Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Traveler’s checks: Are they still used today?


Fact checked

If you’re planning a trip, you might have thought about using traveler’s checks while on your adventure. These are checks that you purchase at the bank and use like cash — with safety their main benefit.

Once you’ve purchased traveler’s checks, you sign them. You can exchange the checks for cash at merchants that accept them, but you need to provide ID and match the signature. Unlike cash or personal checks, if you lose a traveler’s check, the issuer can cancel uncashed checks and issue you new ones.

Today you have fewer opportunities to use traveler’s checks: They are no longer widely accepted at stores and hotels either in the US or worldwide. Still, they could be helpful in a few specific situations.

Our pick for travel credit card: Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™

Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™

  • Patented brushed stainless steel front and carbon back—weighing 22 grams.
  • Earn one point for every one dollar spent.
  • 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • 1% value for cash back redemptions.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—Available by phone, email, and live mobile chat.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits (e.g., amenities, room upgrades and complimentary food and beverages).
  • Members-only LUXURY MAGAZINE®.
  • Cell phone protection, Lyft credits, Postmates discounts, Fandango perks and more.
  • Annual fee: $195 ($95 for each authorized user).
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Read less
Read more

Compare credit cards for travel

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 25,000 points after spending another $6,000 in the first 6 months
9x points at Hyatt hotels as a World of Hyatt member, 2x on gyms, commuting, dining and airlines and 1x on all other purchases
Earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 25,000 points after spending another $6,000 in the first 6 months.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
This popular travel card's signup bonus is worth up to $750. Get even more value out of your travel, dining, and Lyft rewards by transferring them to miles.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Black Card™
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
United℠ Explorer Card
40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Compare up to 4 providers

Using and buying traveler’s checks

Years ago, many businesses accepted traveler’s checks — and they were as good as cash.

That’s not true these days: Take a traveler’s check to a store, and you’ll probably get a puzzled look. Their acceptance is declining, bowing to newer, more convenient options like credit and debit cards. Worse, many banks won’t even accept them.

If you take traveler’s checks on a trip, don’t plan on using them as currency. And know exactly where you’ll cash them once you get to your destination.

Where to get a traveler’s check

Over the years, many consumers have had difficulty using and cashing traveler’s checks. Now, many banks — including giants like Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America — no longer offer traveler’s checks.

But traveler’s checks aren’t yet obsolete. You can still find them from such companies as American Express, AAA and Visa. Typically, when buying them, you’ll pay a 1% to 2% fee on the amount of your checks.

How to buy a traveler’s check

  1. Go to a bank or visit the website of a traveler’s check issuer.
  2. Select the amount of currency to purchase. If you’re buying a foreign currency, check the exchange rate.
  3. Submit payment to the issuing bank or company.
  4. Pay any applicable fees.
  5. Make a note of the serial numbers on your traveler’s checks, and sign each one.

How to cash a traveler’s check

  1. Go to a bank or currency exchange that accepts traveler’s checks.
  2. Countersign your check in front of the clerk. Usually, the signature line is the lower right corner of the check.
  3. Show your photo ID to the clerk.
  4. Receive your cash.

How traveler’s checks can be useful

traveler’s checks aren’t as popular as they once were. However, you’ll find a instances where it might be helpful to carry them.

1. You’re going to a place where there aren’t many ATMs

One reason traveler’s checks aren’t used much anymore is because ATMs are widespread. Instead of walking into a bank to exchange a check, you can insert your card and get cash in seconds.

Of course, that’s an issue if you’re going somewhere that doesn’t have many ATMs. In that case, traveler’s checks could be useful. Just make sure there’s a bank or currency exchange that will cash your checks.

2. Safety is a big concern.

If you’re worried about credit card fraud, using plastic can be an unsavory option. For example, you may be worried that ATMs are tampered with or not affiliated with a bank.

traveler’s checks may make you less susceptible to fraud. To cash your check, you must produce a signature that matches the one you used when you got the check. This makes it extremely likely that the person cashing your check will be you — and you only.

3. You want a fallback option.

If nothing else, traveler’s checks can be useful backup. If you happen to lose your cards or your money is stolen, you can cash a check.

What to do if your traveler’s check is lost or stolen

If you lose your traveler’s check or they’re stolen, you’re not out of luck. As long as you comply with your issuer’s terms, your traveler’s check will be replaced.

Here’s what to do:

  • Call the customer service phone number provided by your issuer.
  • Provide proof that the check is yours — submit the check number, proof of purchase and your identification.
  • If required by your issuer, report your stolen check to the police along with evidence.

After you’ve reported your missing check, your provider will void it and issue you a new check.

Alternatives to traveler’s checks

The times are a-changin’. Here are three options today considered superior to traveler’s checks.

Credit cards

Credit cards can be incredibly convenient if they’re widely accepted at your destination.

On the downside, many card providers charge foreign transaction fees, which are typically 1% to 3%. You can avoid these fees by getting a card with no foreign transaction fees.

Though they’re useful for purchases, credit cards are almost always poor options at ATMs. Most of them have cash advance fees and charge higher APRs for cash withdrawals.
Find a credit card with no foreign transaction fees

Debit cards

Debit cards are just as convenient as credit cards, and they don’t have cash advance interest. However, they usually have foreign transaction fees. Many card providers also charge you a fee if you use an out-of-network ATM.

Fortunately, you can apply for debit card services that are light on fees:

  • The Charles Schwab High-Yield Investor Checking Account charges no foreign transaction or ATM fees. If you’re assessed a fee at an out-of-network ATM, Charles Schwab reimburses you.
  • Capital One 360 charges no foreign transaction or ATM fees. However, it won’t reimburse you if an ATM company charges a fee.
  • Discover Cashback Checking charges no fees when you use an Allpoint or MoneyPass ATM. It also comes with no foreign transaction fees. However, you won’t be reimbursed if an ATM company charges a fee.

The best debit card for traveling overseas.

Prepaid cards

A prepaid card can be a solid option for traveling: Simply load the card with funds, then use it as a credit or debit card.

Many prepaid cards have activation fees and cash withdrawal fees. They may also come with foreign transaction fees.

Compare the best prepaid cards.

Frequently asked questions

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    IvanDecember 22, 2018

    Hey, I have traveler’s cheque issued by Thomas Cook Agency, how can I withdraw it?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Ivan,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      To encash your traveler’s check, you would need to find a bank or currency exchange that accepts your check. Once you found one, you need to present your check, present valid ID and sign the needed document.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


Go to site