Traveler’s Checks - Soon To Be A Souvenir

Traveler’s Checks - Soon To Be A Souvenir

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

My siblings and I recently had a discussion of TV commercials that we remembered from when we were kids. Many involved breakfast cereals or toys of some kind but one that always registered for me was American Express’s “Don’t leave home without them” traveler’s check commercials. Karl Malden would come on the screen and very gruffly (at least more gruffly than I remember as I re-watched them) tell the viewer about all of features of traveler’s checks, mainly security and how they can easily be replaced if they were lost. As a kid, I got two distinct impressions from these commercials, first that every person in Europe was a pickpocket on a scooter just waiting for the right time to strike the unwitting American couple (not true, as far as I can tell) and second that travelling was extremely glamorous with lots of evening activities that required tuxedos. That second one is also not true, at least not for my family growing up and especially now as a dad trying to drive my girls all over the country, we resemble the Griswolds much more than James Bond.

Traveler’s checks for many people were considered as good as cash and so we’ve had many customers store them in a safe deposit box, desk drawer, or other location knowing full well that they would always keep their value. But as the years have passed, how we process payments in the U.S. as well as abroad has changed and as debit cards have become more prominent, most customers and businesses for that matter are much more comfortable using plastic or cash than writing a check, even one that has the American Express logo on them. We have also heard of people having trouble using them at various locations due to store policy of not taking checks.

Here at BSB, we have also had trouble clearing traveler’s checks through our standard methods in the past few months, especially the older ones, and so we are encouraging everyone to clean out those checks in their safe deposit boxes or at home and come in to your local branch to cash them in. After August 1st, we will no longer be able to process them and some are old enough that we can’t process them now. As your financial partner, our friendly staff would be glad to answer any questions you may have about your traveler’s checks, but time is of the essence, so please bring them in and we would be glad to help you!

We realize that looking for old traveler’s checks isn’t anyone’s idea of a fun time and so we have a drawing going on through August 1st. You will be registered by bringing in your old traveler’s checks or by signing up for a couple other of our services that can help you keep your account safe when you travel, eStatements and Card Valet. Much like traveler’s checks offered a high level of security back in the day, our eStatements allow you to not have to worry about that paper statement sitting in your mailbox while you are in your tux on the French Riviera. Likewise, if your purse or wallet is taken by a mysterious pickpocket on a scooter, you can use Card Valet on your phone to simply deactivate your BSB debit card. We will have three drawings for a $100 gift card which along with your newly found traveler’s check money and heightened level of security from eStatements and Card Valet, should make for a wonderful summer vacation!

Corey Swartzendruber
Chief Information Officer

Drawing will be open through August 1st. No purchase necessary to enter. Contest open to all legal residents excluding bank employees and their immediate family members. Tax consequences may apply to winnings; prize may be reported on 1099-INT or 1099-MISC. Consultation with a tax professional recommended.