importantly, keep the details of your traveller’s cheque safe. If you lose your traveller’s cheque, you need to provide proof of purchase and the unique serial number to get a refund. Also, contact your cheque issuer immediately after losing your traveller’s cheque.

The traveller’s cheques do not expire. Therefore, you can keep them safe and use them in the future. Alternatively, you can deposit them in your bank account once you get home.

Benefits of Traveller’s Cheques

Here are the various advantages of traveller’s cheques.

  • Safety: Traveller’s cheques are safe and can allow you to carry a large amount of money while travelling. 
  • Refunds are possible: With traveller’s cheques, you can get a refund after you lose and report the issue to your issuer. Also, you can deposit your traveller cheque at your bank once you get home.
  • Does not expire: Your traveller’s cheque does not expire and can be kept and used again in the future.
  • Branded Cheques: The American Express and Visa offer branded traveller’s cheques that come in various denominations and are readily acceptable globally.
  • Good exchange rates: In some cases, traveller’s cheques can access a better conversion rate.

Can Traveller’s Cheques Be A Hassle?

Traveller’s cheques have several advantages, but today, you can experience many struggles while using them.

For starters, the cheques have become outdated. Therefore, most hotels, banks, and individuals will decline them.

As a result, you will likely be forced to hunt down banks and hotels that will accept the traveller’s cheques prior to travelling. If you travel without doing your research, you can be frustrated finding that the cheques are not accepted at your destination.

Also, most banks no longer offer traveller’s cheques. The few banks that offer the cheques might charge you traveller’s cheque fees for the service.

Other Payment Methods That You Might Consider

Purchasing a traveller’s cheque may save you from the stress of carrying a large amount of money that can get lost or stolen. However, it has several limitations.

So, while travelling, you may need to consider the following alternatives:

Debit Cards

The popularity of debit cards is increasing every day. The size of the card and its acceptability rate make it among the most convenient methods of payment. So, many foreign banks, hotels, and ATMs accept foreign debit cards.

Credit Cards

Like a debit card, a credit card is small and secure to travel to various places. Besides, credit cards like MasterCard, Visa, and American Express are accepted as a method of payment in most countries globally.

Although carrying a huge amount of money while travelling is risky, it’s ideal to have a certain amount of money in cash for emergency purposes. For that reason, ensure you bring with you a given amount in the form of cash.

Prepaid Card

Prepaid cards work like debit cards and credit cards since you load them with your bank account money. Therefore, you can use your prepaid card as a debit card on the ATMs and credit card when making purchases and in hotels.

Traveller’s cheques are a safer, cashless method to use when travelling. 

However, with the growing popularity of debit cards and credit cards, traveller’s cheques are quickly losing their place in the payment method.

Also, they are unacceptable in most places, making them more unreliable when travelling to destinations that limit their use.  So, alongside your traveller’s cheque, carry your debit card, credit card, and some little cash to enjoy your travels .

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Understanding Traveler’s Checks: A Complete Guide

Are you planning to splurge on experiences, gifts, and food while you are abroad on your next international vacation? Leave your cash at home and bring a traveler’s check instead. While debit and credit cards have made traveler’s checks largely obsolete, it may be a viable option for your next trip. Learn about traveler’s checks, how to use them, and whether you should bring them on your next vacation.

What is a traveler’s check?

A traveler’s check contains a fixed amount of money and operates like cash. Bring a traveler’s check to a merchant to buy goods or services while traveling abroad. You can get traveler’s checks from financial institutions like banks and credit unions.

Traveler’s checks can come in a variety of currencies, so you can designate the appropriate currency for the country you’re planning to travel to. Traveler’s checks are great protective measures against both fluctuating exchange rates and personal theft. They come in fixed denominations that aren’t as volatile as normal exchange rates and they don’t expire. To protect you against theft, you must sign them when you purchase and cash them, so criminals will have a harder time duplicating your signature when attempting to use your traveler’s checks.

Alternatively, you can also convert your traveler’s checks into cash, which can then be deposited into your bank. Hotels may also cash traveler’s check with no charge. If you end up not using the full amount on your traveler’s check, you can conveniently return the funds to your bank account.

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Should you use a traveler’s check?

Traveler’s checks were primarily used before the popularization of credit cards and prepaid debit cards. Even so, traveler’s checks are still a worthwhile option for your next trip.

