Where to Buy Traveler’s Checks: Banks? Credit Unions? etc

Banks and credit unions are moving away from issuing traveler’s checks, and, in some cases, are opting for prepaid cards instead. American Express sells traveler’s checks through its partnered banks, credit unions, and money centers. Baxter Credit Union also issues traveler’s checks at some of its Shared Branches. We have the details below.

Where to Buy Traveler’s Checks

Traveler’s checks are a safer alternative to carrying cash while traveling since they are written for a fixed amount and are cashed with the check holder’s signature and photo ID. If lost or stolen, traveler’s checks can be replaced using the check’s serial number.

But traveler’s checks are becoming less common and are not as widely issued or accepted; even banks, which used to be the most accessible place to get a traveler’s check, have begun to replace them with prepaid cards and fee-free ATM transactions. We were only able to find two places that reliably issue traveler’s checks. Find the details below — along with the list of places that no longer issue traveler’s checks.

American Express

Because American Express traveler’s checks are sold through a number of banks, credit unions, and money centers nationwide, searching through American Express is the easiest way to find a place that sells traveler’s checks near you. However, you’ll want to contact the location directly before visiting to confirm that it has traveler’s checks available; several of the locations we contacted no longer issue traveler’s checks.

  • Fees: Vary by location; American Express traveler’s checks are sold at banks, credit unions, and money centers. Traveler’s check fees are typically between 1 and 3% of the purchase amount. Fees may be higher for checks with two signatures (which can be used by two people, such as a traveling couple).
  • Restrictions: American Express traveler’s checks for one signer are available in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $500, and $1,000. Two-signer checks are available in $20, $50, and $100. Total purchase limits, payment methods, and other restrictions will vary by location. Keep in mind that some banks and credit unions only offer traveler’s checks to account holders.
  • Locations: Use the American Express product locator to find a location near you. Make sure to select only the “Travelers Cheques” box during your search.

Baxter Credit Union (BCU) Shared Branches

  • Fees: Vary by location; you can expect fees to be about 1% of the check amount for single-signature traveler’s checks or 1.5 to 2% of the check amount for two-signature checks.
  • Restrictions: Traveler’s checks are only available at select BCU Shared Branch locations; you’ll want to contact your nearest branch directly before visiting to confirm that it has traveler’s checks available, accepted payment methods, and whether you need to be an account holder.
  • Locations: Find a BCU Shared Branch near you.

Places That No Longer Issue Traveler’s Checks

In researching where you can buy traveler’s checks, we found the following places no longer issue traveler’s checks:

Banks

Credit Unions

  • Alive Credit Union
  • Alliant Credit Union: Alliant offers the ATIRA reloadable card to travelers.
  • Digital Federal Credit Union
  • JSC Federal Credit Union: Traveler’s checks are listed on the JSC fee schedule, but we confirmed with the customer service department that JSC recently stopped issuing traveler’s checks.
  • Pentagon Federal Credit Union: While traveler’s check fees are listed on the PenFed website, the customer service department told us that it no longer issues traveler’s checks.
  • Star One Credit Union

Other

In Summary

American Express sells traveler’s checks through partner banks, credit unions, and money centers. Baxter Credit Union also sells traveler’s checks at some of its Shared Branches. Most major banks and credit unions, including Bank of America, Fifth Third Bank, and PNC, no longer issue traveler’s checks. As an alternative, some banks now offer prepaid cards for travelers.

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