Britons Pay More Than £260m Annually in ATM Withdrawal Fees on Holiday

Posted by Sue Anderson, 23rd Apr 2012

Our latest poll has revealed the true cost of withdrawing money from foreign ATMs whilst away on holiday, with Britons facing a total bill of more than £260m annually simply for taking cash out on their credit and debit cards abroad.

When it comes to holidays abroad, spending money and financial security whilst away is often at the forefront of a holidaymaker's mind. However, our latest poll has found that many people could be expecting a shock when they check their bank balance following a holiday.

We carried out the poll as part of ongoing research into the holiday habits of Britons, specifically aiming to find out more about spending habits whilst on holiday. 2,107 Britons responded to the poll, each of whom had been abroad on holiday in 2011.

Two thirds of respondents said they withdrew cash from an ATM on holiday

Initially, respondents were asked if, on their last holiday, they withdrew cash from an ATM using their credit or debit card, to which the majority, 67%, said that they did. They were then asked to state the amount, approximately, they had been charged for doing so, to which the average answer amounted £2.75 in GBP.

The average holidaymaker is charged fees of £13.75 for withdrawing money on holiday

All respondents who said they had used an ATM abroad on their last holiday were asked how many times they had visited a cash point to take money out, to which the average answer was '5' over the duration of the stay. When taking the charges into account, that would amount to fees of £13.75 per holidaymaker for withdrawing money on holiday.

Brits spend £263,459,075 on ATM withdrawals abroad each year

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 36.2 million holiday visits abroad made by UK residents in 2011. Approximately 28,598,000m adults make up this figure, going by 4:1 ratio adult:child in the UK. Considering that 67% of adult UK holidaymakers used a credit card to withdraw money at a cash point on their last holiday and each was charged £13.75 on average per holiday, for the privilege, that would equate to £263,459,075 spent on charges for withdrawals at ATMs.

Respondents were asked 'Did you have any nasty surprises, in terms of bank or credit charges, when you returned home from your last holiday?' to which more than half, 53%, answered 'yes'.

There's nothing worse than getting stung by excess bank charges when you get home from holiday, so it's always a good idea to check excess charges that you might incur before you leave.

Our advice would be to get money exchanged for foreign currency before you go and only use your bank card and an ATM when absolutely necessary.
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