Given that a press officer from my own bank told me “You know, I’d never thought about using contactless abroad”, we clearly still have some way to go on this one. It’s a relatively new phenomenon and one that won’t have crossed many people’s minds until they’re confronted with a locked toilet door and a £1.50-per-transaction charge on the next bank statement.
Actually, having been abroad once or twice recently, I’ve been using my reasonably splendid Curve card contactlessly all over the place precisely because it doesn’t add a foreign currency transaction fee. Oh, and remember boys and girls, never ever accept direct currency conversion (DCC) at point of sale. If the terminal says “do you want to be charged in your home currency £” or similar, always say NO. It is much better to be ripped of by your own bank that has at least a pretence of interest in keeping your business rather than a foreign bank that couldn’t care less.
The article does raise an interesting point though. Surely the solution is for your phone to generate a domestic debate token wherever you go and use that in the shops. So if I get off the plane in Australia, for example, my Apple Pay might cleverly contact eftpos and get a temporary eftpos card, in essence, funded from one of my existing payment accounts.