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...apparently not even at the bank you buy them from. <LOL>

http://www.courant.com/business/hc-watchdog0411.artapr11,0,1287834.column

American Express Travelers and Gift Cheques are accepted like cash by tens of thousands of merchants.

But as John Walker of Southington learned this year, the bank that sold you the checks may not give you cash for them.

Walker went to his Webster Bank branch in Southington to purchase about $700 in travelers checks for vacation, as he has done for years. But this time, he returned home with $300 in unused checks.

He returned to his bank, where he has several accounts and a credit line, and tried to cash them.

No way, Walker was told. Too many of the checks are counterfeit, he was told.


<snip>

To check how much of an issue this is nationally, I called Rob Sherman, the American Express spokesman for the division that handles travelers and gift checks.

Sherman assured me that this is not a big issue. He said he had never before heard of a bank refusing to accept a check it had sold to a customer.

He proudly told me that these checks are sold at about 80,000 locations and are accepted by tons of merchants.

But then I started asking pointed questions about the resistance of some banks in accepting them.

I asked him how many banks will accept the checks as cash without regard to where customers banked or bought them.

"It's up to the bank," he said, to make its own rules, including whether to charge for selling and accepting them. The checks are treated pretty much the same as personal checks, he said.

I told him about how my travelers checks were given to me in an envelope from American Express that said its Gift Cheques — which are basically the same as its Travelers Cheques — "are accepted virtually anywhere."

Then I threw him what turned out to be a curveball.

I asked him Wednesday to identify one bank in the United States where all branches would accept an American Express travelers or gift check from a non-customer who had purchased it from another institution.

Sherman assured me Thursday that many do, but said it was up to me to find them.


</snip>


From Ameriprise Financial Advisors to Amex Travelers cheques, American Express is definitely a financial institution you want to avoid.

intercst
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I can recall only one instance in about 20 years of using travelers cheques, of a business not accepting one of my travelers cheques. Besides that, I have never had an incident with travelers cheques.


It wasn't Travelers Cheques, but I had a similar scenario with Bank of America i.e. "but I bank here/have an account here". It has been 14 or 15 years since I have been inside a BofA Bank or used one of their ATMs, ... they lost me as a customer that day (BofA has me as a CC customer, but I can guarantee they would have made a lot more money from me/my accounts as a bank member than a CC member)


I think Mr Walker needs to find himself a new bank/Credit Union.



Hohum
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From Ameriprise Financial Advisors to Amex Travelers cheques, American Express is definitely a financial institution you want to avoid.

Or not.

I hadn't used traveler's checks in years until last fall, when I was going on a trip that involved just shy of a month and four currencies. In past trips overseas I'd relied on charge cards and ATM withdrawals, but that was before credit card issuers started tacking on conversion fees.

On this trip I left home with no-fee (I'm a geezer at my bank) Sterling cash and traveller's checks. On my last day in London I went to Amex off Picadilly Circus and converted my remaining travelers's checks to Euros (no fee). In Paris I made money off my fellow tourists who wanted to buy ice cream from street vendors who didn't happen to take Visa or US currency. I was selling Euros for $2 each. The only charge I made in foreign currency was my London hotel. When I got home my local branch converted my leftover Candadian dollars and deposited to my account.

Of course everybody along the way made money on the conversions, but it was smooth as silk.

Phil
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I had a similar scenario with Bank of America i.e. "but I bank here/have an account here". It has been 14 or 15 years since I have been inside a BofA Bank or used one of their ATMs

They may have gotten a message somewhere along the line. That's the bank I speak so well of in my other post to this thread.

Phil
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I can understand the reluctance due to all the fakes, but when you try to redeem them where you bought them, you'd think the combination of being a good customer AND the idea that the bank should have records of those very same checks with those very same serial numbers, and it seems silly that they won't redeem the ones they issued. If they won't accept them, why should merchants?

#29
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In Paris I made money off my fellow tourists who wanted to buy ice cream from street vendors who didn't happen to take Visa or US currency. I was selling Euros for $2 each.

Phil, Did you remember to report this as a capital gain? Sorry, just couldn't resist since tomorrow is tax day.

Dinkysue
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In Paris I made money off my fellow tourists who wanted to buy ice cream from street vendors who didn't happen to take Visa or US currency. I was selling Euros for $2 each.
*****
Phil, Did you remember to report this as a capital gain? Sorry, just couldn't resist since tomorrow is tax day.

Capital gains were the least of his problems. He was on the steps of the temple when he was exchanging the money.

Doug
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they funded my early retirement quite well
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