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Advice on card use abroad

UK payments association Apacs and the Association of British Travel Agents (ATBA) have issued people planning summer holidays abroad with advice on how to safely use credit and debit cards while away.

Statistics from Apacs show that British holidaymakers spent £23.0 billion aboard on UK-issued cards last year. This was made up of £16.4 billion on credit and debit card purchases and £6.6 billion taken out of foreign cash machines.

"The tendency that we've seen in recent years of UK consumers increasingly using their cards abroad has continued during 2006 and our forecasts show that there is no sign of this trend slowing down," explained Sandra Quinn, director of communications at Apacs.

"As we use our cards more frequently abroad it is important that consumers are aware of steps they can take to ensure that they use their cards safely."

Indeed, figures show that fraud committed abroad on UK cards is increasing. In 2006, £118.2 million was taken from UK card users fraudulently - compared to £82.8 million in 2005.

"Although the introduction of chip and Pin in this country has significantly decreased fraud on the UK high street, fraud abroad has gone up," Ms Quinn added.

"So as well as taking your passport and your toothbrush when you go on holiday there are a number of simple fraud prevention tips you need to remember to help you avoid becoming a victim."

This advice includes only taking credit and debit cards that will be sued during the trip, advising the bank that a holiday is being taken and remembering to take the 24-hour emergency contact phone number of the card issuer.