By Sabrina Loh
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is a fintech company headquartered in London that lets you send money internationally and spend abroad with the Wise debit card.
This guide covers everything you need to know about a Wise account and compares it with the BigPay account to help you make the right decision.
What is Wise?
Wise is an online financial service provider which lets users send, receive, and spend money abroad. Users can manage their account through the Wise smartphone app and can order the Wise debit card for a fee of RM13.70.
Features of a Wise account:
Send, receive, convert, and hold money in multiple currencies
Spend abroad with the Wise debit card
BigPay vs Wise:
Opening an Account
Funding your Account
Top up with a debit card, credit card, or bank transfer.
The first top up is compulsory through bank transfer.
RM10. This is not a fee. You’re free to use it later.
You’ll have to deposit RM101 to get your Wise account details.
This is not a fee. You’re free to use it later.
Anybody in Malaysia, including expats and travellers.
Ordering the Debit Card
Debit Card Fees
Free in Malaysia.
Up to 1% (usually far less) of currency conversion fees when using the BigPay card abroad.
Only free in Malaysia if you hold a Malaysian currency account. Otherwise, pay 0.61% average of currency conversion fees, in addition to ordering the Wise debit card for RM13.70.
Average of 0.61% of currency conversion fees when using the Wise debit card abroad.
Wise to Wise: Free if both accounts are of the same currency. Pay currency conversion fees for different currencies.
International Transfers: Pay currency conversion fees and fixed fees, depending on the amount, type of transfer, and destination.
Wise has recently announced that their fees are increasing on select routes from October 2022 onwards. More info here.
Wise to Wise: Instant
International Transfer: Instant for some countries, sometimes up to 2 working days for others.
Credit Card Top-up
Paying with a credit card or corporate card incurs significantly higher fees.
Organising Your Money
Spending in Malaysia
Spending in Malaysia is only possible with the Wise debit card.
Without it, you won’t be able to spend with local merchants as Wise has no QR payment feature.
The only exception is if you’re spending online with the Wise debit card.
The BigPay app tracks and categorises all your expenses automatically.
Only available on Monday to Friday, 9AM to 5PM (MYT).
The Bottom Line
A Wise account comes with many useful features and holds multiple currencies. However, there’s no better alternative than BigPay, especially if you’re living in Malaysia.
Locally integrated features
BigPay is packed with locally integrated features like DuitNow, which is used almost everywhere in Malaysia. This means you can use your BigPay app to make cashless and contactless payments with any DuitNow merchant, or send and receive money instantly.
Whether it’s electricity, water, mobile, or internet, you can pay your bills with participating merchants at no extra charge from your BigPay app.
Traveller’s best friend
Your BigPay account comes with a Visa card which gives you access to over 45 million merchants worldwide. Use it anywhere in the world, online and offline to automatically pay in the local currency of your travels with real-time exchange rates.
Fast transfer speeds
We’re known for having one of the fastest international money transfer speeds in the world. On top of that, you can also opt for the recipient to collect the money in cash in the Philippines and Indonesia.
Low and transparent fees
At BigPay, our mission is to make financial services accessible to all. That’s why you’ll always get transparent and competitive fees for whatever services you need.
Earn airasia points every time you transact with BigPay, regardless of currency. Use these points to redeem major discounts on AirAsia flights and rewards later.
Sign up for BigPay on iOS and Android to experience it for yourself!