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Dirty Money: Brits don't want to use cash abroad

Cash no longer King: Brits shift away from bureau de change to card for holiday spending

Prior to the pandemic, the majority of Brits preferred cash as a method of spending abroad, with over three quarters (77%) of holidaymakers using bureau de change and cash services to get their holiday money, Currensea reveals. However, emerging from the pandemic, 95% of Brits say they want to use card payments for holiday expenses on their next trip away. 

During the pandemic, the way people used cash fundamentally changed with cash use plunging by 35% in 2020 compared with the previous year. While consumer spending was down on the whole, this dip also highlighted consumers and retailers’ anxieties about handling money. While concerns around cash hygiene have been a growing trend for many years, they are now at an all-time high both at home and abroad.

In fact, hygiene is one of the leading drivers of deciding what spending method to use on holiday, with 1 in 4 Brits admitting that for their next trip away, they want to avoid using cash as it can spread germs, especially in the age of COVID-19. The impact of COVID-19 is not just on spending habits abroad, but also on picking the destination. Almost half of Brits (44%) say their destination being on the green list is one of the top factors, going up to 59% for over 55s. 

The research also highlights the most despised post-COVID travel spending options are those that used to be the most popular: travellers cheque (7%), cash from the airport bureau de change (9%) and cash from the ATM in the country they visit (13%). With this in mind, travellers and countries that rely heavily on tourism now need to be equipped for a contactless future.

James Lynn, co-founder of Currensea, said: “Our research emphasises the considerable impact of the pandemic on our spending habits while abroad. While there has been an overarching gradual decline in cash payments in recent years, it’s clear hygiene has been a key driver to this significant behavioural change. While taking cash abroad used to be the norm, card transactions are now becoming the most popular method of payment, especially as cash has always been a more expensive option due to ATM fees and higher exchange rates. However, Brits must be aware of the potential hidden charges associated with poor rates, so it’s important Brits choose the right payment method. At Currensea we are pleased to have created a new way to spend abroad that will link directly to your bank account, saving you money without the hassle of having to transfer money from your normal bank.”

Currensea is the first-of-its-kind Direct Debit Travel Card that allows consumers to spend directly from their high-street bank account without the charges, saving British travellers money against all the major high-street banks, travel cards and prepaid cards. In fact, it saves consumers at least 85% by cutting out the normal high-street bank fees and charges for every transaction when spending abroad. The firm has recently partnered with Singapore Airlines so that customers can use their Currensea savings to collect KrisFlyer miles whenever they spend abroad. It’s the first non-credit card in the UK to offer such a benefit, as well as giving customers more miles for their buck by offering 2 KrisFlyer miles for every £1 (or equivalent) when they spend abroad. Fees saved by using Currensea can also be used to save the planet by recovering ocean-bound plastic, planting trees, or it can stay put in their bank account!

Supporting all 180 currencies, all Currensea payments are also covered by MasterCard’s chargeback protection. Find out more about Currensea here: https://www.currensea.com.