Traveller’s Cheques Are The New Layaway: Soon They Won’t Exist!

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It occurred to me recently that youth today will have no concept of what a “Layaway” is. If you’re one of those youth, a layaway allowed you to put a deposit on an item and pay it off over time. While you were paying it off, the merchant would hold onto the item until it was paid in full.

I remember shopping in K-Mart, reading the huge sign at the back of the store that encouraged shoppers to visit the counter and set up a layaway plan. Travellers Cheques — and cheques in general — will likely join layaways as a distant memory.

Remember traveller’s cheques?

Travellers cheques were at one time a “must-have” when travelling abroad. The issuer of traveller’s cheques (commonly American Express, Visa, or Thomas Cooke) would guarantee the funds on these cheques. If the cheques were lost or stolen, they were easily replaced, even while abroad. I vividly remember signing a stack of these $20 travellers cheques and lining the bottom of my hotel room safe with them.

Over time, traveller’s cheques have become less popular. In fact, we have slowly phased out our inventory of traveller’s cheques and no longer buy or sell them. Many banks have also discontinued their support of the traveller’s cheque. If you happen to have some of these relics in your safety deposit box or your safe, you may want to consider negotiating for them while the option to do so still exists.

Credit cards are the new king

Seasoned travellers who appreciated the security that travellers cheques promised are now left wondering how to travel safely. Luckily, in many cases, credit cards are a solution. They are accepted in most stores internationally and often promise anti-fraud protection. Prepaid debit and credit cards in various currencies are also travel options (although we caution their use due to fees and the inability to withdraw funds remaining on the card after your trip).

In a world that is now prioritizing non-face-to-face transactions, you’ll be happy to know that Currency Converters is able to support transaction requests and process them electronically. We’re happy to debit your bank account and send your payment internationally while you stay in the (safe) comfort of your own home. Have questions? Don’t hesitate to ask us for more details!

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A grandmother and her grandson going through foreign currency