Convenience at a Cost

Michael Sheehan

Physician's Money Digest, January15 2004, Volume 11, Issue 1

Travelers to Europe are often advised to use credit cards or travelers checksrather than carry large amounts of cash. Now there's the American ExpressTravelFunds card (www.americanexpress.com/travelfundscard), which letsyou load up to $2750 in American dollars, or the equivalent in euros or Britishpounds, and then use it as a debit card to pay travel expenses. You'll pay for theconvenience, though; the card costs $14.95 a year, plus a $5 fee every timeyou load it up. Use it at a European ATM and you'll pay another $2.50 fee on topof whatever the bank charges you. And if you use it in a country where the currencyisn't the same as what's on the card, you'll pay a 2% conversion fee.