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British Holidaymakers Stung by Payment Card Charges

British holidaymakers travelling abroad are being stung by charges on debit and credit cards totalling over ?100 million per year.

Research carried out by holiday provider Thomas Cook found that over a third (34 per cent) of UK consumers use their regular credit or debit payment cards when travelling abroad.

Half of consumers however are unaware of how much they are being charged by the card companies to use payment cards abroad.

Thomas Cook confirmed that this lack of awareness means UK travellers are paying out ?105 million per year due to the average fee of 2.73 per cent for non-sterling card transactions. This figure does not take into account ATM charges or exchange rates used by banks.

New regulations introduced on 15th June now mean that UK citizens are no longer subjected to mobile phone roaming charges when using their cell-phones in the EU, but lack of awareness on card charges means that they still suffer fees whenever using their payment cards.

Travellers were found to be planning ahead for holidays, booking up to a year in advance, but as many as a third leave sorting currency for the trip until their final payday before travelling.

More than two-thirds of the consumers surveyed put funds away regularly in order to save for their holiday, but less than half bother to keep track of currency exchange rates in order to change their money for the trip at the optimum time.

Chris Mottershead, Thomas Cook UK managing director, said: ‘British consumers have got much savvier in recent years about their spending – how to make the weekly food budget go further and using voucher codes for saving money on family days-out.

‘Our first holiday report has shown that this money-conscious mentality comes into play for the cost of the actual holiday but stops where spending money is concerned.

It reveals the stark lack of understanding when using credit and debit cards abroad.’

In order to save on card transaction charges and minimise withdrawals from cash machines, a mixture of cash and pre-paid currency cards is recommended.

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