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American Express Travellers Checks

Help. Silly me didnt want to take cash to Europe. i purchased American Express Travellers checks and now am having trouble getting my cash from them.

I was in Budepest, they wouldnt cash them. Travelled to Salzburg....no luck. I am going to Vienna today...Are there any banks that will cash my travellers checks?

From the old school.

Annette

Posted by
4533 posts

Annette,

Do you have a debit card that you can use to withdraw money from a bank ATM & just cash your American Express Travelers checks when you return home?

You may have to call your bank to notify them of your travels before using your debit card.

Posted by
3316 posts

Unfortunately, old school doesn't work anymore. If you don't have a debit card with you, but do have a credit card, you may have to get cash advances on it for the remainder of your trip. The same caveats and suggestions that Priscilla mentioned will apply.

Shame on the person who sold you those obsolete travelers checks without telling you that you wouldn't be able to cash them in Europe. They should know better!

For more detail, there are lots of discussions on the topic of money in postings on the Travel Forum, and the clearly described basics are in the money section under Travel Tips. If you were able to get here to post your question, you should be able to get to those to learn more.

Posted by
12137 posts

Hi,

There is an American Express office in Vienna, on Kärntnerstrasse, where it has always been, on the way to the State Opera House. You can also try Bank of Austria.

Posted by
12137 posts

Hi,

In case you want to cash those Am Ex Travellers Checks at home, go to Bank of America. They will cash them...no fee.

Posted by
191 posts

I would agree that going to the American Express office in Vienna would be a good move. Amex helped me out of jam in Greece once (not travellers checks related) - they worked with a Greek Bank to get me the funds I needed.

You could also try giving Amex a call as a starting point as well.

Good Luck

Posted by
3316 posts

That Amex street number is 21-23. A TripAdvisor posting from 2010 said that you couldn't cash the checks there. That may have changed. If not, surely they will know where you can. Don't be surprised by being charged a fee if you can get them cashed.

I see from another posting that Austria is not your last stop, but the rest of your trip is in the Eurozone. If it was me, and I could cash them at all, I'd cash the whole batch, take the fee hit, put the cash in my moneybelt and enjoy the rest of the trip without trying to find another place to cash them.

And as others on the Travel Forum have said, do not get any bills higher than a €50. Those are hard enough to break. One recent discussion indicated that using any higher denomination bill will set off "counterfeit" or "criminal" bells in vendors' heads.

Posted by
6920 posts

One-hundred euro bills are ok; it's the 500-euro bills that are difficult to use. There was a thread on this yesterday.

Posted by
8889 posts

I followed the link Enerson gave, and on that page there is a link to "A Guide to Using Travelers Cheques" (sic).In this 2-page Guide there is a list of countries, which does not list Austria, but it does say "EUROZONE COUNTRIES: Travelers Cheques acceptance in the Eurozone is very limited away from airport locations. This document indicates partners who, at the time of publishing, were known to be encashing Travelers Cheques for non-account holders. You are strongly advised to use the TC Locator americanexpress.com/useTC to confirm the latest position".
They are selling the things, and even they admit they are difficult to cash.

The "TC Locator " on the web page does list the following locations in Vienna whch allegedly accept them:

1. Interchange Austria GmbH Stephansplatz 9 Vienna, A-1010
2. ChangeGroup Singerstrasse 1a Vienna, 1010
3. Erste Bank WohnbauCenter Wien, Brandstätte 7--9 Wien, 1010
4. ChangeGroup c/o Laks, Kärntnerstrasse 16 Vienna, 1010
5. Erste Bank Graben branch, Graben 21 Wien, 1010
6. Erste Bank Kärntner Straße branch, Kärntner Straße 45 Wien, 1010
7. ChangeGroup c/o Sacher Hotel, Kärntnerstrasse 38 Vienna, 1010
8. Erste Bank Wien-Mitte branch, Landstraßer Hauptstrasse 1b Wien, 1030
9. Erste Bank Ringturm branch, Schottenring 30 Wien, 1010
10. Erste Bank wohn²Center Wien branch, Praterstraße 38 Wien, 1020

Posted by
3436 posts

It is bad when even American Express will not cash their own checks. But that is what I found last time I took some with me to Europe, and that was almost 10 years ago!

If the checks you have are in US Dollars, you have a doubly difficult time cashing them outside the US. You have to find a bank that will accept them and then also one that does foreign exchange. Not all banks do both and not many at all accept the checks to start with.

Unless you have absolutely no other source of cash, I would quit wasting precious vacation time attempting to find somewhere to cash them. Deposit them into your bank account when you return home (if they are USD) or take them back to where you bought them for a refund.

While I still "never leave home without it" when it comes to my American Express credit card, the time for traveler checks of any brand ended when it became possible to use your ATM Debt card worldwide.

Posted by
16791 posts

If you do have to take a cash advance against a credit card, then interest starts to accrue immediately, until you pay off the credit card balance. ("New school" people would do that online.)

Posted by
12137 posts

Hi,

While it's easier to pay with 50 Euro notes, the 100Euro notes are accepted. I had no problems paying with them at the Pension in Berlin. The bill came to 200Euro for five nights this time , not the usual 7-10 nights, when I've stayed there prior. Had the bill been 400 Euro for 10 nights, I would have used the 100 Euro notes. The ATM gave out these, surprisingly.

Posted by
4533 posts

Annette,
I hope you were able to resolve your issue with the traveler checks & are now enjoying your trip.

Posted by
4482 posts

There is a small part of the euro zone where high denomination bank notes are in common if not quite everyday circulation. This is where there were high denomination notes in previous currencies, such as marks and schillings. There are ATMs in Austria for example stocked only with €100 and €10 notes. Elsewhere there was not such a culture and €50 is the largest ATM note.

Posted by
169 posts

Sorry for your hassle. I used TCs for quite a while as I was worried about losing my debit card, machine swallowing it, no ATM in the small village I was in, etc. However, for years now I have used the ATMs and have been very happy with them.

I remember my bank at one point (ca. 5 - 7 years ago) was actually discouraging me from taking them. And I always hated the security check in the bank as they compared each check to a stolen list. So you will be happy in the future w/o them.

Sometimes I still bring a duplicate card in case something happens with the original.