Benefits of traveler’s checks

Some benefits of traveler’s checks are:

  • Replaceability: If a traveler’s check is lost or stolen, you can replace it. Each traveler’s check comes with a unique serial number. Call the check issuer to report it lost or stolen. They will likely require you to provide evidence of your purchased check through its serial number and your proof of identity.
  • Convenience : Traveler’s checks operate like cash and are easy to use for purchases. You just need to load the amount you need, and you can use them around the world.
  • No expiration : You don’t have to worry about traveler’s checks expiring. You can buy them when you want to and use them whenever you need them.

Cons of traveler’s checks

Some cons of using traveler’s checks are:

  • Outdated: With the popularization of prepaid debit cards and credit cards, traveler’s checks are outdated. You can use credit cards and prepaid debit cards similarly to traveler’s checks.
  • Fees: When you buy a traveler’s check, there is an additional fee. You can avoid this by using a debit or credit card instead.
  • Limited issuers: Traveler’s checks aren’t available at all financial institutions. Unless your bank offers them nationwide, it can be hard to find them.

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Pros and cons of using travelers checks when going abroad

Editorial team.

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When traveling abroad, it’s important that you are able to buy the goods and services you need with as few hurdles as possible.

  • Paper-based money is accepted at most places, but it could lose value every time you exchange it. While there may be ATMs available that allow you to take out small amounts of cash each day, you could be charged withdrawal fees, especially if the bank is not your own. In addition, you run the risk of your cash being lost or stolen.
  • Although using a credit card when traveling abroad is a popular option, not all merchants accept plastic. Those that do might only take chip cards. However, credit cards do have more of an advantage when it comes to fraud protection and liability coverage.

In between these two payment options are travelers checks (a.k.a. cheques). Although not ideal in all circumstances, travelers checks can offer some important benefits. Before diving into the pros and cons of travelers checks, it’s important to understand what they are and how they work.

What is a travelers check?

Travelers checks are a medium of exchange designed for the express purpose of foreign travel. Prior to an upcoming trip, would-be travelers can visit a local bank, AAA, or travel agency to purchase these checks, with most travelers check denominations ranging from $20 at the lower end to $1,000 at the higher end.

Once abroad, you can either:

  • Use these checks to make purchases at participating hotels or retail stores
  • Exchange your checks for cash in the local currency at participating banks or check cashing agencies

Because every check carries a unique serial number, they’re insured against theft and loss. If a traveler loses a check, the original bank can cancel it and issue a replacement to be picked up at a local bank or travel agency in the destination country.

Advantages of travelers checks

One of the main advantages of using travelers checks is that they are easy to cancel or replace. If your wallet is stolen, you can receive replacement checks — provided that you still have the serial numbers of the missing ones.

This is in sharp contrast to cash, because when it’s gone…it’s gone, and credit cards can be difficult to replace when overseas.

Another advantage is that travelers checks are  indirectly  accepted everywhere.  Simply convert your check into cash, and you now have enough local currency to buy whatever you need.

Travelers checks may also carry lower fees than credit cards do — but be prepared to pay slightly higher exchange rates. 

Challenges of using travelers checks

One of the main challenges of using travelers checks could be the ability to exchange them. This might not seem like a big deal as you’re preparing for your trip, but imagine landing in a foreign city late at night and not being able to exchange your travelers checks into usable cash.

Despite the time of day you arrive, travelers checks aren’t accepted everywhere. Many smaller towns may not have services that can convert checks into money.

Another challenge is keeping track of all of the serial numbers of each check in the event that you need to cancel or replace them. It’s important you keep those numbers separate from your wallet. While this may not be a deal breaker for you, it’s definitely something to consider as you plan your trip.

Travelers checks typically carry less competitive exchange rates than what credit cards offer. It can be difficult to determine the best amount for each stop, so consider requesting travelers checks in the smallest denominations possible.

Are travelers checks right for your trip?

While travelers checks may not seem practical — especially at a time when ATMs and credit card terminals are so popular worldwide — they can provide additional insurance against the loss or theft of other payment types.

Since travelers checks don’t expire, whatever amount you don’t use can be exchanged for US dollars at your local bank when you return home. Once you know how to use travelers checks safely and correctly, there’s no reason not to have a few on-hand for your next trip.

