Credit cards popular on vacation, but included insurance opaque

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When booking this year's summer holiday, the credit card was by far the most frequently used means of payment by Austrians. In July, Austria's largest tariff comparison portal, Durchblicker, surveyed 1.250 households about their payment habits and credit card knowledge. Accordingly, 57 percent paid for flight, accommodation and rental car with a credit card.  

One of the main reasons is travel insurance coverage. In fact, only six out of ten credit cards have such – often limited – additional benefits. Nevertheless, every second person in Austria believes that practically all credit cards include such insurance protection. According to the survey, very few people know exactly what the insurance cover covers. Three quarters state that they do not know the scope and the prerequisites in the event of a claim. This service is usually reflected in the annual fee for the credit card.  

More than a quarter of those surveyed incorrectly believe that the credit card is tied to the house bank or checking account. 40 percent do not know that there are now free credit cards on the market. A new comparison of credit card fees, terms and benefits is now available at available. According to Martin Spona, Head of Consumer Finance at Durchblicker, when choosing the right credit card you should make sure that the contract only includes those services that you actually use and compare the costs for them exactly.  

Credit card - Almost everyone has one, few know their way around 

According to the Durchblicker survey, around 70 percent of Austrians currently have a credit card, and 11 percent even have two or more. One in three uses the credit card regularly. 66 percent use the plastic money always or regularly for online purchases, 57 percent for holiday bookings. 37 percent pay for long-term or larger purchases by credit card.  

Older people in particular are poorly informed about what credit cards can and cannot do. Four out of ten cardholders do not know that they have to pay for their trip with a credit card for insurance coverage or whether cancellation protection is included. Half of them cannot say whether there is a maximum number of claims.  

“In fact, in many cases only one claim per year is included, and there are also differences in the coverage of fellow travelers. Therefore, you should not blindly rely on the travel insurance, but check the card services carefully. If you want to be on the safe side, it is better to take out classic travel insurance for longer trips, which offers more comprehensive protection and saves on travel protection with a credit card,” recommends Spona. 

Holidaymakers are sticking with cash – withdrawing money with a debit card is cheaper than a credit card 

Three quarters of those surveyed still pay in cash at the holiday destination itself. However, depending on the destination and card, withdrawing money while on vacation can incur considerable costs.  

Spona: “In the EU area you can usually make ends meet with a debit card, outside of this, costs can arise or there are problems with acceptance. In these cases, the debit card, which combines the function of an ATM with a credit card, is the better alternative because cash withdrawals in foreign currencies are cheaper than with credit cards.” the cash away.  

According to a survey, most credit card holders are aware of the sometimes high fees for cash withdrawals abroad. According to the durchblicker expert, there is great potential for credit card providers: “Free payment and withdrawing money in Austria, but above all inside and outside the EU, is right at the top of cardholders’ wish lists alongside purchase protection,” says Spona.  

Three out of four remain loyal to the credit card, but could save considerably - additional benefits often little used 

Despite different providers, costs and services, 76 percent of credit card owners have never changed their card. "Most of the time, you get the credit card for your checking account from the bank for free in the first year, but then you sometimes pay considerable monthly fees without even realizing it," warns the see-through expert.  

According to the survey, not everyone needs the additional functions that are often associated with this, such as partial payment options or access to airport lounges. "Every fourth person is interested in a partial payment option. This makes sense, especially for those who regularly overdraw their accounts or pay in installments. However, the fees for this vary considerably. It therefore pays to compare, and if you don't use the additional functions, a free credit card will suffice,” says Spona.  

Credit and debit cards (Photo: Robert Spohr).
Credit and debit cards (Photo: Robert Spohr).