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Autumn sun-seekers advised to watch out for card charges

11th October 2011 Print

The eight million people expected to head overseas for an autumn break are being urged to avoid charges to use their credit cards abroad.

UK holidaymakers were hit with £200 million in credit card charges on their holiday spending this summer, according to new research from Post Office Credit Card.

Between June and August 2011, the average holidaymaker with a credit card spent over £860 on plastic while abroad – a total spend of £6.3 billion.  The 3.9 million travellers who didn’t opt for a fee-free credit card paid up to 2.99 per cent every time they made a purchase or cash withdrawal with their card – equating to almost £200 million in unnecessary card charges in total.

Of all the UK holidaymakers who used their card abroad this summer, a third (32 per cent) either didn’t know what fee they were charged or were not sure whether fees were charged at all.

Only two in five (39 per cent) were sure they have a fee-free credit card for overseas use.  However, this figure is up 10 per cent from last year4, when only 29 per cent of people said they knew they wouldn’t be charged a fee for using their credit card abroad.

Az Alibhai, Post Office Head of Credit Cards said: “October will herald another rush overseas by holidaymakers, with families escaping for half term and the long haul season ramping up.   Many people will be packing their credit card, however, it’s worrying that so many don’t know if they have to pay to use it abroad.  Nearly £200m was wasted on fees this summer.  Savvy travellers heading off for some autumn sun could save themselves a pretty penny by opting for a fee-free credit card for overseas purchases.”

As well as zero per cent commission on foreign purchases, the Post Office Credit Card also offers no cash advance fee when purchasing foreign currency from the Post Office (either online or in branch).  It offers zero per cent on balance transfers for the first 14 months and zero per cent on new purchases for the first three months.  Customers can also benefit from zero per cent on new balance transfers for five months in the second and third year.  Applications can be made online, over the phone, or in-branch.

To find out more about the Post Office Credit Card and Post Office Travel Money, log onto