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Travellers Cheques FAQ

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American Express® Travelers Cheques

Travelers cheques are backed by american express.

For more than a century American Express Travelers Cheques have helped travellers protect their money. Travelers Cheques may be refunded if lost or stolen. (Terms, conditions and restrictions apply. Identification and proof of purchase required.)

Travelers Cheques never expire

Unused Travelers Cheques can be used for future trips or redeemed.

Redeeming your Travelers Cheques.

1. Redeem your Travelers Cheques with American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc

You can call American Express customer service on ( 0008000404722 ) to register a direct redemption claim (1) . You can find additional  contact numbers  based on your location or alternatively Email us.  Click here  to register for our secure Email service.

2. Deposit your Travelers Cheques with your Bank       

Some banks allow account holders to deposit Travelers Cheques (subject to bank’s policies and procedures) - including foreign currency Travelers Cheques - to their bank account. Please check with your bank if they allow deposit of Travelers Cheques. (Clearing fees may apply.)

3. Exchange your Travelers Cheques for Local Currency

      Travelers Cheques are welcomed at thousands of locations worldwide (Exchange fees may apply). Click / Tap below to find locations near you (2) .

(1) American Express usually process claims & initiate payments within 5 business days. However, when documents are required to process the claim, it can take up to 30 days, from when the documents are received, for a claim to be processed & a payment initiated. Travelers Cheque Encashment service is provided by American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

(2) It is highly recommended that you call the location prior to your visit and verify fees, limits, restrictions, exchange rates and availability.

May be refunded if lost or stolen*

24/7 customer support

Accepted at thousands of locations worldwide

Never expire

Travelers Cheques Service Centre

Get help with your Travelers Cheques and find answers to common questions about them

How to use Travelers Cheques

As soon as possible, sign your name on the upper signature line to help protect yourself in case of loss or theft. 

Write down your serial numbers and keep them with you when you travel, separated from your Travelers Cheques. 

Safeguard your Travelers Cheques as you would cash. 

To redeem, sign your Travelers Cheque on the lower signature line in front of the person accepting your Cheques.

Lost or Stolen Travelers Cheques

American Express Travelers Cheques are safe and secure. If they are ever lost or stolen, the funds may be refunded.*

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHEQUES ARE LOST OR STOLEN

1. Locate serial numbers

Have the serial numbers for your lost or stolen Cheques on hand when you call.

Call an American Express Travelers Cheque Customer Service Centre on ( 0008000404722 ) or find the  contact number for your current location as soon as possible to report the loss and open a claim. Service Centres handle claims 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

3. Receiving your refund

If your claim is approved we will help determine the best way for you to obtain a refund.

* Terms, conditions and restrictions apply. Identification and proof of purchase required.

Why are Travelers Cheques safe and secure?

Travelers Cheques are safe and secure because if they are ever lost or stolen, they may be refunded.

Where do I sign my Travelers Cheques?

Travelers Cheques should be signed on the upper signature line as soon as possible after purchase.

USING TRAVELERS CHEQUES

Where are Travelers Cheques accepted?

There are thousands of foreign exchange partners in countries around the world where you can exchange your American Express Travelers Cheques for local currency.  Click here  to find places to redeem your Travelers Cheques. It may also be possible to redeem your Travelers Cheques directly for goods and services. Check first though with the merchant.

Can I redeem my Travelers Cheques directly with American Express? If you are unable to find or visit a nearby location to redeem your Travelers Cheques please call Customer Service on ( 0008000404722 ) or find the  contact number for your current location or alternatively Email us. Click here to register for our secure Email service. Redemption of your Travelers Cheques directly with American Express may take longer than 30 days, depending on the circumstances of the request. There may be restrictions on the currency and method of redemption and the value of Travelers Cheques that can be directly redeemed.

How do I cash Travelers Cheques?

Simply present the Cheque at the exchange or merchant location. Make sure the acceptor watches while you countersign the Cheque on the lower signature line. Photo identification may be required. We strongly recommended you retain and carry your original purchase receipt with you when you travel. Commission charges may apply and can vary by country or exchange partner. Exchange limits may apply due to local regulations and exchange policies.

What happens if I sign my Travelers Cheques in the wrong place, or if my signatures don't match?

