Where Do I Get Traveler's Checks?
It may seem like a thing that went by the wayside in the plastic card rush of the 1990s, but believe it or not, traveler's checks are still out there. They are great especially if you loose them because they are usually guaranteed 100 percent and can be replaced within 24 hours almost anywhere in the world. While many institutions do still sell them, others have opted for the plastic alternative, with the same benefits of the paper variety.
American Express is the name on most traveler's checks, so it may be a natural place to look to buy them; you can find the nearest place to purchase them through the company's website. At the site's "American Express Product Locator," enter in your current address and click the "Travelers Cheques" box, then hit "Go" to see the locations nearest you.
When you need traveler's checks, your own financial institution is often the easiest option. Banks typically charge a fee to purchase traveler's checks from them. Fees may vary depending on the type of account you hold with the bank. You can typically purchase traveler's check denominations of $25, $50 or $100, depending on the bank. If you cannot physically get to your bank, you can have the bank mail traveler's checks to you for an additional fee.
If you can't get to your own bank, you can also buy traveler's checks from another financial institution, including most banks and credit unions. Banks and credit unions may charge a higher fee for non-customers. Depending on the bank's policies, you may have to provide cash as opposed to a check to obtain the traveler's checks.
Likely due to the decrease in popularity of travelers checks, and the rise of the debit card, AAA now offers a plastic card that works in much the same way as traveler's checks. The Visa debit card, called the "Visa Travel Money" card, will be replaced by AAA, along with its balance, if lost or stolen, typically within 24 hours. The card can be used in ATMs at any retail location where Visa is accepted.
MasterCard offers a prepaid card similar to American Express' version, and it is accepted anywhere that MasterCard debit cards are accepted. Like traveler's checks, the prepaid MasterCard has a "zero liability" clause, allowing you to get your money back should the card be lost or stolen. MasterCard requires that you keep your card number on hand, so you can provide that necessary information should something happen to your card. This and other prepaid cards may be a good option for people who are not able to obtain a regular debit card through their bank or do not have a regular financial institution.