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Business Travelers Prefer Cards to Cash

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Carrying less cash means less risk while on holiday according to 42% of respondents interviewed as part of Visa’s latest Travel Smart survey. This is one of the main reasons given for those who prefer cards to cash as their primary payment method when overseas.

45% of those surveyed said they relied primarily on payment cards. But of the 55% who said they relied on cash as their primary method of payment while abroad, only 4% 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 cards (59%) over cash (41%) as the primary payment method while overseas, while leisure travelers are more inclined to use cash (58%) than cards (41%).

Correspondingly, business travelers carry less than $300 in cash (30% carry under US$300) compared with leisure travelers (21% carry under US$300).

The survey was conducted by questioning departing or arriving visitors/transit passengers (aged 18 years and above, whose 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.

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).

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%) compared with leisure travelers (63%). Not surprisingly, the most frequent places where people obtained cash were at ATMs and money changers at the airport and within cities on arrival.

“Using cards to obtain cash on arrival and to settle payment overseas certainly cuts down the risk involved in carrying too much cash,” McGrory added.

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