Currency mistake costing holidaymakers an average £87 each

UK holidaymakers are returning from holiday with £429m still sitting on pre-paid travel cards, according to new research from travel debit card Currensea. This is a 16% increase on the £369m that was remaining on pre-paid cards after holidays last year.

Given 13% of travellers opt to use pre-paid cards when abroad, millions of holidaymakers are wasting their holiday savings as they face additional fees and poor rates to withdraw the leftover funds back into sterling – or often forget about these wasted holiday savings completely.

A third of UK holidaymakers who use pre-paid cards abroad wrongfully believe these options offer better exchange rates when spending abroad and half of people who use them believe it improves their budget management. However, travellers return with an average of £87 remaining on these cards and over a quarter of travellers find themselves with over £100 left when they get back from holiday.

For parents with school-aged children, the average amount remaining on pre-paid cards rises to £109, with four in ten returning with over £100 leftover.

James Lynn, Co-Founder of Currensea, said: "UK travellers are wasting a huge chunk of their holiday savings by sticking with costly and inconvenient pre-paid cards which offer poor value, high fees and require the hassle of topping up. We all know it's a challenge to accurately calculate holiday spending money and relying on pre-paid cards is a gamble that rarely pays off. Topping up pre-paid cards before you travel leaves no room for error and often leaves holidaymakers scrambling for money at extortionate ATMs, facing steep bank charges when they have to rely on their bank card, or risk returning from holiday with huge amounts leftover on pre-paid cards.

"Millions of people still wrongly believe that pre-paid cards offer the best solution when spending money abroad. They’re no longer more secure than bank cards as most bank and card providers allow you to simply freeze your card if it is missing or stolen and the fees are uncompetitive. By adopting smarter spending habits, travellers can avoid excessive foreign exchange fees, securing as good a deal on their holiday spending as they do on flights or accommodation.”