Holidaymakers face a struggle to access their money abroad as card companies prevent them from accessing their funds, a new survey has revealed.

According to data released on Wednesday (31 May) by comparison service uSwitch, 26% of people who used their card while travelling abroad had it blocked by their providers. The issue arose despite 61% of them claiming they had told their bank they would be going abroad.

The report added being unexpectedly prevented from withdrawing funds abroad could not only prove extremely stressful, but also quite costly and time-consuming to resolve.

Some 15% of the 2,000 respondents had to wait for over 24 hours for the issue to be sorted. 22% were forced to borrow money from family or friends until returning to Britain. 27% reported being left stressed and anxious by the mishap.

Most British banks request account holders to notify them ahead of a trip abroad, as lenders tend to automatically block card transactions carried out in another country to prevent fraud.

"Card companies take security extremely seriously and constantly monitor for unusual spending activity, which can include overseas transactions, in order to protect customers from fraud," said Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association.

"If there is any suspicious activity, banks will try to contact customers to verify the transactions so the card to be used as quickly as possible. It's important for consumers to make sure their card issuer has up-to-date contact details including a mobile number."

However, a large number of people have complained they were unable to access their funds, despite having informed their banks of their travel plans.

If banks have been notified about the upcoming trips, they should automatically refund all costs associated with reactivating the card, uSwitch said.

"Banks need to up their game and look to technology to ensure that they are providing consumers with an efficient service when they are stranded abroad with a blocked card," said uSwitch money expert Tom Lyon.

"If you are heading overseas, let your bank know about your travel plans. It is also worth providing your bank with your contact number and making sure your number with them is up-to-date, to allow them to get in touch if you run into problems.

"If you do incur costs such as call or data charges when trying to reactivate your card, ask your bank for a refund. If your bank turns your complaint down, you can take your case to the free and independent Financial Ombudsman Service."