Just as it is in America, credit cards are used in England as a quick and easy way to “break the bank.”
I have noticed, though, that some of the card machines in certain stores or restaurants are different from those in the States. Often when I pull out a “swipe” at the register, the cashier needs to see my card and manually punch in the 16-digit combo.
I feel that I frustrate the cashiers sometimes because they have to do this, and I can imagine why. I know lots of cards outside the U.S. have a chip within the plastic, which actually protects your account information better and is easier to use. Hopefully America will be in making the switch in the next few years.
I’m afraid at times to pay for meals with paper pounds because some places in London only accept cash. Also, despite my best efforts to keep my purse covered and close at all times, I know that London is a big city with big opportunities for theft, so I am wary of keeping a lot of cash on my person anyway.
So punch those numbers in, Mr. Cashier. At least I’m a proper tourist and spending money in your country.
(And don’t worry, Mom and Dad. I haven’t actually broken the bank. Yet.)