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Paying with debit cards abroad could cost Brits extra fees, study shows

By Puja Sharma

May 21, 2024

  • ATM
  • BNPL UK
  • British
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Credit Cards, APAC News, India News, Credit Access, Cards Management, India Fintech, Fintech Launch, Induslnd Bank, IDFC FIRST Bank, Thales, IDEX Biometric, Axis Bank, India Fintech roundup, Fintech top news of december, December 2023,The ‘shoulder season’ is upon with double the number of Brits expecting to travel this May and June to save on high season costs.  However, budget conscious Brits defaulting to debit cards abroad could be stung by an extra £32.32 bill reveals research by payments firm Caxton.

This is due to card fees banks impose on customers who pick the wrong plastic to use overseas – with charges of up to 2.99% for each overseas transaction, and 4.75% for getting cash. Calculating these fees against new holidaymaker data on summer spending and ATM use, consumers could waste an average of £32.32 per trip on charges. With 19.4 million foreign holidays taken by UK residents between July and September last year, Brits following suit could face a bill of £627m this summer.

The tourist ‘tap’

Caxton research shows Brits make an average of 19 card transactions overseas, typically spending £32.33 per tap. During their trip they’ll take money out three times, withdrawing around £150 each time.

In the UK, debit cards account for half of all payments made, with contactless methods surging by 30%3. Using these cards abroad can become an unnecessary holiday expense.

Toll in the wall

Most high street banks charge for using their standard debit cards overseas as a cost for converting the money from pounds into a foreign currency.

This conversion fee typically applies to both spending and taking out cash abroad with a debit card. However, for ATM use HSBC also adds on a 2% non-sterling cash fee for standard account holders, meaning customers will be charged 4.75% of the amount withdrawn.

Although the number of foreign holidays Brits took rose 12% last summer, the research showed the typical card use per person had fallen year on year, with purchases down 10% and spend per transaction down 2%. Over the same period the average amount UK consumers withdrew from cashpoints was up by 17%, while the number of ATM withdrawals per trip dropped 7%, suggesting a greater focus on budgeting and fewer impulse buys.

Caxton Chief Operating Officer, Alana Parsons said, “When you’re abroad it’s easy to let your guard down when it comes to bank card fees. We’ve become used to making quick taps with our cards, so it’s understandable why many people continue to do so on holiday.

“However, this leads to needless charges. To break the habit – and hold onto your hard-earned cash – get a currency card for holiday spending. Having a separate card will help you budget and can also be pre-loaded with the money you need – so you can relax.”

Key Highlights :
  • UK holidaymakers using high street debit cards abroad this year are set to waste an average of £32.32 each per trip .
  • Analysis of fees from the biggest UK banks shows customers carelessly tapping cards overseas will pay an extra £18.02, losing £14.30 to ATM surcharges .
  • While big banks charge about 3% for spending on standard debit cards in foreign countries, ATM fees vary more – from 2.75% up to 4.75%.

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