Acceptance of Travelers Cheques is based on the acceptor watching the customer sign the Cheque on the lower signature line, and then comparing that signature with the original signature on the upper signature line . The acceptor must observe the customer signing the Cheque. If the signatures are a reasonable match, the Cheque should be accepted. Photo identification may be required at the discretion of the Acceptor. As always, if the acceptor is unsure, they should call an American Express Travelers Cheque Customer Service Centre.

Is there a fee to cash Travelers Cheques?

Commission charges may apply and can vary by country and/or exchange partner. Before you travel we recommend that you click here  to find the most convenient Travelers Cheque exchange locations, along with any information about fees that they have shared with us.

Do Travelers Cheques expire?

Travelers Cheques do not expire. Unused Travelers Cheques can be used for future trips.

What should be done with a deceased person's unused Travelers Cheques?

A refund can be arranged for the unused Travelers Cheque to the next of kin or beneficiary. Please call Customer Services on ( 0008000404722 ) or find the  contact number to find the customer service number for your current location or alternatively Email us. Click here to register for our secure Email service. What happens if my Cheques are lost or stolen?

Lost or stolen Travelers Cheques may be refunded.* Please call Customer Services on ( 0008000404722 ) or find the  contact number for your current location.

For other questions regarding Travelers Cheques, please call Customer Services on ( 0008000404722 ) or find the  contact number for your current location or alternatively Email us. Click here to register for our secure Email service.

Terms and Conditions

Following are the terms and conditions for obtaining a refund for lost or stolen Travelers Cheques.

PURCHASE AGREEMENT

Read this Agreement carefully. By either buying, signing, accepting or using these American Express®Travelers Cheques (“Cheques”), you agree to everything written here: You agree (a) To sign your Cheques immediately in the upper left corner, (b) Not to resell, consign, or take any similar action to transfer your Cheques to any other individual, company or entity for resale or reuse.

American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. (“Amexco”) will replace or refund the amount shown on any lost or stolen Cheque in accordance with applicable laws and only if you meet all of the requirements below:

BEFORE LOSS

  • You have signed the Travelers Cheque in the upper left-hand corner in permanent ink.
  • You have not signed the Cheque in the lower left-hand corner.
  • You have not given the Cheque to another person or company to hold or keep, or as part of a confidence game.
  • You have not used the Cheque in violation of any law, including as part of an illegal bet, game of chance or other prohibited action.
  • Your Cheque has not been taken by court order or by government action.
  • You have safeguarded the Cheque as a prudent person would safeguard a like amount of cash.
  • You promptly notify Amexco of the loss or theft of the Cheque.
  • You promptly report all facts of the loss or theft to Amexco and also to the police if Amexco asks you to.
  • You promptly inform Amexco of the serial number of the lost or stolen Cheque and the place and date of its purchase.
  • You promptly complete Amexco's refund forms and provide Amexco with acceptable proof of your identity.
  • You give Amexco all reasonable information and help requested to make a complete investigation of the loss or theft. Amexco reserves the right to investigate the loss or theft and to verify compliance with this Purchase Agreement and shall not be responsible for any delays resulting from such an investigation.
  • Please note that for quality assurance purposes your telephone call to Amexco may be monitored or recorded and that you consent to such monitoring and recording.

NO STOP PAYMENT

Amexco cannot stop payment on any Cheque.

Sign your Cheques immediately in the upper left hand corner.

Still need help?

If you would like to call us please call customer services on ( 0008000404722 )  or click on “Phone” icon below to get the Customer Service Phone number for your current location

If you would like to send us an Email

click the “Email” icon below to register for our secure Email service.

American Express stopped issuing Travelers Cheques, so they’re no longer available for purchase.

Support is available by phone and the American Express website for customers to redeem valid Travelers Cheques.

Travelers Cheques remain backed by American Express and have no expiration date.

The Ultimate Guide On Checking American Express Travelers Cheque

  • Last updated May 11, 2024
  • Difficulty Intemediate

Melissa Carey

  • Category Travel

how to check american express travelers cheque

Travelers cheques have long been a popular choice for travelers looking for a safe and convenient way to carry their money abroad. Among the many options available, American Express travelers cheques have earned a reputation for their worldwide acceptance and security features. However, with the rise of digital payments and the decline of physical currency, many people may be unfamiliar with how to check their American Express travelers cheques. In this ultimate guide, we will walk you through the steps to ensure the authenticity of your travelers cheques and provide you with valuable tips to make the most of your travel money. So, if you're planning on using American Express travelers cheques on your next vacation, read on to learn everything you need to know about checking them.

