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European holidaymakers at unnecessary risk using cash abroad

European holidaymakers at unnecessary risk using cash abroad

Many Europeans will put themselves at risk of losing money they cannot replace when holidaying abroad this summer by continuing to carry significant amounts of cash with them while away. According to MasterCard Europe, despite spending the equivalent of a full working day planning for their holiday in an effort to ensure maximum peace-of-mind and control of both time and money, holidaymakers are failing to see the benefit of opting for cards over cash.
The YouGov research commissioned by MasterCard Europe in France, Germany, Italy and the UK, revealed that one in five (20%) of adults from these countries who’ve been on holiday abroad state they now spend record amounts of time planning in advance for their holiday. According to the research, the average traveller spends a staggering 8 hours and 22 minutes preparing for trips out, sightseeing and group activities, as well as standard logistics such as flights and accommodation.  The time spent being the equivalent of a full day in the office or even a long haul flight from London to New York.

Across Europe, the research found that Brits were the most cautious with their spending, French were the most judicious with their forward planning, Germans were the worst offenders in exceeding their budgets while the Italians carried the most physical cash abroad with them.

Interestingly, the growing desire for detailed cautious planning seems to have no impact on overspending once travellers arrived on holiday. The French spent record amounts of time planning and budgeting for their holidays (8 hours 56 minutes) but were also prone to overspending when on holiday (40%). This compares to the Germans who were just as likely to overspend despite spending the least amount of time planning for their holidays (2 hours 1 minute).

MasterCard’s research reveals that Italians were the most likely to splash their cash and overspend on holiday (41%), also carrying the most cash abroad (185.28 local currency equivalent) while at the same time fearing the most about becoming a victim of crime (20%). This compares to British holidaymakers who were the most cautious and one of the least likely to overspend when abroad (29%) and also carrying the least amounts of cash with them (101.68 local currency equivalent).

Marion King, President of MasterCard UK and Ireland, comments:  “Carrying significant amounts of cash gives travelers across Europe a sense of security, but this is definitely a false sensation. Keeping notes and coins on your person not only leaves you more vulnerable to becoming a target for theft, but also increases the headache in the event the money is lost or stolen.


She continues “We’re urging travellers to make use of the benefit of using cards abroad, one of which is our zero liability rules. Zero liability is really simple to understand. It means that in the event someone’s card is being taken from them, or simply lost, they face no liability for unauthorised purchases made using their card. This brings additional peace of mind, which is evidently something that consumers really value.”

During the detailed holiday planning process, the research further showed how nearly a third (31%) of all respondents are now planning their breaks virtually. The research shows that across Europe holidaymakers were making use of online services available via a computer, smartphone or tablet device to aid their preparation, with Italians (38%) and Brits (35%) being most likely to do this. Older consumers were also using this technology with over a quarter (28%) of all respondents aged 55 and over planning this way, just nine per cent less than those in the 25-34 age group (37%).

Marion King, President of MasterCard UK and Ireland, explains: “Our research clearly reflects how we’re living in an age of ‘structured spontaneity’ across Europe. What we mean by this is that we are leading busy lives and we want to make the most of our precious holiday time and guard against any threats to personal or mental well-being when trying to switch off from their daily routines.”

“Technology is a great ally in achieving this, and as the numbers of review sites, interactive forums, and downloadable apps continues to soar, it feels almost as if the time will come when we can have a full holiday experience without leaving home! But this need for planning, structure and peace of mind before setting off on a holiday adventure isn’t always being reflected in how we pay for things and that is why we want to encourage people to continue this behavior and start choosing payment by card over cash while abroad.”