How do consumers prefer paying for domestic travel expenses?
November 1st, 2023, Janice Fernandes

How do consumers prefer paying for domestic travel expenses?

People travel for all kinds of reasons including to attend food and drink festivals, and for new experiences, as our data shows. But what payment options are they most likely to use during domestic, as opposed to international trips? Data from a recent YouGov survey, conducted across 17 international markets, offers a glimpse into the evolving landscape of  payment preferences for those traveling but not leaving the country.

Cash is the most favored payment option with 50% of all respondents across 17 markets saying they would use it on their next domestic trip. Debit cards and credit cards follow closely behind, with 46% and 45% of respondents opting for these options, respectively. Pre-paid cards (13%) and multi-currency e-wallets (12%) have relatively lower preferences.

As we delve into specific markets, we discover some distinct regional variations. In Hong Kong, credit cards are highly favored, with a significant 71% of respondents choosing this payment method. In contrast, pre-paid cards (25%) and debit cards (29%) are the least preferred options. However, over two-fifths of consumers would use multi-currency e-wallets (44%).

Cash is the most popular payment option in multiple markets like Germany (62%), France (61%), Indonesia (60%), Singapore (60%) and India (60%). Debit cards emerge as the next most preferred option in India, with 57% of respondents favoring this payment method. Over half of respondents in Singapore (56%) show a preference for credit cards.

In UAE, while cash is the most popular choice (53%), around two-fifths of consumers also say they would use their debit (41%) and credit (40%) cards on their next in-country trip. Pre-paid cards and multi-currency e-wallets are also popular options among a fifth of the respondents (20% and 17%, respectively).

Nearly two-thirds of Britons (65%) say they are most likely to use debit cards on their next domestic holiday.

While Australians also echo this sentiment (54% pick debit cards), North Americans are more likely to lean towards credit cards. Roughly six in ten Canadians (59%) would choose to pay with their credit cards when on a trip within their country. However, the shares of consumers choosing to pay with cash (41%) and debit cards (43%) are also significant. Nearly half of US adults are most likely to use credit cards (48%) on their next trip, and only around a third pick debit card (35%). It should also be noted that consumers in the US are the most likely of all markets surveyed to say they don’t see themselves going on a trip (31%).

In contrast, markets like Denmark and Sweden exhibit different trends. In Denmark, credit cards are the top choice (59%), while debit cards follow further behind at 30%. In Sweden, debit cards lead with a significant 60% preference, while credit cards rank lower at 42%. Cash is the least preferred payment method in both Nordic markets (28% in Demark and 26% in Sweden).

This data underscores that payment methods aren't universally preferred and that tailored approaches are essential for meeting the diverse needs of consumers across different markets.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 512 and 2000 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in August 2023. 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 Surveys: Serviced.

Image: Getty Images