What You'll Learn

Introduction to american express travelers cheques, step-by-step guide to checking american express travelers cheques, common issues and troubleshooting when checking travelers cheques, helpful tips and recommendations for using american express travelers cheques.

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If you are planning on traveling abroad or need a secure and convenient way to carry money, then American Express Travelers Cheques might be the solution for you. These cheques have been a popular choice for travelers for many years, offering peace of mind and security that cash cannot provide.

American Express Travelers Cheques are a form of prepaid currency that can be used worldwide. They are available in various denominations, such as $20, $50, $100, and $500, allowing you to customize your payment amount based on your needs.

To use American Express Travelers Cheques, you simply need to sign the cheques at the time of purchase. Make sure to sign them in the upper left-hand corner, and keep a separate record of the cheque numbers in case they are lost or stolen.

To check the validity and value of your American Express Travelers Cheques, there are a few steps you can take:

  • Look for the security features: American Express Travelers Cheques have various security features to ensure their authenticity. These features include a watermark, a security thread, and a unique serial number. Take a close look at each cheque to verify its security features.
  • Visit the American Express website: The American Express website has a dedicated section for travelers cheque services. You can visit their website and enter the unique serial numbers of your cheques to check their validity and remaining value. This is a quick and convenient way to check your cheques, especially if you have access to the internet.
  • Call American Express customer service: If you are unable to access the internet or prefer to speak with a representative, you can call American Express customer service. They have a dedicated helpline for travelers cheque services, where you can provide the representative with the serial numbers of your cheques. They will be able to verify the validity and remaining value of your cheques over the phone.
  • Visit an authorized American Express location: If you prefer to speak with someone in person, you can visit an authorized American Express location. There, you can present your cheques to the representative, who will be able to verify their validity and provide you with the remaining value.

It is important to note that American Express Travelers Cheques are not the same as personal or business cheques. They are a specific form of prepaid currency that can be used in place of cash. While they are widely accepted worldwide, it is always a good idea to check with the merchants or establishments you will be visiting to ensure they accept American Express Travelers Cheques.

American Express Travelers Cheques offer security, convenience, and peace of mind for travelers. By following the steps above, you can easily check the validity and value of your cheques before and during your journey, ensuring a hassle-free experience wherever you go.

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Are you planning to travel abroad and wondering how to check your American Express Travelers Cheques? Don't worry! Checking your American Express Travelers Cheques is a simple process that can give you peace of mind during your trip. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of checking your American Express Travelers Cheques.

Step 1: Gather your documents

Before you start, make sure you have your American Express Travelers Cheques, your identification document (such as a passport or driving license), and the receipt you received when you purchased the cheques. These documents are essential for the process.

Step 2: Locate an authorized establishment

To check your American Express Travelers Cheques, you will need to find an authorized establishment that accepts them. These establishments can be banks, foreign exchange offices, or certain hotels and resorts. This information can usually be found on the American Express website or by contacting their customer service.

Step 3: Visit the authorized establishment

Once you have located an authorized establishment, visit them during their business hours. It is always a good idea to call ahead and inquire about their specific requirements and any fees they may charge for cashing travelers cheques.

Step 4: Provide your identification

Once you are at the authorized establishment, approach the teller and let them know that you would like to cash your American Express Travelers Cheques. They will ask you to provide your identification document, which they will use to verify your identity.

Step 5: Present your American Express Travelers Cheques and receipt

Next, present your American Express Travelers Cheques to the teller. They will carefully examine the cheques and compare them with the serial numbers on your receipt to ensure their authenticity. It is crucial to keep your receipt with you, as it serves as proof of purchase.

Step 6: Sign the cheques

After verifying the authenticity of the cheques, the teller will ask you to sign each cheque in their presence. This signature should match the one you used when you initially purchased the cheques.

Step 7: Receive your cash

Once you have signed the cheques, the teller will count the amount of money you are entitled to based on the denominations of the cheques and exchange rates. They will then give you the equivalent amount in your local currency.

Step 8: Verify the cash received

Before leaving the establishment, take a moment to count the cash you received to ensure that it matches the amount you were expecting.

