Brits spend £4.6 billion in credit card cash transactions, resulting in £219 million paid in charges

21 Mar 2019 Research carried out by financial advice website Moneycomms.co.uk and supported by credit experts TotallyMoney has revealed that credit card cash withdrawals cost UK consumers £219 million in fees and interest last year.

In the 12-month period, there were more than 36 million credit card cash transactions. The average amount withdrawn or spent was £125.

Every time a consumer makes a credit card cash transaction, they’re charged a withdrawal fee and (compared to standard credit card purchases) a higher interest rate applies. Some withdrawal fees cost up to £6.25 every time, and the average interest rate for cash purchases using a credit card is 25.04%.

The result of cash spending using a credit card between December 2017 and November 2018, meant British consumers gave credit card companies a total of £219 million in fees and interest.

Commenting on the findings, Alastair Douglas, CEO of credit experts TotallyMoney, said: “Credit cards are a vital part of our financial armoury. They give us flexibility and financial backup for covering emergencies and unexpected costs.

“However, withdrawing cash using your credit card is a very expensive habit that’s best avoided. It often costs people far more than they realise.

The problem is that cardholders may not understand what their card provider classifies as ‘a cash transaction’. It’s not just ATM withdrawals. It can be gambling transactions and foreign currency purchases too.”

Douglas added: “In a recent TotallyMoney survey, less than 1 in 10 customers realised that gambling transactions are treated as cash transactions. You end up paying more than you think because of the extra interest and charges.

“Many consumers are also unaware that interest on cash transactions is charged at a higher rate compared to credit card purchases. What’s more, that interest will apply the moment the cash transaction takes place, whereas regular transactions often don’t incur interest until your statement arrives.”

But the cost goes beyond the initial charges and fees. Andrew Hagger, Personal Finance Expert from Moneycomms.co.uk, who carried out the research, explains: “If you withdraw cash on your credit card, it will show up your credit record and could be a danger sign to other lenders that may look at your record in the future.

“Prospective lenders may think you’re making cash withdrawals on your plastic because you have no money left in your current account.”

Paying over £6 to withdraw £125 is a high price to pay. Unfortunately too many people are oblivious to the damage a credit card ATM withdrawal does to both their wallet and their credit record.”

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