Buying travellers cheques

How do travellers cheques work?

Thinking of buying travellers cheques for your next journey overseas?

Buying travellers cheques remains a popular and secure way of taking your holiday money abroad. Mainly for security reasons, travellers cheques were introduced as an alternative to cash. With travellers cheques you’ll get peace of mind as you know they’re secure and you’ll be able to keep track of your spending, however they’re usually not the most cost effective way of getting hold of your holiday money.

How do travellers cheques work?

Travellers cheques are convenient because you can buy them from the Post Office┬« or your bank and they’re issued either in GBP or a foreign currency of your choice. You can spend them at most hotels, shops and restaurants, or, if cash is what you’re after, travellers cheques can be exchanged for cash at banks, hotels, bureaux de change and American Express travel services locations.

Travellers cheques are basically cheques that have been pre-printed for a fixed amount and can be exchanged for hard cash while you are abroad, or, used instead of cash. If you do lose them or they get stolen, they should be replaced within 24 hours wherever you are in the world.

Travellers cheques are simple to use. There are two things you should do as soon as you get them. 1. Sign each cheque straight away. They won’t be protected until you do this, so put pen to paper and sign them in the top left corner. 2. Keep a record of each cheque’s serial number. You can find the serial numbers on the top right corner of each cheque, write them down but keep the numbers separate from the travellers cheques because you’ll need them if your cheques get lost or stolen.

When you want to use your travellers cheques, simply enter the payee details and sign them in the bottom left corner in the presence of the person accepting your cheque. This is additional proof that you’re the owner of the cheque.

Travellers cheques advantages

  • Travellers cheques never expire, so you can keep hold of any unused cheques and use them the next time you go overseas.
  • They are very secure, as long as you’ve signed them and noted the serial numbers.
  • They are widely accepted, and you can use Euro travellers cheques in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.

Travellers cheques disadvantages

  • In some remote locations you may find that travellers cheques are troublesome to cash in or have little value.
  • Some providers might offer free commission, but with others you might find commission or handling fees of up to 2 or 3%.
  • As with any form of foreign currency, keep a close eye on the exchange rate to make sure you get the best deal.

The trusty old travellers cheque has been around for a while and has been a travel money favourite for years, however some might disagree and opt for a debit card or prepaid card instead for their overseas spending. As ever, it’s essential to shop around to get the best deal, which you may be able to find if you buy foreign currency online.

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