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Why you don't want to bring Travellers cheques (checks) to France

Why you don't want to bring Travellers cheques (checks) to France

Sep 12th, 2010, 06:12 AM
  #1  
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Why you don't want to bring Travellers cheques (checks) to France

Ever now and then someone asks yet again about bringing Travellers cheques to Europe. I thought I'd give any holdouts a little more explanation of why it's not a good idea.

Years ago when they were more common we still used to have difficulty cashing TC's in stores and restaurants, where they weren't common. They are of course even less so now - everyone in this country has a card or a cheque book. So probably no hope of using them there.

So you go to a bank to get them changed - but banks don't have money these days! They have machines that have money. This is certainly the case in our part of the Dordogne, and I can't believe it's very different in other parts of France. No tellers with drawers of cash to deal with your TC's. Instead, bank customers use their debit cards to withdraw money from the machines inside the bank. If you don't have a card (but you do have an account with them) they will issue a temporary card for a specific amount. So if you want 200 Euros, they load that onto the card, and you have about 15 minutes to take it over to the machine and get your cash. If you DON'T have an account , you're out of luck.

We hadn't thought much about this until last week when someone sent us unsolicited travellers cheques to pay a bill. The bank would credit them to our account, and then we could take money out of the account. But only because we were already clients.

So, for any holdouts, bring your debit card.
Carlux is online now  
Sep 12th, 2010, 06:38 AM
  #2  
 
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The same is true in the Netherlands.
Traveller's cheques were never very popular here, and are useless now.
We don't have cheques, and haven't had them for many many years. Banks have no way to handle cheques anymore.

Banks don't have money either. In fact some are now called banking shops rather than banks - their aim is to sell you products, not handle cash.

Cash can be had from ATMs but increasingly everything is done electronically here. Some shops are even talking of dropping the use of cash for payment.
hetismij is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 07:18 AM
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You remarks about France are based on your own limited experience in one area, I believe, and your own bank. It is not difficult to exchange travelers checks in Paris, for example, at exchange bureaus, which have always been the best place to exchange them, not banks. Banks don't want that business, never really did, and even when they were more common, say 20 years ago, banks gave worse exchange rates than exchange bureaux in cities in France. Of course if you had AMEX TCs (not the only kind, Visa has them), you could always exchange them at Amex in major cities where they had a location. Amex doesn't really have that great a rate, however.

I know places that give rates only 2-3 pct over the interbank exchange rate in Paris, to this day, they are still open. It isn't that difficult to find them (although I know some better ones not in the prime tourist areas). For major cities, there is no problem with carrying them for emergencies, if you want, as long as you understand you have to exchange them at exchange bureaux. They are not for use in stores, etc., nor are banks the place to go.
Christina is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 08:02 AM
  #4  
 
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I'm so old I remember having to take my t.c.s to the Amex office
on Rue Scribe to get them cashed. Of course, we used the office
to pick up our mail and use the toilet so it was a one-stop shop!

Two ATM cards and a credit card take care of any emergencies and
have since the 1970s.
immimi is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 10:06 AM
  #5  
 
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Here we go again with this topic. First, travelers' checks aren't meant to be used in stores and restaurants or exchanged in banks. Period. They are to be cashed at an exchange bureaux of which there are plenty of if one is in Paris. www.bureaux-de-change.com. Then click on, "Plan du Site" and scroll and the locations, in the different districts, are listed. And there are plenty of exchange places. And the exchange rates are not bad at all of them.

I've been using travelers' checks in Paris, almost annually, since the mid 70s. If one uses them, then one knows where to exchange them and where not to exchange them. I've yet to use my ATM/debit card in Paris. I prefer, at the beginning of my stay, to exchange what money I will need and then be done with money issues for the rest of my stay. And for those who prefer to use ATM cards, to each his own.