Step 9: Secure your cash and cheques

Finally, make sure to secure your cash and remaining cheques in a safe place. It is wise to distribute them across different locations to minimize the risk of loss or theft during your travels.

Remember, always check the expiration date of your American Express Travelers Cheques before your trip. If they expire before you use them, you will need to contact American Express for assistance.

Checking your American Express Travelers Cheques is a vital step in your travel preparations. By following this step-by-step guide, you can easily navigate the process and ensure that you have access to funds when you need them. So, go ahead and enjoy your trip with the peace of mind that comes with your checked American Express Travelers Cheques!

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Travelers cheques are a popular way of carrying money when traveling, as they offer security and peace of mind. However, there may be some common issues and troubleshooting steps you need to know when checking American Express travelers cheques. Here are some helpful tips to ensure a smooth process:

  • Verify the authenticity: Before accepting any travelers cheque, it is crucial to verify its authenticity. Look out for security features, such as embedded watermarks, holograms, or special ink. You can visit the American Express website or contact their customer service to learn more about the security features of their travelers cheques.
  • Check the issuance date: Travelers cheques have an expiration date, typically within a few years of issuance. Ensure that the cheque you received is still valid. Expired cheques may not be accepted, so it's important to check the validity before trying to cash or use them.
  • Endorse the cheque: To protect yourself from potential fraud, always endorse the travelers cheque in the presence of the accepting authority. This usually involves signing your name in the designated area on the front of the cheque. Make sure your signature matches the one on your identification documents to avoid any issues.
  • Provide proper identification: When cashing or using travelers cheques, you'll usually be required to provide proper identification. Carry a valid passport or a government-issued photo ID, which is generally accepted at most financial institutions and retail establishments.
  • Visit authorized locations: American Express has a network of authorized banks and businesses that accept their travelers cheques. Before attempting to cash or use your cheques, research and locate the nearest authorized location. This will save you time and ensure a hassle-free experience.
  • Understand the fee structure: Although travelers cheques are secure, there may be some fees associated with using or cashing them. These fees can vary depending on the location and the value of the cheque. Be sure to understand the fee structure beforehand to avoid any surprises.
  • Report lost or stolen cheques: If your travelers cheques are lost or stolen, report the incident immediately to American Express. They have a 24/7 customer service hotline that can assist you with replacing the cheques or providing a refund. It's crucial to keep a record of the serial numbers of your cheques for identification purposes.
  • Contact customer service: If you encounter any issues or have questions about your American Express travelers cheques, don't hesitate to contact their customer service. They are available to assist you with any concerns, including checking the validity or cashing of your cheques.

Remember, always exercise caution when using travelers cheques. It's advisable to keep a copy of your identification documents separate from your cheques and maintain a record of the serial numbers. By following these tips, you can ensure a smooth experience when checking your American Express travelers cheques.

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Travelers cheques have long been a convenient and secure way to carry money while traveling. American Express, one of the most recognized names in travel, offers travelers cheques that are widely accepted around the world. If you have an American Express travelers cheque, you may be wondering how to check its validity and ensure that it is still usable. In this article, we will discuss some helpful tips and recommendations for using American Express travelers cheques.

  • Purchase travelers cheques from a reputable source: When buying American Express travelers cheques, it is important to do so from a reputable source, such as a bank or authorized dealer. This helps to ensure their validity and protect you against counterfeit or fraudulent cheques.
  • Keep a record of the cheque details: Before using your travelers cheques, it is a good idea to make a note of the cheque numbers and denominations. This way, if your cheques are lost or stolen, you can report the details to American Express and have them replaced.
  • Sign the cheques upon purchase: When you purchase your American Express travelers cheques, it is important to sign them immediately. This acts as a form of identification and prevents anyone else from using the cheques in case they are lost or stolen.
  • Use your cheques with caution: When using your travelers cheques, it is wise to exercise caution. Make sure to only use them at reputable businesses that accept American Express cheques. Avoid using them for small purchases or in unfamiliar or remote locations where they may be less accepted.
  • Check the validity of your cheques: To check the validity of your American Express travelers cheques, you can visit the American Express website or call their customer service hotline. They will be able to assist you in confirming that your cheques are valid and can provide information on where they can be used.
  • Replace lost or stolen cheques promptly: If your American Express travelers cheques are lost or stolen, it is important to report the loss immediately. Contact American Express as soon as possible to have the lost or stolen cheques cancelled and replaced. They will be able to guide you through the process and ensure the security of your funds.
  • Carry your cheques in a secure manner: When traveling with your American Express travelers cheques, it is important to carry them in a secure manner. Consider using a money belt or a secure wallet to protect them from theft or loss.
  • Keep a record of your transactions: It is a good practice to keep a record of your travelers cheque transactions. This can help you monitor your spending, track your expenses, and reconcile your cheques with your receipts.

