American Express has unveiled the Travelers Cheque Card, a pre-paid, re-loadable payment card designed to substitute for paper-based travellers cheques.
The pre-paid card can be loaded with US dollars, sterling or euros and used at merchants and ATMs worldwide that accept American Express card payments. Cardholders also have the ability to lock in exchange rates to protect against currency fluctuations.
Research by American Express shows that Americans spend approximately $100bn in cash annually when they travel, but the majority of customers surveyed (68%) cited cash as the least safe form of travel money. Nearly half of respondents (40%) see travellers cheques as the safest form.
The survey also found that travellers fear a lost or stolen debit card could put them at risk for identity theft (42%), particularly as it is linked to a bank account (38%). American Express says the Travellers Cheque Card offers a safer payment method and, unlike with debit cards, the card is not linked to a bank account which helps reduce the risk of identity theft.
A similar plastic alternative to paper travellers cheques has been launched in the UK by MasterCard Europe in partnership with the International Currency Exchange (ICE). The Cash2Go card is a PIN secured, pre-paid Maestro debit card designed to be used instead of paper-based travellers cheques.