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What Is the Best Travel Card in Malaysia?

Updated: Aug 15


By Sabrina Loh


Now that restrictions have finally been lifted, international travel is back in full swing! If you’re planning a trip abroad, making sure you’re able to pay for things is just as important as figuring out your lodging and purchasing travel insurance.


With confusing money changers, hidden currency conversion fees, the risk of your cash getting stolen, there’s no doubt that travelling overseas can be a costly (and sometimes stressful) endeavour.


A prepaid travel card can be an excellent solution, as it offers a way for you to access the local currency while using it like a regular debit card.


To save you time, we’ve compared the three most popular prepaid travel cards in Malaysia to help you pick the best one for your trip.



What is a prepaid travel card?

A prepaid travel card works much like a debit card. You can use it to make payments in-store and online, withdraw money from an ATM, and convert currencies. Sometimes, they even offer special features and perks designed for travel, such as discounts on airasia flights with the BigPay card.


In order to use the card, you must top up your account with funds through a mobile app or on their website. As it works like a debit card, you can't spend what you don’t have on the card and risk going into an overdraft. When you reach your limit, you can simply add more money onto it.


Some cards allow you to hold multiple currencies and lock in an exchange rate when you purchase the currency, such as keeping some money in Pounds and some in Euros.


Other cards allow you to top up your account in your local currency, then automatically convert and pay in the foreign currency when you’re abroad, offering more flexibility.


Depending on which network the card is a part of, it’ll include either a Visa or Mastercard symbol and be accepted anywhere in the world that accepts those networks.


*Disclaimer: The information that’s published here is accurate at the time of writing.


We’ve compared the three most popular prepaid travel cards in Malaysia:

Features

BigPay

Wise

MAE by Maybank

HSBC Everyday Global Debit Card

Network provider

Visa

Visa

Visa

Visa

Account opening fee

Free

Free

Free. However, there is a recurring annual fee of RM8 for the MAE card.

​Free. However, you’ll need to apply for the HSBC Everyday Global Account first, and verify your identity at a HSBC branch.

Initial top up

RM20. 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.


RM9. This is not a fee. You’re free to use it later.


N/A


We could not find any information on this


Funding your account

Top up with a debit card, credit card, or bank transfer.


Credit card top ups are free for the first RM1000, and charged 1% for subsequent top ups.

The first top up is compulsory through bank transfer.


Further top ups can be made through debit card, credit card, or bank transfer.


Credit card top ups will incur significantly higher fees.


Top up in the same currency to avoid currency conversion fees.


Top up via your Maybank2U account, Maybank ATM, debit card, or bank transfer.


Credit card top ups are not available.


Bank transfer only

Card delivery fee

Free

RM13.70

RM8

N/A. We could not find any info on this.

Activation for overseas use

Not needed

Not needed

Must be activated through the MAE app.

Required. You must visit a local HSBC branch first or call customer service.

Rewards

Earn points every time you spend with BigPay, regardless of currency. Use these points to redeem discounts on airasia flights and other rewards later.

More info here.

Customer Support

Available 24/7

Only available on Monday to Friday, 9AM to 5PM

We could not find any information on this, but we assume MAE's customer support is the same as Maybank's.

Available 24/7

Virtual card

Available

Available

Available

Monthly transaction limit

No monthly limit, but your wallet can only hold RM10,000 at a time. Simply top up to continue using.

RM17,000 per month for the default limit.

RM10,000 per month

RM3,000 default daily purchase limit

Currency conversion fees

Auto currency conversion.


Up to 1% (usually far less) of currency conversion fees when using the BigPay card abroad.


Try it out for yourself to see. 😘

Multi currency account.


Average of 0.61% of currency conversion fees when using the Wise card abroad.


Auto currency conversion.


We could not find any information on MAE’s currency conversion fees.


Multi currency account.


1% charge + any applicable Visa fees when you spend in a currency you don’t hold.


Overseas ATM fees

RM10 flat rate per withdrawal overseas.


More info here.

Depends on where your card was issued. Typically free twice a month if it’s below the withdrawal limit.


Further withdrawals will be charged a fixed fee on top of a 1.75% fee.


More info here.

RM12 flat rate per withdrawal overseas.



RM10 + 1% charge + any applicable Visa fees at Visa PLUS network ATMs, or RM5 at HSBC ATMs.

Where it can be used

Anywhere in the world except North Korea and Israel.

Anywhere in the world except Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo and DR of Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.


More info here.

MAE can be used overseas, but we could not find any information that specifies its limitations.


The HSBC Everyday Global Debit Card can be used overseas, but we could not find any information that specifies its limitations.

Card freezing

Available

Available

Available

Unavailable. You will have to call HSBC’s customer service.

Expense tracking

Available

Available

Read our in depth review of Wise here.



Which travel card is the best?

Based on the comparisons above, the answer is pretty clear — BigPay is the best travel card for Malaysians (not that we’re biassed or anything 😜).


A BigPay account is 100% free (and always will be) to open with multiple options available to fund your account. We understand that travelling can be costly and stressful, so we keep our exchange rates competitive and don’t put a cap on the monthly transaction limit.


You’ll never have to call us ahead to inform us of your travels or queue up at a money changer — just enjoy your trip and transact with the BigPay card as usual. We’ll take care of the rest by auto-converting your payments into the local currency while updating you every step of the way.


Our analytics automatically track your expenses so you can see how your travel budget is doing, and you’ll earn points regardless of what currency you’re spending in. Use these points to redeem major discounts on airasia flights and other rewards later.


BigPay promises to be the perfect solution to your travel needs.


Sign up now on iOS and Android!