Debit and credit cards come a distant second choice behind the ATM, with only 17% preferring this method, followed by travellers' cheques (12%) and bureau de changes (8%). Despite the growth of online and mobile banking, the ATM remains the consumers' preferred choice and provides a crucial lifeline for topping up funds outside of the UK.
Younger holidaymakers are leading the trend, with 39% of 18 to 24-year olds preferring the ATM, while older generations are less attracted by the service. Just 23% of the over 65s and 28% of those aged 55 to 64 put the ATM top of their agenda when it comes to accessing cash abroad.
The survey also reveals that, despite the credit crunch, getting the most value for money is not the top priority among British holidaymakers. Ease of access is the most influential factor, overshadowing foreign exchange rates and risk of fraud, with 39% of holidaymakers citing convenience as the main reason for their decision about where to access cash. This is particularly the case with those preferring the ATM, with the majority
(58%) saying that their choice was down to convenience of location.
However, foreign exchange rates may be a major obstacle to holidaymakers using the ATM. The majority of those favouring travellers' cheques (28%) and bureau de changes (55%) do so to get the best rates, as opposed to just 14% of ATM users. With a third of ATM advocates not aware of the bank's rates and fees, it seems banks have some way to go to meet the expectations of all their customers.
Ian Kerr, CEO at Level Four Software, said: "The survey clearly shows that the ATM remains the customers' single biggest touch-point with their banks whilst abroad. While older generations continue to use travellers' cheques and bureau de changes, the emphasis on the ATM among younger holidaymakers highlights its growing importance as attitudes towards accessing cash abroad shift. As a result, banks must continue to invest in services and innovate at the ATM, including in crucial areas such as displaying rates and charges transparently. This applies not just in the UK but across their international networks of operators in order to meet customers'