Amexpress Cash Cards

Apr 7th, 2006, 11:48 AM
  #1  
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Amexpress Cash Cards

Someone today told me about American Express Cash Cards that are better to take to Europe than travelers checks. How do they work, are they safe?
sheri
sherwood405 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 11:54 AM
  #2  
Neopolitan
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You can do a search here about them and find that most think they are a silly idea. The short story is you pay your money up front (lending it to AmEX) until you want to use it and you pay them for that privilege as well as paying them for the privilege of using your own money. Then if you don't spend the full amount you have to jump through hoops to get the cash back. What's the point of that as opposed to ATM cards or credit cards?
 
Apr 7th, 2006, 12:12 PM
  #3  
 
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sheri- I don't know about this one specifically, but generally speaking the new 'travel cash cards' are an expensive method. Make sure you understand the various fees that may be charged... to set it up, to load money, to withdraw money, to close the account, etc.
suze is online now  
Apr 7th, 2006, 01:04 PM
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AmEx is not as widely accepted in Europe as it is in the US.
How do they work- at the point of purchase, like a credit card, but you've loaded it with money and draw down on the balance.Are they safe? yes Are they a good deal? NO
highledge is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 03:45 PM
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"better to take to Europe than travelers checks" That might be true - but still doesn't make either one a good idea.
janisj is online now  
Apr 7th, 2006, 05:53 PM
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Ever since aTM cards have become common and aTMs plentiful, there is no safer way, no more convenient way to take money to Europe. You don't have high exchange fees, there are ATMs virtually on every downtown corner, and there is no need to carry huge amounts of cash for long periods of time.

Why then do people cling to the expensive, worn out, less convenient methods of taking their money with them?

I think that is the whole point: You do NOT need to take your money with you. You leave it in the bank where it is safer than in your pocket. When you need some, you take it out. In some cases you will pay a small charge, but many US banks have a correspondent bank in Europe. In the UK last year I used Barclays Bank machines because it was just like using a local machine for BOA.

Even if I pay $1.50 or $2.00 to take out $300 or $400, that same amount in traveler's checks is going to cost me 5% over the bank wholesale rate. So the charge is a wash over carrying money in a less convenient form.

I am not sure you will find many places that take the AE Cash Cards. Visa and Master Card are widely accepted, but American Express to my knowledge is accepted only in a relatively few places.

You can open a second checking account for less than what it costs you to take money bound up in one of those cash cards.

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 7th, 2006, 05:59 PM
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This is a way for AX to make anotehr outrageous fee from the merchant. The reason AX credit cards are accepted by fewer merchants are their very slow paying policies & much higher fee.

AX doesn't get any money from the merchants for traveler's checks so this is their new scheme. The stores I run no longer accept them for the reasons above. Nor do we accept their credit cards.
Carrybean is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 05:12 AM
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The only thing worse than using traveler's checks in Europe (in terms of fees) is wiring money.
But that still doesn't make this cash card a good deal compared to most ordinary ATM or debit cards. If you read the details regarding the fees for this card, you will likely say to yourself "you gotta be kidding!"
platzman is offline  
Apr 8th, 2006, 06:10 AM
  #9  
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The only reasons I can think of to get one of these cards would be:

You're a parent and you want to totally restrict a not-so-dependable offspring's spending when traveling alone. (although you could just set up his own account with an ATM card and control how much money you put in that account). Ok, this reason's no longer valid.

You have horrible credit and are unable to get either a credit card or an ATM card in your name.

You have more money than you know what to do with and you think this might be a good way to get rid of some of the extra.
 
Apr 8th, 2006, 09:23 AM
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Neopolitan- Nice summary
suze is online now  
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