We don’t walk around with our pockets stuffed with ten pound notes in the UK, but we still flash the cash abroad.
Consumer Intelligence’s Travel Money Survey shows that we still take out the bulk of our holiday money before we go away, meaning that many of us jet off abroad with a considerable amount of currency in our pockets.
How much money do we take away with us
Over a quarter of people travel with between £500 and £999 in their pockets, while 12 per cent take out over £1000 - a large amount of money to store while travelling.
Why do we do this? One reason for our reluctance to use plastic while abroad is a lack of understanding about the charges. The Post Office’s recent Holiday Spending Survey suggested that one in six people felt ripped off by charges when taking money out of an ATM, while a further one in six complained about charges on debit and credit cards when paying on a card in a shop or restaurant.
Consumer Intelligence’s figures show that many are cautious when it comes to spending abroad. A quarter would never consider using their card abroad, while 58 per cent would use it, but carefully. Only 19 per cent would use their card abroad in the same way as they would at home.
The survey also showed that over 50 per cent accept the currency conversion rate from ATMs or stores abroad, suggesting a lack of understanding about how and when they will be charged.
There’s evidence that customers also use the cash they take to help them to budget. Over half of people don’t need to take any cash home when they return, while most bring back very little cash, which suggests that they are likely to take all they need.
Percentage of people who took out extra cash when abroad
Amount people have left over at the end of their holidays
With debit and credit cards still mistrusted by many travellers, thanks to opaque fees and charges, and pre-paid cards still not a viable alternative for many (Consumer Intelligence’s survey show that just 1.5 per cent of people use these cards), it seems that cash is here to stay, for the time being at least.
Andrew Buller, Travel Money expert at Consumer Intelligence, says:
"Consumer Intelligence's Travel Money report shows that cash is still king when it comes to holidays, with the vast majority of travellers still taking money with them when they travel. Concerns over hidden charges when using plastic may be one reason why taking currency abroad is popular, while it also allows holidaymakers to budget at a time of sterling volatility."
To get a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by prepaid travel card providers, Consumer Intelligence surveyed 1,087 consumers. The results highlight the importance of convenience and a strong upsell strategy over competitive exchange rates.