I would like to be able to use a card (debit card or similar) to pay in local currency when travelling. In the past, I have been charged fees when converting my currency (GBP). I plan on visiting other places in Europe (e.g. Cyprus, Portugal, and Spain) and Asia (e.g. South Korea, Japan, and China) and would like to make sure I use the cheapest option.
I thought Revolut was a solution, as I heard that they do not charge fees when paying abroad. So, I used Revolut in Europe; before I arrived, I transferred some GBP into a EUR account. Once abroad, I paid EUR with that account using my card.
However, I realised that I got charged for that initial conversion when transferring the GBP from my UK bank account to the Revolut EUR account. I think I misunderstood - it looks like there are no conversion fees abroad, but my UK bank account charged me for loading EUR onto the Revolut EUR account.
This made me think I should have just loaded GBP onto my Revolut card instead, as my UK bank account would not have charged for moving money to another UK account. Then, when abroad, I could have still opted to pay in EUR, and there would not have been a conversion fee. Is my understanding correct?
I know my UK bank account does charge a fee for conversions abroard, which is why I would like to get a different card to take with me. I have looked at other options like Monzo which do not charge for conversions, but I am still confused.
Should I keep GBP on the card, and when abroad pay in local currency? Or, should I always 'load' local currency on my card before I go?
I would greatly appreciate it if anyone could suggest anything for going abroad in general.