Last year UK holidaymakers spent £26.4 billion using their cards overseas, making almost 14 transactions every second, according to figures from the UK Cards Association.
For the first time annual overseas card spending figures have been published that do not include transactions from UK internet retailers made in pound sterling but processed abroad, giving a clearer picture of how people spend their money when overseas.
UK-issued debit, credit and charge cards were used to make 440 million purchases abroad in 2014. While in the UK four-fifths (80%) of all card purchases were made using debit cards, transactions abroad were more evenly split with 51% (224 million) made on credit and charge cards.
By total value, credit and charge card spending overseas outstripped debit last year, suggesting consumers preferred credit cards for more expensive items such as hotel bills and car hire, as well as the benefit of consumer protection on purchases. In total £15.8 billion was spent on credit and charge cards abroad, compared to £10.6 billion on debit cards.