With recent research from Lloyds revealing that scams when booking holidays have increased by 7% over the last year with victims now losing an average of £765, it’s no surprise that UK travellers are becoming increasingly vigilant about their financial security.

Holidaymakers deserve to feel comfortable and secure when travelling abroad, focusing on their time away and not worrying about potential scams.

However, this just isn’t the reality for many. According to our new research, younger travellers are nearly 20 times more likely to fall victim to holiday scams than those over 55 years old – over a third (35%) of travellers aged 18-35 admit they’ve been scammed on holiday in the last year compared to just 2% of holidaymakers aged over 55.

This heightened risk has led to a shift in how people approach spending while abroad, with over three-quarters (78%) of all travellers taking additional safety measures.

Travellers increasing opting for card payments

Card payments whilst overseas are on the rise – this safer method provides increased protection from scams when booking a holiday as well as when abroad, providing holidaymakers with an added level of security and assurance.

Additionally, 28% of holidaymakers admit to being more cautious when withdrawing cash due to fears of scams and personal safety concerns. These statistics reveal a growing priority to protect our holiday savings when abroad.

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Many travellers are also becoming increasingly cautious about using cash at all, with over two fifths (43%) saying they are now more vigilant about safety when carrying cash.

Minimising the amount of cash being carried and opting for secure spending options that are much lower risk than a wallet full of notes will enable travellers to feel that little bit more relaxed whilst abroad.

Most importantly, however, if a card is lost or stolen, it can be quickly frozen via an app, significantly limiting the potential for fraudulent transactions.

Another benefit to using cards over cash, is that if things do go wrong with a retailer, then you can often try to claim that money back. For example, Currensea embraces Mastercard’s ‘chargeback’ scheme, which is the Debit card equivalent of Section 75 protection on Credit cards. Similar in many ways, it has the added benefit of covering holidays etc bought via a 3rd party, which aren’t actually covered by section 75.

For the past few years, given rising levels of scams, the industry has been discussing how open banking can be better harnessed and security focused to help support holidaymakers and consumers more broadly.

Scams and solutions

With UK holidaymakers paying £2.7bn in unnecessary foreign exchange fees every year, it is imperative they embrace lower-cost alternatives to everyday bank cards, pre-paid cards and cash.

In the face of rising scams, financial providers must ensure they are stepping up efforts and doing whatever is necessary to alleviate unnecessary stress on travellers to boost awareness and education about the warning signs of scams.

One effective strategy is using travel debit cards that link directly to everyday bank accounts. These cards ensure that users’ money remains securely in their bank account, leveraging the advanced security and encryption technologies of banks. Going further still, users can set their own daily spending limits to minimise risk, or simply freeze their cards in-app if their card is lost or stolen. This approach offers peace of mind, with funds not transferred to a third-party account and bank funds protected by an additional layer of security – reducing the risk of theft.

In essence, the shift towards more secure spending methods reflects a broader trend of prioritising financial security. As scams become more prevalent and sophisticated, travellers must adopt measures that ensure their money remains safe.

By opting for card payments over cash or bank transfers, people can spend directly from their current account when abroad, not only can travellers avoid steep foreign exchange fees but also remain vigilant against scams – ensuring their hard-earned savings stay safe and secure.

James Lynn is co-founder of Currensea