Tuesday, February 14, 2017



Gretah:  Notes on exchanging currency at TravelEx

 Here is the result of some phone calls I made today.

 TravelEx will only exchange small amounts of currency and give us cash.  There are a few TravelEx shops which will issue checks - I think one is in Everett.

 I asked local TravelEx about bringing in a large amount of currency.  “My friend” was coming home from working abroad and would have around $80,000usd worth of currency.
 She said the rules around large amounts were very strict on customers being able to prove where and how they got the money.

“My friend” would have to bring in receipts, pay stubs, etc, to prove he obtained the currency legally.  She - the worker at TravelEx - said she would have to fax the documents to California to get approval before making the exchange.  It could take a couple of days for the documents to be approved so she suggested he drop off the documents then come back a few days later with his currency. 

She would give him a type of check that TravelEx gets from Western Union.  It’s similar to a cashier’s check we get from a bank.  

I phoned Western Union and was transferred to the money order department: (800) 999-9660.  Customer support said I could take the money order to my bank and deposit it into my account.  Whether I could get cash right away or be required to wait would depend on my bank’s policies. 

Then I phoned my bank and told them I might be getting a $75,000 money order from Western Union and depositing it into my account.  The bank said they would let me access $5,000 of the funds the next business day.  The rest would be available to me in 10 business days.
Western Union said I could also take the money order to a check cashing shop (the type that issue payday loans) and get cash.  I would have to learn about any holds or amount limits by contacting the individual shop.

There is a third way to obtain US funds the money order which would be via Western Union’s refund procedure.  This involves submitting the money order with a notarized form.  I didn’t bother to ask how long the process takes. 

My take on using TravelEx to exchange currency would be to only sell small amounts of currency to them.  Perhaps take a 500 or 1,000 Vietnam dong note to them to get a a bit of quick cash.  This might be all you need for gas and a modest hotel if you need to travel for your exchange appointment.

Since the local TravelEx is inside a branch of US Bank, I hoped I might be able to cash in some currency at TravelEx and have the funds transferred into an account at the bank.  TravelEx does not do that.

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