Carrying less cash means less risk while on holiday according to 42
percent of respondents interviewed as part of Visa’s Travel Smart survey1. This is one of the main reasons given for those who prefer cards to cash as their primary payment method when overseas.
Payment cards used to reduce personal risk while traveling
Forty-five percent of those surveyed said they relied primarily on payment cards. But of the 55 percent who said they relied on cash as their primary method of payment while abroad2, only four percent actually thought cash was safe to carry.
Brian McGrory, Regional Head, Debit Products, Visa, said: “When people are planning their
holidays – be it a weekend away or a longer overseas holiday – one thing they consider is the best way to carry money. Payment cards are certainly a safer option in many seasoned
travelers’ minds as they are not carrying thick wads of notes in their wallet or purse.”
The survey also revealed that leisure travelers could take a leaf out of the book of business travelers who travel smart by relying less on cash and instead use a credit, debit or prepaid card.
Business travelers are more likely to use electronic payment cards3 (59 percent) over cash (41 percent) as the primary payment method while overseas, while leisure travelers are more
inclined to use cash (58 percent) than cards (41 percent).
Correspondingly, business travelers carry less than $300 in cash (30 percent carry under
US$300) compared with leisure travelers (21 percent carry under US$300).
Survey interviewed departing or arriving visitors/transit passengers (aged 18 years and above, trip length was at least 48 hours) at Singapore Changi Airport. A total of 2,226 respondents were interviewed from Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Japan, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Fieldwork was conducted from 26 September to 15 November 2008
Based on their current trip Cards include personal credit card, corporate credit card, debit card, ATM/Bank card and prepaid travel
card Younger travelers are more likely to pay electronically while overseas than older travelers. Older respondents (40 years and above: US$1,278) are more likely to carry larger sums of cash than younger respondents (30-39 years old: US$988; 18-29 years old: US$1,058).
Despite their awareness of the risks that come with carrying too much cash, survey respondents said they withdrew an average amount of US$1,120 in cash before heading overseas.
Respondents from New Zealand withdraw the most cash for their trip (US$1,516), followed by
Australians (US$1,441) and Indians (US$1,431).
ATMs – the safe way to access cash overseas
The most widely known method to obtain cash once overseas is through ATMs. The survey found
that business travelers are more likely to consider ATMs for cash withdrawal (68 percent)
compared with leisure travelers (63 percent). Not surprisingly, the most frequent places where people obtained cash were at ATMs and money changers at the airport and within cities on arrival.
McGrory added: “The number of Visa ATM access locations worldwide has grown in recent
years to more than 1.4 million4. Using cards to obtain cash on arrival and to settle payment overseas certainly cuts down the risk involved in carrying too much cash.”
Average amount of cash withdrawn before leaving for a trip
New Zealand US$1,516 Hong Kong US$933
Australia US$1,441 Taiwan US$930
India US$1,431 Singapore US$866
China US$1,425 Thailand US$772
Japan US$1,371 Korea US$745
Malaysia US$954 Mean US$1,120
Source: Visa’s Travel Smart survey
About Visa: Visa operates the world’s largest retail electronic payments network providing
processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit,
prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world and Visa/PLUS is one of the world’s largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries and territories.