Travellers are increasingly losing huge sums by returning from holiday and leaving money on pre-paid cards. Moreover, they face additional fees and poor rates to withdraw leftover funds. Currensea says a third (32%) of UK holidaymakers who use pre-paid cards wrongly believe these options offer better exchange rates.

Over a quarter (27%) of travellers who use pre-paid cards abroad return with over £100 still sitting on these cards. Specifically, travellers return with an average balance of £87 remaining on their cards

Overall, UK holidaymakers are returning from holiday with £429m still sitting on pre-paid travel cards.

This is a 16% increase on the £369m that was remaining on pre-paid cards after holidays last year. Around 13% of travellers opt to use pre-paid cards when abroad.

Pre-paid cards a gamble that rarely pays off: Currensea

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. They 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. 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. It 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.

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“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. 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.”

Currensea: 85% savings on overseas transactions

The Currensea travel debit card uses open banking technology to link directly to existing bank accounts. It allows people to spend directly from their current account when abroad. Its users benefit from access to the best foreign exchange rates at only 0% to 0.5% above the foreign exchange base rate. Currensea says it saves at least 85% on every overseas transaction by cutting out the normal fees. For example, a user spending $1,500 while visiting the USA would save £35 compared to using a card from a high-street bank.