travellers' cheques

DO BANKS IN ENGLAND CHARGE YOU TO CASH TRAVELLERS' CHEQUES?

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17783 posts

joan, It's likely there will be a charge, but I can't say for sure. Traveller's Cheques are somewhat of a "dinosaur" in terms of financial products for travel. I haven't used them for many years, and don't foresee ever using them again. The easiest way to obtain cash when travelling is to use ATM's. Cheers!

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11276 posts

Considering that the same banks in England that might cash a travelers check will undoubtedly have an ATM, ... If the travelers cheques are in Ca dollars, you'll have to pay a fee to change them into Pounds, and the fee will probably be at least what the fee would be at the ATM. Just use the ATM. Make sure you tell your bank here that you will be making ATM withdrawals in England.

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

No experienced traveler takes traveler's checks. What seasoned travelers do do is take 2 different credit cards and two different ATM cards plus some serious up front cash (US dollars or Euros). My second ATM card taps into a checking account at a bank different from the one I usually use. Just prior to a trip I'll deposit anywhere from $500 to $2,000 in this account (depends on the length of the trip). If my regular card is destroyed or damaged I can use this second ATM card to carry me through the rest of the trip. A week or so from the end of my trip I start using my secondary card to drain the account. Upon return home I withdraw any excess balance and it goes back into my "travel savings account" hidden somewhere in my house and I add to it each week for the next trip. Ya know $20 here and $15 there adds up after awhile! As a reminder your two different cards must be kept in separate places or with your travel companion.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1561 posts

Everyone is spot on with responses. At least five or maybe seven years ago I bought them from local bank, came back and went to another branch and they weren't sure how to cash them. Just use ATM.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
781 posts

Nat West cashes traveller's cheques with no commission fee, although you would be getting their exchange rate on non-sterling ones. Tesco Bureau de Change and American Express offices are also commission free. The Post Office charges 1.5% with a £3 minimum just on sterling cheques, but are more widespread. Other travel agents such as Thomas Cook also charge commission only on sterling. Some banks no longer touch TCs (HSBC) or only for account holders (Lloyds).

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

Joan, I don't know what countries you are going to , but in France most banks will not cash them for you at all, seriously. Don't bother taking them there, you will spend too much time trying to find someone to take them ( forget most shops and cafes, they hate them ) , other then the cash exchange places and yes, they will charge a fee. I am surprised you can even get them anymore, my bank ( TD) does not sell them anymore .. they are that useless for most tourists going to most places.

Posted by Bob
Richmond, BC, Canada
4 posts

Not sure about English banks but Italian banks wouldn't cash ours as far back as 2006 when we stopped using them. Our best chance to use them was at our hotel when paying to check out. We always cashed extra because we knew no where else would cash them. Like I said, haven't used them since our 2006 trip to Europe. Have been back since and just use our debit cards. Make sure you check your daily withdrawal limit at your bank before leaving. Sometimes $500 per day will not cover your hotel bill and allow for meals.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

I'll bet you answered your own question without noting what Mary said just above. Keep noodling.

Posted by joan
deux montagnes, quebec, canada
4 posts

I AM GOING TO TRY AGAIN. MY CIBC BANK HAS TRAVELLERS' CHEQUES AND I CAN GET THEM IN POUND STERLING. THE RATE TODAY IS $1.71. THERE IS NO CHARGE FOR THE CHEQUES SINCE I AM A SENIOR. IF I USE AN ATM I PAY THE EXCHANGE RATE PLUS 2.5% PLUS $ 5.00 EACH WITHDRAWL AND THERE IS A $1000 DAILY LIMIT. DINOSAUR OR NOT THE CHEQUES ARE CHEAPER ESPECIALLY IF THERE ARE BANKS IN THE UK WHO WILL CASH THEM. WE ARE A FAMILY OF 4 AND THEREFORE WILL BE NEEDING A MINIMUM OF $7000.-8000. THAT'S APPROX. $250. PLUS $50. IN WITHDRAWL FEES WHICH IS BETTER IN MY POCKET THAN THE BANKS.

Posted by Mary
Boston, MA
69 posts

The current exchange rate is about 1.56, meaningfully different from the 1.71 your bank wants to charge you. If you were to convert $7,000-$8,000 into GBP at your bank's rate versus what you could get at an ATM, you could easily be "losing" $400-$500.

Posted by joan
deux montagnes, quebec, canada
4 posts

I have answered my own question. NatWest which has branches all over England cashes travelers' checks FREE.I used the postal code of every hotel we are staying at and in every case there was a NatWest within walking distance! I will not have to pay the foreign transaction fee since I will have checks in pound sterling and since I am a senior my bank here does not charge for the checks and I don't have to worry about maximum withdrawal fee. Long live dinosaurs!!!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8758 posts

Are you sure that NatWest will cash the cheques for no charge = = for non customers? Or even cash them at all for non customers? I'm not completely certain after reading their terms and conditions. I'm a customer of that particular institution and expect to be able to visit them tomorrow on their half day opening. I'll ask the question to set my mind at rest and post the results here. I will say that I agree that Travellers Cheques are virtually unheard of these days on the high street. Most places these days in the UK now even refuse personal cheques. Virtually all transactions are either cash or card.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
781 posts

My information came from Amex as the question originally was generic. If Joan's bank issues some other sort the arrangements will differ.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3409 posts

Joan, if you go ahead with the Travellers Cheques, you will never want to do it again. The bank is never open when you need it, and when it is you have to stand in line for ages. When I use my TD ATM card in Europe I too am charged a $5 fee so I take a large amount each time to minimize the fees. It works. CIBC, TD and RBC still sell TCs because they make a lot, A LOT, of profit from them. You can bet that the execs of those banks do NOT take travellers cheques to Europe!!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8758 posts

Joan, I stopped in at my local branch of NatWest this morning (a large market town branch) and my suspicions were confirmed. They will only accept Sterling travelers cheques from existing customers and will not cash them but will deposit them into the account. Because of fraud concerns they are then sent for collection and not credited immediately. They will not cash TCs for non customers. That was from the branch supervisor. The first person I spoke to had never heard of travelers cheques. They suggested that perhaps some large post offices might be able to help but were not sure.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
781 posts

Is your branch indicated in the Amex locator? http://www.aetclocator.com/ I don't have a relationship with Nat West, but the nearest branch to me is included in that search, even though it is a small one. Nat West is also listed by Amex in its literature, although unlike the locator there isn't an indication that it is free. If it is then there is a bit of a mismatch going on - or that they cash them so infrequently they have forgotten that they do ...

Posted by Karen
Fort Wayne, IN, USA
1521 posts

I suspect that Joan is gone. She received the answer she wanted from herself, and does not want to hear otherwise.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

Norma,, and other Canadians,, the TD bank has an account that charges ZERO for foriegn ATM withdrawals, and is itself a FEE FREE account , as long as you keep a balance of 5,000 dollars in it. Its called the Select Service account and I have been using it for years. Joan,, dinosaurs became extinct,, just saying.. We have MANY seniors on this forum who are not dinosaurs and are not going the way of the dinosaurs either...

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2700 posts

Hi, The American Express office in London is still located on Haymarket, where it has always been.