Should You Still Use Traveler’s Checks While Traveling Abroad?

Should You Still Use Traveler’s Checks While Traveling Abroad?

Are you wondering how to carry currency abroad while traveling? How to carry cash safely is a common question among travelers.

Of course, the widespread use of credit and debit cards have made traveler’s checks somewhat outdated. 

However, that does not mean they have lost their usefulness. Traveler’s checks may be old, but they’re certainly not obsolete.

What Is a Traveler’s Check?

Simply put, a traveler’s check is a check issued to you by a bank in your country of origin. You fill out a form and pay cash. The check is issued to you immediately.

It is very much like a bank draft, except it is one you carry abroad. You may or may not be a client of the bank and have an account with them. It is purchased on the spot in exchange for fees. 

What Can You Do with a Traveler’s Check?

There are two ways in which you can use traveler’s checks.

Cash it at a branch of the same bank abroad. Some banks have agreements with partners abroad, and you could use the affiliated branches as well.

Larger hotels can accept a traveler’s check for payment. Since payment for a hotel stay is substantial and a lump sum, paying with a traveler’s check makes sense.

How to Cash a Traveler’s Check?

You will need to deposit and prove provenance. It is not a bearer instrument (a financial instrument that can be cashed by anyone). In most cases, you need to be able to provide the same signature. The exact level of proof required can vary, and the issuing branch will inform you when you purchase.

It is important to know that traveler’s checks don’t expire. If you don’t use them, you could always deposit them into your account at home.

Does It Make Sense to Use Traveler’s Checks?

Absolutely. There are many situations when a traveler’s check comes in extremely handy.

1. If you don’t own debit and credit cards

Not everyone owns a debit or credit card. Even if you own one, it might not be usable with foreign currency and at locations abroad.

Instead of waiting for a new card, it is easier to buy a traveler’s check and continue with your trip.

2. To avoid hefty card fees

Using a debit or credit card for international transactions might attract fees. There are not only convenience charges assaulted with using a foreign ATM, but also fees for currency conversion.

Using traveler’s checks is an easy way to get past this expenditure.

3. Safety

Even if a traveler’s check is lost, it cannot be misused. There needs to be signature matching, and also identification is needed. A lost card can, however, be used at any point of sale or even online.

4. Scams

One of the main downsides of credit and debit cards is that they can be cloned quite easily. With a cloned card and CVV number on the rear of the card, anyone can charge or empty your account.

Are There Any Downsides to Traveler’s Checks?

Not really, except that they cannot be processed electronically.

We have become used to swiping a card, and it is second nature. Traveler’s checks are old-fashioned, just like snail mail. They take time to process, and that is something which can be annoying to those who are used to the swiftness of electronic systems.

Other than this lack of convenience, it is a perfectly safe and efficient method to carry money on an international trip.

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