Alternatives to Wells Fargo travelers checks

Gabriela Peratello
27.09.21
4 minute read

Wells Fargo traveler’s checks are no longer available. Although Wells Fargo does still offer a range of services for travelers and people looking for foreign exchange (FX) services, traveler’s checks have been withdrawn due to their decreasing global popularity.

If you’re a Wells Fargo customer planning an international trip, there’s no need to worry. There are plenty of options when it comes to managing your money abroad — from Wells Fargo’s ongoing FX services, to smart new alternatives like the Wise Multi-currency Account and debit card. This guide covers them all.

Does Wells Fargo offer traveler’s checks?

Wells Fargo no longer issues traveler’s checks. However, if you hold traveler’s checks you need to deposit or cash, you may find your local Wells Fargo branch can help if you’re a customer.

So what has Wells Fargo replaced traveler’s checks with? There are still a few options for customers sending and spending money abroad¹:

  • Buy foreign currency from Wells Fargo before you travel
  • Send an international wire with Wells Fargo — to pay for your vacation, trips or hotel bills for example
  • Wells Fargo also issues foregin currency drafts and checks you can use abroad
🚀 Looking for an easier, cheaper way to spend internationally? Meet Wise, your international payment solution — 6x cheaper than spending abroad with traditional banks.
    The foreign currency solutions available to Wells Fargo customers may not suit everyone.
    If you want a simple way to exchange currency with the real exchange rate, make online and mobile payments overseas, and spend as you go with a linked debit card check out the Wise Multi-currency Account and debit card.

Wells Fargo alternative to traveler’s checks: foreign bank drafts

Although Wells Fargo no longer provides traveler’s checks, customers can still get foreign bank drafts — also sometimes known as demand drafts. Let’s take a look at how these work, and which customers they may suit.

How does a foreign draft work?

In many ways a foreign draft is the same as the USD bank drafts you may already be familiar with. Like regular bank drafts, you pay the bank upfront and receive a draft in return — in this case, the draft will be written in the foreign currency of your choice. Because you’ve paid upfront there’s no worry about the draft failing to clear through a lack of funds. You’ll also know right away what exchange rate and fees you need to pay, which protects you from fluctuations in the currency markets.

Typically bank drafts are deposited into an account, which makes this a suitable option for travelers holding a bank account in the destination country already. If you don’t have an account in the country you’re headed to, you can ask your Wells Fargo advisor to help you understand how to use your bank draft — or choose an alternative product or provider such as those introduced below.

Safety and security

Bank drafts are considered safe because the accepting bank can easily contact the issuing bank to verify the draft is genuine. This means that bank drafts are seldom forged, and are reasonably well trusted.

Your bank draft is effectively just like cash as it can be easily deposited into an account — so you’ll need to keep it as safe as you would your regular USD bills.

Fees and currency exchange

If you’re considering using a Wells Fargo foreign bank draft for your international trip, you’ll need to check the fees and exchange rates that will apply. Fees may vary according to the draft currency, value and the account type you hold. Check the specific fees for your requirements by calling or visiting a Wells Fargo branch.

To give an idea of the rough costs, a foreign exchange bank draft may cost around 30 USD to issue, plus a fee wrapped into the exchange rate being used². This fee is a markup added to the mid-market exchange rate — check the rate that will be applied to your bank draft, and compare it to the one you’ll find on Google to understand the costs involved here.

Wells Fargo support

Get in touch with Wells Fargo to discuss your foreign exchange requirements by visiting your local branch, or calling 1-877-593-2468.

Phone service is available Monday to Friday 7am to 5pm Central Time.

Alternatives to Wells Fargo’s foreign bank drafts

If you’re headed off on a vacation — or taking a tour to several different countries — foreign bank drafts may not be the best option. Let’s look at a few alternatives you can pick from.

Multi-currency cards

While traveler’s checks have been discontinued by many banks, multi-currency cards have increased in popularity over the years. Use your multi-currency card to hold and spend a broad range of foreign currencies, and manage your money on your smartphone or computer. That gives you flexibility — and visibility — to manage your money no matter how many countries you visit.

A good place to start is the Wise Multi-currency Account and card. You’ll be able to open a Wise account online for free, with no minimum balance or monthly fee to pay. Add money in US dollars and then switch to the currencies you need online or in the Wise app. To make life easy you’ll get a linked debit card you can use in 200+ countries for spending and withdrawals.

Here are some top features of the Wise international account and card you’ll want to know about:

  • Hold, send and spend 50+ currencies in the same account
  • Currency exchange rates are the same as those you’ll find on Google — you just pay a low, transparent fee with no hidden costs to worry about
  • Spend with your Wise card anywhere you see the MasterCard logo
  • No foreign transaction fees when you spend and make withdrawals abroad
Check how Wise compares with Wells Fargo:

The true cost of sending USD to GBP

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Cash

Wells Fargo can still offer customers foreign cash exchange services for a broad range of global currencies. Carrying some cash in your destination currency or in USD to convert on arrival isn’t a bad idea. However, taking all the money you expect to spend during your vacation in cash is probably an unnecessary risk.

In most cases the best idea is to take a small amount of cash alongside several other means of payment, so you’ll know you have options if you can’t find an ATM or your card network isn’t available, for example.

International credit or debit cards

You can still use your Wells Fargo credit or debit card when you’re abroad. Make sure you update your account to show you’re abroad³, and understand all the fees that may apply when you spend in a foreign currency. Fees may vary by account type but on average you can expect a 5 USD fee for foreign ATM withdrawals, and a 3% foreign transaction fee for any international spend.


While traveler’s checks aren’t widely used these days, there are plenty of other smart alternatives to allow you to access FX services, spend when you’re overseas and buy the travel money you need. Do some research before you head off to make sure you’ve planned your spending in the best way for you — and don’t forget to check out the Wise Multi-currency Account and card as a simple, low cost way to send and spend money abroad.

Happy travels!


💬 Still curious about traveler’s checks? Check these articles out!

Sources:

  1. Wells Fargo - Foreign exchange
  2. Wells Fargo - EasyPay card
  3. Wells Fargo - International tips

Sources checked on 09.24.2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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