Travelers Checks

I know travelers checks are a thing of the past, but I'm renting an apartment in Paris and they require a security deposit of 1280 euros in cash or travelers checks. I don't want to carry that much cash on me. My banks no longer issue travelers checks. Someone suggested a bank draft in euros. Any ideas?

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7820 posts

Holy cow that is huge security deposit,, I paid about 300 euros last year, and I have heard of 500 hundred, but yours is very high... What agency are you renting from,,is it a huge expensive place ?

Posted by Marie
San Diego, CA, United States
857 posts

Well that's a huge deposit but depending on how long and where you are renting it might be reasonable. Ask if they take PayPal. Actually, this sounds fishy come to think of it. Maybe it's all on the up and up but once the cash is gone you could be dealing with a Nigerian con artist. Is this a well known rental agency? A one on one rental exchange?

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8640 posts

Open an account with XE Trade. Money will be taken from your checking account by electronic transfer and a bank draft in the currency of your choice will be made payable to the party of your choice. You can have the draft mailed to the apartment manager or you can pay it safe and have it mailed to your home so you can present it when you arrive in Paris. For security reasons it takes a little time to set up an account, but everything goes swiftly and smoothly after that. You will pay an exchange rate only slightly higher than the international rate on the day the transaction is initiated. There are no fees.

Posted by Sylvia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
331 posts

Cash or travelers cheques sounds kind of fishy. Do they even use travelers cheques in Europe?
Are you going through an agency or privately? We rented a house in France and an apartment in Italy and we paid both by Paypal, which I felt pretty secure about.

Posted by Irv
Beverly Hills, MI
369 posts

The travelers check part is what would make me worry. The last time I used travelers checks was over 10 years ago and they were almost impossible to use. The reference is just so badly out of date. Only a few banks would take them and they charged a premium to do it. People ask for cash for two reasons, they want to save the transaction costs and or they are cheating on their taxes. How tightly are you tied into this place? Have you made the arrangements through an established agency. If the answers are no, I would start over through an agency. I have made reservations at cash only B&Bs and when it is not through an agency, they have just asked for a credit card number which gives them a lever to use if they have to in the event I stiff them by not showing up. All that being said, if the place does check out, we have often started out trips with a couple thousand in cash in a our money belts simply because we hate starting a trip looking for ATMs and never worried about it. A purse snatcher or a pick pocket is not going to get anything out of your money belt.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17738 posts

Donna, The amount of the security deposit requested raised some "red flags" as soon as I read it. As the others have mentioned, are you dealing through an Agency or directly with the landlord? There's NO WAY I'd accept a deal like that. I've seen several stories on 60 Minutes (and other programs) about unscrupulous con artists setting up fancy websites and then asking for deposits. When the traveller arrives at the apartment and rings the doorbell, the "real" owners have NO IDEA about the transaction and the traveller is S.O.L. Good luck!

Posted by Donna
Salinas, California, United States
2 posts

Thanks, everyone. The security deposit is "only" 900, I double checked the website. I'm dealing with Parisstay.com. The deposit is paid to the representative when I check in, not before. I'm also dealing with an insurance agency through which I've had to take out a liability policy to cover damages.
Thought it would be fun to rent an apartment in Paris this time instead of the usual hotel or B and B. It's turning out to be more of a headache though.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8735 posts

I've never been asked to both pay a substantial deposit and take out an insurance policy. In fact I've never been asked to take out insurance.

Posted by Pam
SF Bay Area, CA, USA
77 posts

Donna, I would run fast in the opposite direction! I rented 8 separate apartments in Europe this summer for an extended family trip and NONE requested a deposit as high as yours, and NONE asked for an insurance policy. Most of the places I found were on vrbo and word of mouth from friends who had stayed there previously.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

Donna, like others have said, just say "NO" to this rental agency...it hardly seems worthwhile. The commissions they charge on the rentals seem outrageous too (up to 18% of rental for less than 3 week stay). You can do better than this.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
763 posts

We wouldn't deal with an entity who required such a huge upfront payment either. I agree with the other postings. Go somewhere else. Look at "Trip Advisor" and see if anybody has heard of these people. We would never book something where we had to pay more than 10% up front.

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1964 posts

Several groups of people have complained on different websites about "agencies" which don't return their security deposits, go out of business, but then the owners resurface with a new agency under a new name. Others, including French tourists, have arrived in Paris to find the apartment doesn't exist. Personally, I would use only an agency recommended by people I trust.