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Many holidaymakers 'facing overseas card struggles'

01 June 2017 08:02

Britons heading abroad could face blocked cards

Britons heading abroad could face blocked cards

A substantial number of UK holidaymakers have had their debit and credit cards blocked during their trips abroad, a study has suggested.

According to uSwitch, 26% of those who rely on their cards while abroad have faced this situation in the past. This is despite the fact that 61% of them had told their card provider they were going abroad.

And it seems the problem can be disruptive for those holidaying outside the UK, with tourists typically taking roughly an hour to resolve their issues.

Stress and anxiety were problems for 27% of people facing a blocked card, and 22% even had to borrow foreign currency from their family and friends.

In a significant minority (15%) of cases, tourists had to wait more than a day to get their card reactivated.

Suggesting potential improvements, 46% of those polled said they would like banks to offer text alerts as soon as their card is suspended. Some 35% would welcome emails from their banks, with another 22% welcoming app notifications.

Staying protected overseas

Cards and currency are just two financial issues which people need to consider before heading abroad.

They should also look to invest in trusted travel insurance, in a bid to protect themselves from medical emergencies and transport disruption.

Expert advice

Tom Lyon, a money expert at the website, said people often find their cards have been blocked even after telling their provider about their holiday plans.

He added: " Banks need to up their game and look to technology to ensure that they are providing consumers with an efficient service when they are stranded abroad with a blocked card.

"If you are heading overseas, let your bank know about your travel plans. It is also worth providing your bank with your contact number and making sure your number with them is up-to-date, to allow them to get in touch if you run into problems.

"If you do incur costs such as call or data charges when trying to reactivate your card, ask your bank for a refund."

Responding to the findings, Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association, said card providers are keen to ensure their customers are secure and protected from fraud.

He also encouraged people to ensure that their card issuers have up-to-date contact details before they head abroad, including mobile phone numbers.