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If you’re looking for a convenient way to send and spend foreign currencies, you may have heard of both BigPay Malaysia and the Wise Account and card. Both offer some overlapping services, like cross currency payments and a linked international debit card. But which is the best bet if you’re a Malaysian citizen or resident? This guide has you covered with all you need to know about BigPay vs Wise.
Feel free to jump to the sections that interest you the most:
- What is BigPay
- What is Wise
- Main comparison
- International transfer comparison
- Card comparison
BigPay¹ offers online accounts and linked payment cards to residents of Malaysia and Singapore. You may also be able to pay your bills from your BigPay account, send a BigPay international transfer, take a personal loan, or make mobile payments. All you need to get started with BigPay is a smartphone and a local phone number.
We’ll dive into the BigPay features available to Malaysian citizens and residents next. If you’re interested in learning more you can also check out our full BigPay review and BigPay card review here.
BigPay accounts can be helpful for travellers, foreigners in Malaysia, students, freelancers, online shoppers and anyone looking to manage their money in an app or online. Here are some of the key features offered by BigPay Malaysia:
- BigPay card - a Visa card which allows you to transact in multiple currencies online and in person
- BigPay budgeting - analytic tools to view, categorise and get instant notifications about your spending
- BigPay payments - pay bills, send money to other BigPay account holders, or make international transfers to select markets
- BigPay rewards - get referral bonus payments, and AirAsia points when you spend from your account
- BigPay loans - digital personal loans arranged via the BigPay app
Wise, which was previously called TransferWise, offers international accounts and cards to individuals and business owners in all but a handful of countries around the world. You can use your Wise account to hold 40+ currencies, get paid in up to 10 currencies fee free like a local, and spend with your linked card in 150+ countries.
Wise currency exchange uses the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees, which can make it on average cheaper for foreign transactions compared to Malaysian banks and providers like BigPay.
Wise accounts are available for individuals and business owners, freelancers and anyone looking to cut the costs of transacting internationally. Here are some of the key features you’ll want to know about:
- Wise Account - multi-currency account to hold and exchange 50+ currencies, managed online or via the Wise app
- Wise card - linked international debit card to spend in 170+ countries, with auto convert feature to ensure you get the lowest fee every time
- Wise local bank details - get paid into your Wise account fee free from 30+ countries, in a range of foreign currencies
- Wise international payments - send payments to 70+ countries, with low transparent fees. 50%+ of payments arrive instantly
- Wise currency conversion - whenever you convert a currency in your account, spend with the card, or send a cross border transfer, Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate with low conversion fees starting at around 0.43%
Not sure which will work for you between BigPay vs Wise? Here’s an overview of some key features of both to help you decide.
|Eligibility||Malaysian or Singapore residents only||Available in most countries around the world|
|Account opening fee||Free||Free|
Spend with the BigPay card in most countries around the world
Send payments to 11+ countries
Hold 40+ currencies
Spend in 170+ countries with the Wise card
Send payments to 70+ countries
|Fee to get a debit card||1st card free, replacement cards 20 MYR||13.7 MYR|
|Foreign transaction fees||Waived during time of writing Conversion up to 1%|
Free to spend any currency you hold in your account
Currency conversion from 0.43%
|Fee to send an international payment||0 MYR - 22 MYR depending on the country involved||From 0.43%|
|ATM withdrawal fee|
6 MYR in Malaysia
10 MYR internationally (additional fee of 2% waived at time of writing)
Up to 2 withdrawals, to the value of 1,000 MYR per month free
Then 5 MYR + 1.75%
|Account top up fee|
1% credit card fee
Up to 5 MYR for cash top ups
Receive payments for free in 10 currencies
4.14 USD fee for receiving a USD wire payment
|Other notable features|
Pay bills locally in Malaysia
Get budgeting and analytic tools
Apply for a BigPay personal loan online
Currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate
International payments are often instantly deposited in bank accounts
Wise is a specialist in currency conversion and international payments. With Wise you’ll be able to send money to 70+ countries, with the mid-market exchange rate and low fees which you can see before you open a Wise account.
BigPay international transfers are offered to a slightly more limited range of countries, with 11 key payment markets, plus some options to transfer to the UK and EU. To see the limits and exchange rates which apply to your BigPay international payment you’ll first need to register and verify an account.
Let’s take a look at how Wise and bigPay match up when it comes to sending international payments:
|Provider||Transfer fee||Exchange rate||How to get a quote|
|Wise||From 0.43%||Mid-market exchange rate||Model your payment online or in the Wise app - no account needed|
|BigPay||Up to 22 MYR based on the country||Rates confirmed at time of payment||Register and verify a BigPay account to see the exchange rate available for your transfer|
Use the calculator below to see how much an international transfer costs if you're using Wise:
Both BigPay and Wise offer a linked debit card you can use for local and international spending. Here’s a rundown of how the two card options measure up.
|Feature||BigPay Card||Wise Card*|
|Fee to get a card||1st card free, replacement cards 20 MYR||13.7 MYR|
|ATM withdrawal charges||6 MYR in Malaysia; 10 MYR overseas or 2% of withdrawal amount, whichever is higher||Up to 1,000 MYR/month in two withdrawals fee free, fees apply for further withdrawals|
|Foreign transaction fee||Waived during time of writing Conversion up to 1% + network charges|
No foreign transaction fee
Currency conversion from 0.43%
|Other notable features||Manage card in the BigPay app|
Manage card in the Wise app
Get a virtual card instantly once you apply for a physical card
Whether BigPay or Wise wins for you may come down to how you want to use your account. BigPay has a range of services like personal loans, local bill payment and budgeting analytics, which can be handy. However, you’ll only be able to hold MYR in your BigPay account. So while you can conveniently spend with the BigPay card, and send payments to select international markets, the account isn’t really optimised for people who transact internationally regularly.
If you’re looking for a way to get paid fee-free from abroad, to hold and exchange dozens of currencies in the same account, and get the mid-market exchange rate whenever you need to spend or make a payment, the Wise Account and card may be the cheaper and more flexible option for you.
Sources checked on 07/02/23
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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