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Brits spend millions on foreign cash withdrawals

Brits spend millions collectively each year on withdrawing cash from foreign ATM machines, research has revealed.

Figures compiled by the Daily Telegraph have shown that British holidaymakers spent a total of £260 million on withdrawing foreign cash last year. Around two-thirds of Brits say they use a debit or credit card to withdraw money when they are on holiday, with an average of five separate withdrawals being made during the trip.

The average charge for a single cash withdrawal from a foreign ATM is £2.75. This means that the average traveller will spend £13.75 every time they go away on holiday.

Based on figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which estimates around 28.6 million adults went abroad on holiday last year, more than £260 million is spent by Brits collectively at foreign ATMs.

Experts are warning holidaymakers to consider these charges next time they go abroad, and take some steps to reduce how much they spend. “When you do need cash locally, the cheapest, easiest and most flexible way to buy it is likely to be with your debit card in a cash machine,” said Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel’s Consumer Correspondent. Foreign cash machines will typically charge around 1.5% to 2% for a withdrawal, while the exchange rate can be as much as 2.75%.

“But it's still likely to work out cheaper than, or as cheap as, buying cash from a bureau de change,” added Nick Trend. “One thing to watch for is the minimum fee for cash withdrawals (usually £1.50 or £2): this usually means it is more efficient to withdraw at least £150 or £200 worth of currency in each transaction.” There are a number of ways to save money while abroad, but one thing you should invest in is travel insurance. While this is an expense, it can save you money in the long run by covering potentially expensive medical fees.

Date Created: 20 April 2012

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