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Looking for the cheapest online shopping Malaysia has to offer? We’ve got it all covered here. From Korean skincare to second hand cars, hot fashion items to vintage collectibles - you’ll find it all. Read on for a full review of the top online shopping in Malaysia right now.
We'll also introduce Wise account and card, a 3x cheaper way to send, recieve and spend money internationally.
|🔖Table of contents
Shopee is the leading ecommerce site in the region - and sells pretty much anything you could possibly want, as well plenty of things you never even knew existed🛍
Shopee sellers are split into normal and preferred sellers, so you can see which are selling higher volumes and are better rated by previous customers. There are also Shopee Mall sellers which are official brands selling through the platform.
Shopee stands out as it offers a rewards program - Shopee Coins - which lets users earn benefits by spending, playing games, giving product ratings and watching live events. Redeem your rewards against purchases in future.
- How to shop: Online and using the Shoppee app
- Best for: Everything from electronics, homewares and Muslim fashions, to health and beauty or events tickets. Good seasonal offers and reward program
- How to pay: Cash Payment at 7-Eleven and KK Mart stores, cash-on-delivery (COD), credit / debit cards, Maybank2u, online banking, ShopeePay, installment plan¹
Lazada was founded in Singapore in 2012 and is owned by the Alibaba group. A pioneering ecommerce platform, Lazada is now one of the biggest in Southeast Asia, with huge sales volumes and a loyal customer base.
You can buy pretty much anything through Lazada, across LazMall, local sellers and LazGlobal. LazMall offers premium brands through authorised sellers, local brands - as the name suggests - are based here in Malaysia, while LazGlobal features sellers from China and elsewhere in the region.
- How to shop: Lazada website and highly rates app
- Best for: Core categories include electronics, home and lifestyle, health and beauty. Good seasonal sales and offers
- How to pay: Lazada wallet, Visa, Mastercard, online banking, Maybank installment plans, cash payments via 7-Eleven and 99 Speedmart, Touch’n’Go e wallet, Boost wallet²
eBay is one of the best known marketplace and auction websites around the world - although more established in the US and Europe than in Southeast Asia. Operating since 1995, eBay has a mix of auction style listings and Buy Now options where the price is fixed for the buyer.
If you’re bidding in an auction style listing, there may be a fixed reserve price or simply a minimum starting bid - this can mean you get some great bargains - as long as you don’t get carried away by the excitement of bidding.
- How to shop: eBay website or app
- Best for: Unusual, second hand or collectible items
- How to pay: Cash on collection, checks, money orders. Wire transfers and online payment methods are allowed on certain categories only³
Taobao is another giant in ecommerce. Founded in 2003, and owned by the Alibaba group, there’s not much you won’t find on sale here. The sheer range of items means you’ll almost certainly find bargains across all categories - but this volume does also mean that quality and pricing varies widely.
There are a couple of challenges when shopping with Taobao - firstly the site is in Chinese only, and secondly, shipping can be tricky or prohibitively expensive as goods come almost exclusively from China. To resolve these issues there are agents in Malaysia who can help you consolidate purchases, arrange shipping, and manage quality checks - and there’s always Google Translate if you’re struggling with Mandarin language. Well worth a dig around if you like a good bargain hunt.
|Read more: Ultimate guide: How to buy on Taobao in Malaysia
- How to shop: Online (in Mandarin only) or via a local agent
- Best for: Fashion, homewares, beauty - there’s not much you can’t find here
- How to pay: Credit or debit card via Taobao directly - if you’re buying through a Taobao agent you may have a range of other options⁴
Carousell was set up in Singapore in 2012, and offers users the opportunity to buy and sell online and using the app. You can sell items as an individual - if you’re having a home clearout for example - and buyers can choose between listings from individuals and some business listings too.
Categories are as diverse as fashion, cars and property, and home and living - you can even offer services and look for jobs on the site. Some items are sold with Carousell protection - this means you pay Carousell for the item and the money is held until you have verified that you received the product and check it’s what you were expecting. If you’re buying something expensive, looking for this protection can be a smart move.
- How to shop: Online, in app
- Best for: Second hand and used items
- How to pay: Varies by listing type - arange with seller when you buy
Althea Korea is the place to head if you’re after Korean beauty brands, shipped direct from Korea, and with a guarantee of authenticity. Althea operates across Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, as well as having a US/global brand for other regions of the world.
Anything beauty and skincare you’ll find here - from trendy makeup to skincare tailored to specific problem areas, with famous and exclusive brands on offer.
- How to shop: Online only
- Best for: Korean beauty brands
- How to pay: Card, e-banking, 7-Eleven, PayPal⁵
Amazon - despite being a global giant, Amazon isn’t as popular in Malaysia as you might expect. There’s not much of a local Amazon presence, meaning that you’re most likely to need to shop on the Amazon global site to find sellers who can ship internationally, or look at a local marketplace like Amazon Singapore, and find sellers willing to ship cross border there. Either way, the international shipping can bump up the costs.
All that said, if it exists, you’ll find it being sold on Amazon somewhere, so if you’re struggling to find something you really want locally - this is the place to look.
- How to shop: Online
- Best for: Items you can’t find elsewhere
- How to pay: Card or gift card
Part of the beauty of shopping online is the opportunity to buy from retailers all over the world.
However, there is a downside to shopping internationally online - high foreign transaction fees when you pay in a different currency. Many card issuers add a foreign transaction fee which is usually in the region of 1-3% - and can make a bargain less of a bargain in the end. Some platforms may also impose their own fees - so read the smallprint carefully.
Or, avoid the potential cost and hassle of foreign transaction fees, with a multi-currency account and card from Wise.
An independent researcher compared Wise to 6 other provider and Malaysia bank accounts. They found that Wise is on average 3x cheaper to send, spend, and withdraw money overseas.
To put this into context, if a product you’re buying from the US costs 1,000 USD, and you have to pay a 1% card fee, that will mean you acutually pay 10 USD more (so about 42 MYR) before you start to even think about the shipping costs.
Because Wise conversion charges are usually significantly lower than bank foreign transaction fees, paying for 1,000 USD in MYR with Wise will only cost you 0.45% or about 19.01 MYR, leaving you more to spend on yourself in the end. Check Wise card’s pricing.
|Paying for 1,000 USD
|Foreign transcation fee: 1%
|about 42 MYR
|Conversion fee: 0.45% (MYR to USD)
(Wise fee checked on 8 December 2021)
Open an account online for free, hold and spend in 50+ currencies and get currency conversion at the real mid-market exchange rate whenever you need it. It’s free to spend any currency you hold - meaning you avoid sneaky foreign transaction fees. There’s just a low, transparent fee when you exchange currencies instead - which may work out far cheaper than shopping with your regular card.
So there you have it, the very best online shopping Malaysia has - all in 7 great, but very different sites.
Check out the ones which appeal to you - and don’t forget, if you’re spending internationally, you need the multi-currency account and card from Wise, so you can spend less and buy more.
- [New to Shopee] What payment options does Shopee support?
- What payment methods are allowed on Lazada?
- Accepted payments policy
- What are the available payment methods? – Althea Help Center
This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.
We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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