How to Throw Money Away

Buy traveler’s checks, then come to Germany.

I bought $1500 worth of traveler’s checks, thinking it would be a safe and cheap way to spend.  A nominal fee up front on the American end (instead of the constant fees on both ends from using my credit or debit card), and cash them in over here when I need money.  It hasn’t worked out the way I thought.  I’ve only found one bank that will cash them, and they charge outrageous fees to do it.  I got back Euro 111 for $200.  I thought there was something fishy about that based on my knowledge of current exchange rates, and I couldn’t decode my receipt, so I asked my teacher to help me understand where the discrepancy was.  He explained the enormous fees I had paid, and also said that traveler’s checks are extremely unpopular here.  No kidding.  *sigh*  I emailed my bank to ask if I can bring the dang things back and have the money credited to my account, but since I had to “buy” them from the bank, I kind of doubt it.

Maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention last time I was here (spring of ’07), but it seemed to me that traveler’s checks were pretty widely accepted.  I remember cashing them in a couple different banks and stores, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t charge much to do it.  I realize the economy has gotten worse since then, but the exchange rate really hasn’t changed that much, so I don’t understand why this has become such an ordeal!

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4 Responses to “How to Throw Money Away”

  1. Anwyn Says:

    That sucks. Get it straightened out yet?

  2. Bumble Says:

    Haven’t heard back from the bank yet; they lied about the whole “response within one business day” thing. In the meantime I’m using the ATM. $150 for Euro 100. That’s about right with current exchange rates.

  3. thelmajoy Says:

    Perhaps you can hold onto the checks and spend them or deposit them when you return to the US?

  4. Bumble Says:

    Joy~ Yes, that’s what I asked the bank about when I emailed them. They said I can bring them back and put the money back in my account, dollar for dollar. *phew*

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