Brits travelling abroad are taking more cash with them, as the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have altered their money habits.
The average currency transaction now stands at £423 ($553) — 42% higher than before 23 March, when the figure stood at £297, data from the Post Office shows.
This could be because Brits want to have extra cash in the event of a coronavirus emergency, Post Office Travel Money speculated.
Britons are also now more likely to buy currency online than exchange it in-branch, with home deliveries more than doubling since pre-lockdown now that Post Office Travel Money is once again operational, the data shows.
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Since re-opening at the end of June, the exchange service is offering 60 currencies — this is down from 80.
Demand for foreign currency is now recovering, signalling an upcoming increase in Brits travelling abroad, the data shows.
The study also found Brits are now more likely to make contactless purchases with Travel Money cards — prepaid debit cards loaded with foreign currency. This could be an attempt to limit the handling and exchange of physical money, and reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Contactless payments via the Post Office Travel Money card have risen 14%, from 50% pre-lockdown to 64% in July.
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Over half of these transactions are now Euro ones, up from 35% pre-lockdown. Meanwhile, US dollar transactions have dropped from 14% to 3%.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is still advising against, although not banning, “non-essential” travel. However, it has provided a list of countries and territories exempt from this rule as they “no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers.”
However, the US, which has a global high of COVID cases — over four million and increasing — is not in that list.
British travellers should be aware of any entry requirements of local coronavirus measures they will need to follow, before travelling, the FCO has warned.
The research also found the value of sterling has held strong, with the pound now worth more than many currencies compared to pre-lockdown.