Skip to main content

Holidaymakers turn to credit for fun in the sun

£9.7 billion in travel costs set to be put on plastic


Millions of British holidaymakers admit they’ll get into debt to fund their summer getaway this year, according to new research from uSwitch.

More than half (57%) of those surveyed said they’ll pay for their holiday on a credit card this year. Brits are set to put a total of £9.7 billion in travel costs on their cards this summer, with the average spend at £473.

Surprise transaction fees

And it’s not just flights and accommodation that are set to go on plastic. Half of those travelling abroad said they will pay for their holiday activities on their credit card, despite not knowing what their card provider will charge for international transactions.

Holidaymakers could be in for a nasty surprise if they don’t check the fees for foreign transactions, with the average consumer paying 2.85% in transaction fees and as much as £5 for each cash withdrawal abroad.

Compare travel credit cards

Search for travel credit cards with low foreign purchase and account fees.

Compare cards

Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch, says consumers should research bank charges for international transactions to ensure fees are kept to a minimum and, if necessary, switch to a more suitable card: “With the summer holidays just around the corner, we’d urge those jetting off for sunnier climes to ensure they have the right card for their travels. If you intend to spend on your card, the charges and fees can quickly add up, and leave you nursing a larger than expected debt on your return. It pays to double check what those costs will actually be, and then if necessary, have the cash you need to hand, to help keep your costs down.”

Table of Credit card foreign transaction fees

Months of holiday debt

Those that don’t pay off the full balance of their credit card could also find themselves paying more than expected for their getaway. Depending on the credit card deal they are on, they could be paying interest while they clear their balance.

Two fifths (42%) of holidaymakers that pay for their travels on their credit card admitted they will take at least two months to pay off their debt.

Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch, said “It’s great to get away on holiday, but missions of us are choosing to pay for our foreign breaks on credit. For those who can pay off their bill immediately, the added protection a credit card offers is a great benefit. But the truth is, for many of us, it is taking months to pay off.

“For those really struggling with their debt, speak to your bank and see if they can help. If you are still concerned, charities such as StepChange offer free and impartial advice to help get your debt under control.”

  • b holmes

    sse a totally rip off firm who pat their back on customer service…yet when I have used their customer service have experienced rude attitude,been cut off after waiting 15mins to get phone answered.I have complained but guess what …no reply.The micro generation site has provided very poor service…rude at times.THE SITE TO GIVE FIT READINGS WAS NOT WORKING THIS WEEK AND GUESS WHAT IF YOU PHONE THEM ITS AN 0845 no.Tonight I am wearing a extra fleece indoors mmm not looking forward to a cold spell.

  • Robert Pearce

    EDF have a 20/20 scheme that is not advertised, Two meters are installed. Day time is standard rate and off peak is 20% off standard rate from 21.00 gmt to 07.00 gmt all week and all weekends. Saved myself alot by using this scheme.

  • Robert Pearce

    I am not sure that EDF are still accepting new customers but worth enquiring.

  • tel

    its about time these people realise that a lot of people cannot afford to pay any more they use to hang highway men and that is what this is .what are they trying to do make electric only affordable to the rich people of this country leaving the poor and old and infirm in the dark and cold because they cannot honestly afford electric and gas all this boils down to is corprate greed.

  • Chris James

    If you think that is bad, try being an Economy 7 customer who is also on a prepayment tariff. I’ve since bought a portable Kerosene inverter heater, a modern hi-tech heater invented by the Japanese and used mainly to heat homes in Japan and on the continent. This uses standard domestic kerosene (28 second heating oil) and warms my living area day and night for around 7p per kw/h. The storage heating is now ripped out, and my electricity top up’s in winter reduced from around £100 a month to £15 a month. Npower can go urinate up one of their own pylons.

  • PowerPoint

    EDF has just been paid 6 million to turn off six windmills in Scotland!