In conclusion, American Express travelers cheques are a safe and convenient way to carry money while traveling. By following these helpful tips and recommendations, you can ensure the validity and usability of your cheques and have peace of mind during your travels. Remember to purchase your cheques from a reputable source, sign them upon purchase, use them with caution, and keep a record of their details. If they are lost or stolen, report the loss promptly and have them replaced. Happy travels!

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Frequently asked questions.

You can check the balance of your American Express Travelers Cheque online or by phone. Visit the American Express website and login to your account or call the customer service hotline and provide your account information to check the balance.

Yes, you can check the validity of your American Express Travelers Cheque by visiting the American Express website and entering the unique serial number printed on the cheque. This will verify whether the cheque is still valid and can be used for transactions.

To verify the authenticity of an American Express Travelers Cheque, you can compare it to security features listed on the American Express website. Look for watermarks, embossed seals, and unique serial numbers. If you suspect a cheque is counterfeit, contact American Express for further assistance.

Typically, there is no fee to check the balance of your American Express Travelers Cheque. However, it's always best to check with American Express or your specific bank to confirm if any fees apply for balance inquiries.

Melissa Carey

  • Melissa Carey Author Reviewer Traveller

Michaela Krajanova

  • Michaela Krajanova Author Reviewer Traveller

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IMAGES

  1. What is Traveler's Cheque? A Definitive Guide

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  2. What is Travellers Cheque? (American Express FAQ)

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  3. What Is a Travellers Cheque? Exploring the Benefits and How to Use Them

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COMMENTS

  1. Traveler's Check: What It Is, How It's Used, Where to Buy

    Traveler's Check: A traveler's check is a medium of exchange utilized as an alternative to hard currency . Travelers often used traveler's checks on vacation to foreign countries. In 1891 ...

  2. Traveler's Checks and Modern Alternatives

    It can be used as cash or a regular check. Traveler's checks—you may also see them referred to as "cheques"—are generally printed with a unique serial number. This means you may be able to get a refund if your checks are lost or stolen. The checks are usually available in set denominations—$20 and $50, for example.

  3. Traveler's Checks When Traveling Abroad

    Best Ways To Use Traveler's Checks. The following are situations when you might consider using traveler's checks: 1. No Access to Credit or Debit Card. If you don't have a credit card or a debit card tied to your bank account, a traveler's check could be a safe alternative to simply carrying lots of cash abroad.

  4. How Traveler's Checks Work in the Modern World

    Traditionally, travelers carried these checks to get cash in local currency and pay merchants. Issuers print checks in varying denominations, and checks can be replaced quickly if lost or stolen. With the spread of digital payment options and ATMs, traveler's checks have become less popular and more difficult to use.

  5. What Are Traveler's Checks & Do People Still Use Them?

    Traveler's checks are paper documents that can be used as a traditional paper check and also like cash. They are intended to aid tourists and are typically used by people on vacation in foreign countries. Issuers print checks in varying denominations, such as $10, $20, or $50, and they are available in a range of currencies.

  6. What Is a Traveler's Check? Definition and How to Use

    A traveler's check is a secure, prepaid form of money you can use when traveling. Think of it as a prepaid form of cash with built-in security features. When you purchase traveler's checks, you'll receive a set of checks with specific amounts, like $20 or $50. Many banks, currency exchange offices, and businesses recognize and accept them ...

  7. What are Travellers Cheques?

    Conversely, a travellers cheque is for use overseas, is loaded with prepaid foreign currency - usually USD or GBP - and does not have a name or account number printed on it, although it does require a signature. Because travellers cheques do not have any bank details printed on them, they are deemed safer than cashiers cheques in terms of ...

