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.
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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.”
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.”