No. of Recommendations: 3
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.

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