Global: Which payment methods are travellers most likely to use on their next overseas trip?

Samuel TanAPAC Data Journalist / B2B Content Manager
September 19, 2022, 10:37 AM GMT+0

Earlier this month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said international passenger traffic has recovered to over two-thirds of pre-pandemic levels. This growth has been particularly noticeable in aviation hubs: Germany’s Frankfurt airport welcomed more than five million passengers in July alone – a record number since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic – while Singapore’s Changi airport is reopening its Terminal 4 from mid-September, and the southern wing of Terminal 2 the month after, to ease congestion.

Latest data from YouGov Global Travel Profiles shows that international travel sentiment has been on an upward trend over the past year. Between September 2021 to September 2022, the percentage of consumers who are planning to go on a holiday or business trip overseas has risen by 3% in AMERS and APAC, 6% in EMEA and 4% overall globally.

So now that we know people are on the move once more, how do they intend to pay for things when they reach their destination?

Payment options while overseas: comparing their popularity across different global regions

Latest YouGov RealTime Omnibus research shows that, as of August 2022, cash is the most popular overseas payment method globally: almost three in five consumers worldwide say they are likely to make payments in local currency on their next trip abroad (58%).

Around one in six consumers also say they are likely to make use of debit (17%) and credit cards (16%) when they are next overseas – the next two most popular payment methods. Meanwhile, only 6% of consumers are likely to use pre-paid cards (e.g. PayPal, Wise), and just 3% multi-currency e-wallets (e.g. YouTrip, Revolut, Wirex, amaze by Instarem) the next time they are travelling out of the country.

Analysing by broad geographical regions, however, reveals that a significant one in five consumers in AMERS are likely to use credit cards to make payments when they are next overseas (20%). APAC consumers are also more likely to use multi-currency e-wallets as a payment method while travelling abroad (7%) than consumers elsewhere (1-2%).

How popular are various payment methods for international travellers from different markets worldwide?

Across all major markets globally, cash is the most popular choice of payment method for consumers when they are travelling abroad.

Consumers likely to make payments in local currency on their next trip abroad stands at around two in three or more (66-70%) in Germany, Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong and France; more than half (53-65%) in Australia, Spain, Indonesia, Mexico, Sweden, USA, Canada and India; and over two in five (41-49%) in UAE, Denmark, Italy and China.

Markets where debit cards are a significantly popular method of payment while overseas include: Sweden (27%), Mexico (22%), UAE (21%), China (21%), Australia (21%), Spain (20%) and India (19%), where they are the second most popular overseas payment option after cash.

Italy is the only major market surveyed where more than one in five consumers (22%) is likely to use pre-paid cards on their next trip abroad, compared to the global average of just 6%.

Markets where credit cards are a significantly popular payment method of consumers while overseas include: Denmark (32%), Canada (24%), Hong Kong (24%), USA (23%), China (21%), France (19%) and Singapore (18%).

Indonesia and China also stand out as the two major markets surveyed where the proportion of consumers who are likely to use multi-currency e-wallets on their next trip abroad – 14% and 12% respectively – is significantly higher than the global average of 3%.

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Methodology: YouGov RealTime Omnibus provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18 and over in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 513 and 2,008 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in August 2022. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov RealTime Omnibus.