I also take along two ATM/debit cards as I use the debit cards to charge on. And I take one regular credit card just in case I need it. So, travelers' checks, ATM/debit cards, and a credit card as far as what I take along. Then all areas are covered in case of an emergency. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 12:28 PM
  #6  
cw
 
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I haven't carried traveler's checks in over 20 years. It was hard enough to use them then. A few weeks ago, though, I happened to be at an inside window of my bank (BoA), and an elderly woman was at the next window. She asked to purchase TC's and was shocked when the teller said they no longer sold them. I don't think she had an ATM card, and didn't want one.

I told her to see if AAA still sold them because she didn't want to get an ATM card. Hope she solved her problem.

Carlux, thanks for the updated news.
cw is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 01:29 PM
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All she had to do was go to an AmExp office or contact them about them. My bank still sells them although I get mine from AmExp, as I don't pay any fee for them. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 03:09 PM
  #8  
cw
 
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Guenmai,

There aren't as many AmEx travel offices around as there used to be. In the downtown of big cities, you can usually find one. But that's the point of this thread--they are just not as convenient as they once were. Many places near me (Boston) don't accept TC's and I'm just not sure where you would cash them, except at the AmEx office. There aren't bureaus of currency exchange all around as there are in Paris.
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Sep 12th, 2010, 03:30 PM
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That's why I said that she could contact an AmExp office. It's all google-able.

I'm confused. You say that many places near you don't accept them and that you're not sure where one would cash them. How's this connected to the woman wanting to buy them? Was she trying to buy them to use on a trip within the U.S.? If so, when I've come home with leftover travelers' checks, sometimes I just keep them until the next trip, sometimes I use the leftover ones to shop with while back here at home...even at the supermarket, and sometimes I just deposit them into my checking account here at home. I've never had a problem with them. And since I don't pay a fee for them, I get them at face value.

Plus, friends who go down to Mexico take them along and I hear they love them down there. People on the travel forums have even posted about how easy they are to use there.

I also have absolutely no problem exchanging them in Bangkok. I do it all the time. I just go into my bank and do it. There's a small fee, bit then again the exchange rate is a bit higher than if one were exchanging cash. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 03:37 PM
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Correction: "but", not, "bit". Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 03:50 PM
  #11  
 
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I just went on Google and typed in, "Where to buy American Express Travelers Checks?", and the www.212americanexpress.com website popped up and then I clicked on ,"Find Purchase Location" and then typed in, "Boston" and 48 places popped up in Boston. It took me less than a minute to get this information. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Sep 12th, 2010, 05:31 PM
  #12  
 
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ATMs have made Travelers Cheques obsolete. Certainly you might find somewhere to cash them (assuming you have an internet connection as you walk about Paris) but always at rates less favorable than those of cash rates.

I could not, in good faith, suggest to anyone that TC´s are a better way to obtain cash than simply using the ubiquitous ATM.
Sarastro is online now  
Jun 22nd, 2014, 03:30 AM
  #13  
 
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Unless you go to one of the few exchanges which will accept traveler's checks, they are useless in France; Banks and businesses cannot readily clear them through the ECB. Debit cards, Mastercard and Visa are accepted everywhere and they work in cash machines.
newyorkyankeefan is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2014, 03:31 AM
  #14  
 
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Unless you go to one of the few exchanges which will accept traveler's checks, they are useless in France; Banks and businesses cannot readily clear them through the ECB. Debit cards, Mastercard and Visa are accepted everywhere and they work in cash machines.
newyorkyankeefan is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2014, 03:38 AM
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Really newyourkyankeefan, you have somehow found a 4 year old thread just to assure us that travelers cheques are not accepted in France.

May I suggest that your responses would be more meaningful if you were to direct your comments only to the top 100 or so most recent posts?
Sarastro is online now  
Jun 22nd, 2014, 04:54 AM
  #16  
 
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I forgot that they ever made traveller's checks! I can't remember the last time I actually used them but I also am astonished to see someone write a check in a store now, here in the US. Out with the old.....
denisea is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2014, 06:31 AM
  #17  
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Good to know, newyorkyankeefan that you agree with me and that things haven't changed in 4 years. If anything, it's more difficult now. I was amazed to see my very old post revived.
Carlux is online now  

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