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Experince with Travelers Cheques? Fees for Redeeming?

Experince with Travelers Cheques? Fees for Redeeming?

Old Sep 12, 06, 11:24 am
  #1  
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Experince with Travelers Cheques? Fees for Redeeming?

Are there fees for redeeming travelers cheques?

I know they charge you a fee to buy them.

But do they (banks) charge you a fee to redeem them?

I would like to buy them for use in Hong Kong.

$4000 worth. . Any input on this?
schnitzer is offline  
Old Sep 12, 06, 11:30 am
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It's been a while, but I don't recall being charged commission for redeeming. Usually TC rates are better than cash rates as well at redemption.
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Old Sep 12, 06, 11:45 am
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I've always had the same experience as Jenbel when using TCs in Asia. You also might want to check around a bit for purchasing checques without a fee. AAA, some credit unions, and some banks (i.e. Washington Mutual with a minimum balance) offer Amex single signer (not checques for two) for free.
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Old Sep 12, 06, 12:07 pm
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Are you going to buy TC that are denominated in C$ or HK$? (Actually, does HK still have a separate currency? Regardless...you know what I mean.) If you're buying TC in the currency of the country you're visiting, you shouldn't pay a fee when using them...they're as good as cash. Of course, some countries and merchants will charge anyway (generally, the same places that are going to charge you a fee for using a credit card). If you're using TC that are in your home-country currency, currency exchanges seem to charge an exchange rate which is slightly different than if you were exchanging cash. But for the life of me, I can't remember whether the rate is more or less advantageous.

I understand the safety/replacement advantages of TC, but you're still proposing carrying a large sum of money with you to Asia. Have you considered just using your ATM card to withdraw money from automatic tellers once you reach Hong Kong? I've found the exchange rates to be very competitive in every country in which I've done this.
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Old Sep 12, 06, 12:13 pm
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Originally Posted by schnitzer
Are there fees for redeeming travelers cheques?

I know they charge you a fee to buy them.

But do they (banks) charge you a fee to redeem them?

I would like to buy them for use in Hong Kong.

$4000 worth. . Any input on this?
Generally you get a better rate when you cash the travellers checks at a
bank compared to cash, but I'd suggest using ATM if its for general use.
or some other means to transfer the money if its a one time deal.

Generally the max denomination for TC is $100 and you'd have to carry
atleast 40 checks


Banks generally dont charge you for redeeming these checks, but there
is always a chance.
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Old Sep 12, 06, 12:36 pm
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Just to confirm what's been said in the collective posts. Buy TC at AAA and its free (provided you are a member). When u need cash, go to AmEx office in HK (assume u have their TC) or a large bank in HK where u pay a commission (usually a one time flat fee at banks as oppose to %; so change larger amount).
I advocate using an ATM card (debit) to withdraw cash. Some offers no transaction cost and very favorable exchange rate. Personally speaking, I use a Schwab debit card (I am not employed by them, just a client). It charged me US$1 per transaction (this was in June in Europe; now they even do away with that, so its free). Exchange rate was better than I expected. Some credit unions also offer such debit cards.
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Old Sep 12, 06, 10:22 pm
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Re: OP. A lot depends on where you go, but in general you can expect fees, especially outside of places like the Amex offices (which aren't numerous).

Southeast Asia, for example, has a real patchwork of arrangements. In Thailand it's 33 baht (about 85 cents) a check regardless of check amount, but if you want to change cash you get a worse rate, even for $100s. In the Philippines, though, they're more paranoid about fake TCs than fake bills. In Cambodia it's generally $2 per $100, cashed into dollars (you'd be nuts to take riel).

I always put some funds in traveler's checks, but I would have to agree with others about ATMs being a better bet for the bulk of it. For overseas withdrawals I use State Farm Bank (an online-only bank affiliated with the insurance company). State Farm doesn't charge "conversion fees" or any fees of its own for using ATMs anywhere, and will rebate up to five surcharges at $1.50 each maximum if the other ATM does. Banks that charge "conversion fees" and/or invented fees for using ATMs outside the U.S., like Wells Fee-go, shouldn't be used.
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Old Sep 12, 06, 10:36 pm
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There's the new TC Debit Cards. I know Bank of America has then in their branches. THen you wouldn't have to carry a nich of them.
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Old Sep 13, 06, 12:47 am
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Travelers Checks most often are free to get but expensive to cash. I never carry the damn things anymore. Why would you want to go through the hassle of getting trav. checks over a debit/credit card?

AAA members can get a prepaid reloadable visa for ~$5.95. They can also get free trav. checks. I think most banks also give them for free to their customers.

I've heard that all Hilton properties will cash checks up to $50 or $100 (I think). Is that true? I've never asked them to do that. I would assume that they would cash a trav. check as well.
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Old Sep 13, 06, 1:18 am
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I always take a bunch of $100 Amex Traveler's checks when I go abroad. Because they always work. We were just in China and Japan. In China, US ATM card worked fine (so long as we found an ATM which was hooked up with a US Network), in Japan ATM card did not work at all. If we hadn't had the TCs it would have been a big problem.

Many banks (e.g., World Savings) provide "free" travelers checks for depositors as does AAA.

Fees for cashing them vary, depending on country and bank. For example, in Japan, I paid no fee and actually got a better rate than I would have gotten with US cash. By the way, I found that in Japan my hotel's rate was just about the same as the bank rate on TCs. And a whole lot easier to get money at the hotel, much faster.

Only thing about the TCs. Don't hang on to them once you return. The TC companies hope you will keep them for years thus losing the float/interest, and that you will never cash them.
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Old Sep 13, 06, 11:19 am
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American Express checks come in 500 denominations but most places will have to order them for you.
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