October 02, 2013 08:29 ET

Trips Down Under Top the Overseas Spending League

New Zealand is #1 hotspot for holiday-makers using their credit card

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Oct. 2, 2013) - New Zealand and Australia head up the spending league for UK holiday-makers using their credit cards aboard, according to data from Halifax.

To date this year, customers visiting New Zealand spent an average of £476 on their credit card, with customers visiting Australia spending an average of £397. This compares to £361 in Italy, £320 in France, and £228 in the USA.

Summertime spending

January to February were the busiest months of 2013 so far for transactions in New Zealand and Australia - summer time in the Southern Hemisphere; but overall activity levels here are relatively small compared to European and North American destinations.

In terms of the number of credit card transactions overseas, overall the busiest months of the year to date were July and August. Halifax research showed just 12% of customers took their main holiday during the three months from December to February, whereas 32% took their main holiday between June and August.

Year on year spending on the rise

In terms of average spend per account, the data shows credit card spending in these peak months is higher in 2013 than in 2012: up 6.7% to £282 in July and up 4.6% to £298 in August.

US top for credit card activity

While per person spend was highest in New Zealand in 2013, collectively customers visiting the USA put more on credit cards than anywhere else in the world. To date, the average customer visiting the USA in 2013 has put just £228 on their credit card, but there have been more than 1.3 million transactions here compared to 143,000 in New Zealand.

The two top European destinations in terms of the volume of credit card transactions are France and Spain. The average credit card transaction in these two countries was for £80 and £87 respectively - notably higher than that in the US at £64 - although overall credit card activity in France was almost half that of the US.

Richard Washington, Halifax Credit Cards, said:

"When it comes to booking a holiday, credit cards can help to spread the cost. Credit card usage overseas - especially long haul - is increasingly common as it offers holiday makers protection on their purchases and is readily accepted in many outlets.

"People traveling to Southern Hemisphere countries tend to stay there longer which may explain why people using their cards here tend to spend more than when they visit other countries. However, the number of people visiting the Southern Hemisphere is relatively small compared to those heading to Europe and the USA, and this is why overall spending is much higher here.

"The Halifax Clarity Credit Card gives all customers greater protection and added convenience when travelling abroad. There are no fees for using it abroad and we don't charge fees for overseas cash withdrawals."

Notes to editors:

Research based on Halifax Credit Card data

Halifax research into main holiday destinations carried out by ICM Research among 2006 GB adults between 26th - 28th June 2013.

Key features of the Halifax Clarity Credit Card

  • One interest rate for all transactions
  • Representative 12.9% APR (variable)
  • 3 price bands - 12.9% APR, 17.9% APR, 21.9% APR
  • No fees to use the card
  • No balance transfer fee
  • No cash withdrawal fee (although interest will be charged from the date the transaction takes place)
  • No foreign exchange fee
  • No annual fee
  • £5 monthly cashback reward for main banking customers*
    • Customers who have their main bank account with Halifax and spend £300 on their credit card in each statement period will receive a monthly £5 cashback reward
  • No interest will be charged on purchases if the balance is paid in full and on time each month
  • Ability to set travel flags before travelling abroad to help avoid your card being declined unnecessarily
  • £500 cash withdrawal per day

*The definition of main banker is:

  • Pay £1000 or more into a Halifax bank account each month
  • Open or hold a Halifax URCA
  • Use our Switching Service to move their current account to a Halifax bank account and agree to do one of the above

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