Please sign in to post.

Don't bother with Amex travellers cheques in France

Brought Amex travellers cheques in Euros on our trip to France only to discover NO ONE, not even banks take or cash them. Have tried paying with them in hotels, restaurants, and stores-no takers. Exchange bureaus (even Ria which is recommended on American Express website in Lyon) would not cash them. Spent a good couple hours wandering and visiting the following to no avail: La Poste (used to cash, but not any more), BNP Paribas, LCL, Societe Generale, Credit Agricole, Bank Populaire, CE.

Take note: don't bother with travellers cheques-will never use again. BRING a debit card, credit card with chip/pin technology, and some cash.

Posted by
4379 posts

Traveller's cheques have not been accepted by almost everyone for years. There are still a few people out there that bring them, and as you found, no one will take them.

Almost everyone has a debit or ATM card and almost every one works just fine in Europe. There is no better or cheaper way to get cash.

Posted by
6705 posts

Isn't it refreshing to read when others post definitive observations about the uselessness of Traveler's Cheques? That uselessness has been preached "up one side and down the other" on this forum and several other travel forums. Thanks, Schulergal, for confirming to the other non-believers!

Posted by
6034 posts

Whoever sold you those has probably never left the US. And needs some re-education,. American Express closed its offices where we picked up money, mail, traveler's checks in Europe decades ago because no one needed the services in the technological age. Could you tell us what company or bank is still pushing these checks. I hope you can get your money back.

Posted by
16225 posts

Thanks for sharing your experience. Rick's books and online info have not recommended travelers' checks for many years. Hopefully, you also have credit and debit cards to get you through. These are our best bets for who might cash them: Banque de France or the American Express offices in Nice or Bordeaux (but the Paris office does not mention exchange services).

Posted by
4 posts

Not to worry all-actually we are Canadian and have debit and credit cards along so we aren't in trouble. Actually we have had a good experience caring travellers cheques in the US and found them to be handy when a credit card was compromised on our trip in Hawaii last year. Guess we should have checked this forum before we left home! I specifically did not see any mention in Rick's books about travellers cheques and should have questioned why not. I guess the days of travellers cheques are over...BTW we are are having a fantastic river cruise down the Rhone and am updating this post as we cruise towards our next stop in Tournon.

Posted by
645 posts

Ah, your trip sounds fabulous! Would love to hear all about it when you return - come back and post a trip report!!

Posted by
2715 posts

For many years I would get $200 worth of Amex traveller's checks (free with my Amex card) as an emergency backup. If I didn't need them, I could just use them in the supermarket after my trip. Then came the time - - 15 years ago? - - when the cashier refused them. After some protestations on my part, the manager came over. He recognized me as a regular customer and accepted the checks. That was the end for me with travellers' checks. I think the problem was counterfeiting on a massive scale made everyone, the world over, leary of them.

Posted by
2962 posts

As Bets said, the person at the bank or CU most likely to try to sell them to you is someone who has never left the US. I can't fathom why US banks or CUs still try to sell them. Profit, maybe?

I had to jump to the rescue of a novice traveler and novice cashier who was trying to sell some to the traveler as recently as 3 years ago. They were both incredulous that they wouldn't work for her trip to Italy and that using her debit card to get cash would be much better on her tour. I also can't imagine why the tour people didn't tell her that, either. But then, maybe they did and she just didn't bother to read the info they provided. It wouldn't be the first time someone had not bothered read what the tour people told them to read.

Posted by
1405 posts

Travelers checks had a good long run and served a very valuable purpose, back in the day. The day before credit cards and ATMs. Apparently the only place left where they are usable is the good ol' US of A, and that will fade soon as well.

Posted by
11155 posts

I am wondering what bank u use, I use TD and they stopped selling them at all where I live(Victoria). It must have been very frustrating,
Last time I used them was more then 15 yrs ago. You do realize u are protected of your cards are compromised too.

Alex Canadians have chip and pin cards,and travellers checks are equally useless in Italy Spain and UK ,probably most places on Europe not just France. I have heard on other forums that they are still somewhat useable in some places in Asia,bit have no direct experience with that.

Posted by
8089 posts

My bank in Canada, RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) not only still sells travellers cheques, they actually promote them! When I told the teller once that they are impossible to use in Europe I was met with a blank, uncomprehending stare. So I wrote a letter of complaint to RBC's head office in Toronto months ago on the subject but have yet to receive a reply. I also asked if any of their executives used TC's when going abroad. Maybe the poor devils never get a chance for a vacation.

Posted by
4 posts

Norma, guess whom I bank with?! RBC! Only too happy to sell them to me. I too will write a letter to them AND American Express.