Plastic proves the safest currency abroad

British holidaymakers are more worried about being robbed in the UK than abroad says CPP Group, which provides protection against theft and helps victims.

British holidaymakers are more worried about being robbed in the UK than abroad says CPP Group, which provides protection against theft and helps victims.

But once we venture abroad, according to the credit card group Capital One, we stand the highest chance of being mugged in a street in Spain.

Rob Habgood, Capital One's European vice-president, said: "With so many wallets and handbags being stolen from holidaymakers all over Europe, it makes good sense to think carefully about how much cash you carry. When cash is stolen it's gone for good, but plastic cards can be cancelled in an instant."

Capital One found that more than one in three respondents to its survey had been robbed in Spain, followed by one in seven visitors to France. The Netherlands, Tenerife, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and Ireland were also cited as countries where muggers roamed in large numbers.

CPP says losses from credit and debit cards issued in Britain and then used by criminals overseas totalled £94.8m in 2003. However, says CPP, Britons are still more concerned about the safety of their belongings when on holiday or mini-breaks in Britain rather than abroad.

CPP asked 2,000 people where they thought they would be most likely to have their wallet or purse stolen. One in six said they thought the UK was the most dangerous place.

Nick Jones, CPP's spokesman, said: "With more than 26 million Brits flying off for a sunshine break this summer, the safety of their wallets and purses should be of maximum importance. Although France, Spain and the USA are the foreign countries where most card fraud on UK-issued cards occurs, our findings show that it is essential that cardholders remain alert at home."

The Chip and PIN Programme, which acts for the leading credit card issuers, said this week that UK holidaymakers going abroad should make sure they know their personal identification numbers (PINs) for all the debit and credit cards they are taking.

Chip and PIN's spokeswoman, Sandra Quinn, said: "Debit and credit card holders should memorise their PINs before going on holiday abroad because there is a growing chance that they'll be asked to use them. Retailers abroad may not accept your signature as an alternative, as they currently might at home."

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