  8. Traveller's cheque

    Obverse and reverse side of traveller's cheque of National Bank of Poland (nominal value: 1000 Polish złoty); sold in April 1989 in Budapest (), for use during travel to Poland only, never used. Security hologram against counterfeit on cheques with the denomination of 50 US-Dollars from American Express, c. 2012.. A traveller's cheque is a medium of exchange that can be used in place of hard ...

  9. Traveler's Checks: A Guide for the Modern Globetrotter

    Although traveler's checks are less common than they once were, they're still a worthy option to consider. A traveler's check offers the convenience of cash, with more protection options. What is a traveler's check? A traveler's check is a type of check issued by a financial institution that can be used as payment while traveling abroad ...

  10. Using travellers cheques abroad: the pros and cons

    The key advantage of travellers cheques is that they are safer to carry around than cash. Provided you have noted down the serial number of each cheque you were originally issued, you will be able to get them replaced should they be stolen or lost. Remember to keep your note of the serial numbers separate from the cheques themselves.

  11. What Are Traveller's Cheques and How Do They Work?

    Traveller's cheques do not bounce since you pay upfront for a specific amount that you wish to spend. The cheque will have a fixed value and a unique serial number. Once you receive your traveller's cheque, you should be conversant with how to use it. So, you should follow the issuer's instructions and sign the traveller's cheque upon ...

  12. Everything you need to know about travelers checks

    Each traveler's check comes with a unique serial number. Call the check issuer to report it lost or stolen. They will likely require you to provide evidence of your purchased check through its serial number and your proof of identity. Convenience: Traveler's checks operate like cash and are easy to use for purchases.

  13. How do Traveller's Cheques work and are they still a useful?

    Lost or stolen traveller's cheques are reimbursed, making them a safe payment system. Credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards are popular modern alternatives to cheques. Digital payment systems like PayPal and Venmo are also popular with tech-savvy users. It's imperative to keep your money safe whenever you venture abroad, though that ...

  14. Using Travellers Cheques Abroad

    When using travellers' cheques, you may encounter various fees, typically ranging from 2-3% in commission charges. Additionally, handling fees and cashing-in charges may apply. These fees can vary significantly depending on the provider, country of use, and the specific bank, retailer, or agent. It's always recommended to inquire about these ...

  15. Traveller's cheque

    A traveller's cheque is a medium of exchange that can be used in place of hard currency. They can be denominated in one of a number of major world currencies and are preprinted, fixed-amount cheques designed to allow the person signing it to make an unconditional payment to someone else as a result of having paid the issuer for that privilege.

  16. Travelers Cheques

    Call American Express Customer Service 24/7 at 1-800-221-7282. or find additional contact numbers based on your location. American Express stopped issuing Travelers Cheques, so they're no longer available for purchase. Support is available by phone and the American Express website for customers to redeem valid. Travelers Cheques.

  17. Traveler's Check

    Traveler's checks can be useful for foreign travelers in the following ways: First, it is easy to use. It comes with no expiry date. Another advantage is that it is a secure medium of exchange. No risk of losing the value or asset since it can be reported if lost and will get a replacement. They are not easy to forge.

  18. Pros and cons of using travelers checks when going abroad

    Advantages of travelers checks. One of the main advantages of using travelers checks is that they are easy to cancel or replace. If your wallet is stolen, you can receive replacement checks — provided that you still have the serial numbers of the missing ones. This is in sharp contrast to cash, because when it's gone…it's gone, and ...

  19. Travellers Cheques

    Acceptance of Travellers Cheques is based on the acceptor watching the customer sign the Cheque in the lower left-hand corner, and then comparing that signature with the original signature in the upper left-hand corner. The acceptor must observe the customer signing the Cheque. If the signatures are a reasonable match, the Cheque should be ...

  20. Travelers Cheques

    1. Redeem your Travelers Cheques with American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. You can call American Express customer service on ( 0008000404722) to register a direct redemption claim (1). You can find additional contact numbers based. on your location or alternatively Email us. Click here to register for our secure Email service. 2.

  21. The Ultimate Guide On Checking American Express Travelers Cheque

    American Express Travelers Cheques are a form of prepaid currency that can be used worldwide. They are available in various denominations, such as $20, $50, $100, and $500, allowing you to customize your payment amount based on your needs. To use American Express Travelers Cheques, you simply need to sign the cheques at the time of purchase.