American Express will soon unveil euro-denominated travelers checks, expected to be the world's first euro payment device for consumers.
The checks, featuring a pastel world map and trilingual acceptance instructions, will be printed over the next several months in time for the start of European Monetary Union on Jan. 1. Denominations are set at 50, 100, and 200 euros.
Though the euro becomes the official currency among consenting European countries on Jan. 1-with national currency exchange rates fixed to it-there will be a three-year transition before euro notes and coins go into circulation. During this time consumers will be able to use the American Express euro-denominated travelers check to pay for goods and services as merchants begin to convert to euro pricing.
American Express said travelers to the euro zone, initially made up of 11 countries, will find the product convenient and economical because they will not need travelers checks in multiple currencies.