Cash Remains King Overseas

Between 2005 and 2015, the number of people using their card to pay for everyday items has risen considerably. For example, in 2005, £8.6 billion was spent on cards by people dining out, whereas in 2015, that figure rose to £22.2 billion – an increase of over 158%.

Technology has also changed the way we pay for things here in the UK. Last year, Visa announced that contactless payments had soared by 250% and now attributed to one in seven of the company’s transactions across the board.

As well as contactless tech, mobile phone payments have also grown significantly. Evidence to support this can be seen in Pingit’s announcement that claimed the mobile transaction app had recently celebrated its millionth transaction – a figure which stood at only 100,000 the previous year.

However, despite the increasing use of plastic over paper throughout the UK, people are still opting to use cash over card when travelling abroad. Following research undertaken here at International Currency Exchange, 69% of people still prefer to pay for goods with cash while a mere 29% state they’d prefer to use their card overseas.

By surveying 1,000 people, we were then able to use this data to dig a little further and see exactly who exactly prefers to use cash abroad. Within these figures, 84% of those aged between 18 and 24 stated they prefer to use cash, compared to 65% of 55 to 64 year olds.

As another attributing factor, income played a key role within our findings. While 74% of people earning less than £10,000 would prefer to pay using cash while in a foreign country, that figure dropped to 58% for people earning more than £40,000.

While the reasons behind people’s desire to pay using cash over card while overseas remains unclear, it seems reasonable to speculate that confusion and scepticism may play a part. Negative connotations or horror stories related to fraud and heavy bank charges, along with a lack of clarity regarding travel cards, perhaps highlight a few of the clearest factors available to hand.

However, if the changing nature of payment transactions here in the UK is anything to go by, it would be reasonable to think that in the next few years, more and more people will reach for their card over cash when paying for things abroad.

After all, to take the words of Visa Europe’s MD, Kevin Jenkins it may only be five years before cash becomes a “peculiar way of paying for things.”