According to new research released by HSBC bank, nine in 10 Australians (91 per cent) admit to withdrawing foreign currency in advance and stashing it on their person.
This is despite the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade reporting assistance for robbery, theft and/or the loss of valuables as one of the most common requests to consulates.
Amongst those withdrawing in volume, the primary incentive is to avoid being slapped with foreign transaction fees each time they withdraw.
Cash withdrawals at local ATMs are still preferred to other forms of payment, however, with two-thirds of Australians choosing to withdraw rather than convert significant sums of cash at currency exchanges.
Credit card or debit card is the second most popular form of payment, although many Australians (47 per cent) remain unaware that the exchange rate is often applied when using a credit card overseas.
Barnaby Jenkins, head of transactional banking products at HSBC, said he was concerned by this high percentage, as Australians appear to focus their attentions on travel and accommodation details over keeping track of their finances.
“They’re looking for smart ways to spend and save. But, unfortunately, this careful planning doesn’t extend to their finances – with many unaware of the international transaction and foreign exchange fees that could be stacking up,” he said.
Regardless of their choice of payment, Australians are impressively security-savvy when it comes to travelling.
Eighty-nine per cent say they carry additional copies of their credit card information in case of emergency, with four and five keeping these important details locked tight in their room safe.
Over half (56 per cent) admit to sporting concealed money belts to protect their cash and cards, while many profess to “multi-stashing”, or hiding their valuables on different parts of their person.