UK holidaymakers spent £26.4 billion using their cards overseas last year making almost 14 transactions every second. In total, UK issued debit, credit and charge cards were used to make 440 million purchases abroad in 2014 and this is likely due to the security, convenience and ease of using cards abroad.

While 80% of all card purchases in the UK were made using debit cards, transactions abroad were much more evenly split with 51% made on credit and charge cards for larger purchases such as hotel bills and car hire. UK consumers also used their cards to withdraw £6.02 billion in cash while abroad and 88% of the 53 million visits to overseas cash ATMs were made using debit cards.

Commenting on the increase in consumer spending abroad, Richard Koch, Head of Policy at the UK Cards Association observed, “Consumers benefit from using their cards overseas through competitive exchange rates, additional legal protection on purchases and the convenience of not having to exchange Travellers Cheques or currency”.

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