Review of Hong Leong credit cards in Malaysia - how do they compare?

Hannes Ausmees

If you’re trying to pick the best Hong Leong® credit card¹ for your needs, we’ve got you covered.

This guide looks at the most important things you should know about 5 popular HLB credit cards, as well as the process to apply for a Hong Leong credit card online. As a bonus and to help you pick the perfect card for your needs, we’ll also touch on Wise. Wise is a non-bank provider with multi-currency accounts and debit cards that are ideal for travel.

Minimum annual income / eligibilityAnnual fees²Cashback / rewardsInterest rates²Foreign transaction fees²
HLB Essential Credit Card24,000 MYR/year100 MYRUp to 1% cash back, depending on statement balance15% - 18% depending on personal card use1% network charge + 1% HLB charge
HLB GSC Credit Card24,000 MYR/year150 MYR - 300 MYR depending on card selectionGSC rewards on spending which you can redeem against movie tickets15% - 18% depending on personal card use1% network charge + 1% HLB charge
Emirates® HLB Credit Card60,000 MYR to 250,000 MYR depending no the card selected1,200 MYR (or 2,500 MYR for Elite card)Airmiles, travel and lifestyle benefits and some insurance offered15% - 18% depending on personal card use1% network charge + 1% HLB charge
HLB I’m Credit Card24,000 MYR/yearNo annual feeNot applicable15% - 18% depending on personal card use1% network charge
HLB Sutera Platinum Credit Card36,000 MYR/year120Up to 8x rewards on spending15% - 18% depending on personal card use1% network charge + 1% HLB charge


What to consider when choosing a credit card

Before you apply for a credit card from HLB it’s worth weighing up a few different options. Some cards have low or no annual fees, but may not have many opportunities to earn cash back or rewards, while others have strict eligibility requirements but can offer impressive perks. Which option suits you depends on your personal preferences and circumstances.

Here are some important points to consider when you choose the right card for your needs:

  • Minimum income - all HLB cards have a minimum income which you’ll need to prove as part of your application. The cards we have profiled have requirements from 24,000 MYR - 250,000 MYR a year
  • Annual fee - most HLB cards have an annual fee although this can vary widely. Some cards have fees which can be waived easily, by using your card frequently or meeting minimum spending requirements
  • Interest rates - HLBs interest rates depend on how you use your card and how promptly you repay, from 15% to 18%
  • Rewards and cash rebates - there’s a good selection of options when it comes to rewards, including air miles, cash back and cheap cinema deals
  • Insurance - if you’re picking a premium card it’s worth checking if insurance is offered as part of the package - this can be handy and a good way of offsetting the costs of the card

Credit cards are a good option if you want to spread the cost of your spending across several months. However, there are usually fees to pay including interest and penalty costs if you’re late to settle your bill. If you’re looking for lower cost ways to spend, particularly when you travel, you may want to consider a debit card instead. Picking a debit card from a specialist provider like Wise can also mean you cut the costs of spending in foreign currencies, and get a better exchange rate when you convert funds. More on Wise, and how the Wise card can help you when you travel, later.

Learn about more great Malaysian credit cards in this full review.

HLB Essential Credit Card

The popular HLB Essential Credit Card³ offers higher cash back when you spend more with the card, with a relatively low annual fee.

  • Visa network card
  • 100 MYR annual fee, which may be waived if you meet eligibility criteria
  • Earn 1% cash back on spending above 7,000 MYR/month
  • Relatively low annual income requirement

Check out the HLB Essential Credit Card if you want a good all round card option with cash back on more or less all spending. The higher your statement balance the more chance there is to get the highest 1% cash back tier, making this a good pick for people who use a credit card frequently. The annual fee is 100 MYR but this can be waived based on the number or value of the transactions you process annually.

HLB GSC Credit Card

If you go to the cinema often you could get great rewards and low movie costs with the HLB GSC Credit Card⁴.

  • Visa network card
  • Offered as a Gold or Platinum card, with different annual fees for each
  • Get great rewards including points on spending you can exchange for movie tickets
  • Discounts of food and drink when you’re at a GSC cinema

The HLB GSC Credit Card has a selection of perks including cheap movie tickets if you buy online, and a 30% discount on food and drink when you’re at the cinema. There are also reward earning opportunities on your regular spending, with points you can exchange for free movies.

Emirates HLB Credit Card

You can choose from 3 different types of Emirates HLB Credit Card⁵ - the Emirates HLB World Elite Card, the Emirates HLB World Card, or the Emirates HLB Platinum card.

  • Mastercard network card
  • 3 different card tiers with their own eligibility requirements and fees
  • Earn rewards you can trade for flights, as well as lifestyle benefits
  • Each card has its own reward earning opportunity so you can pick the one that suits your spending best

The 3 Emirates HLB Credit Card options have annual earning requirements from 60,000 MYR to 250,000 MYR, but all offer some great lifestyle and travel perks like free airport transfers, insurance and golf benefits. You’ll also be able to earn airmiles you can then use for future flights, with varying reward rates based on the card tier you choose.

HLB I’m Credit Card

If you want a card with no annual fee and no HLB foreign transaction fee, check out the HLB I’m Credit Card⁶.

  • Visa network card
  • No HLB foreign transaction fee when you’re abroad
  • No annual fee
  • Card does not offer opportunities for reward earning or cash back

The HLB I’m Credit Card is a no fee card which also waives the HLB foreign transaction fee which usually adds 1% to all spending in foreign currencies. That can make it a good pick if you plan to travel, although you won’t be able to earn cash back or rewards with this card in the same way you can with other HLB credit card choices.

HLB Sutera Platinum Credit Card

You can earn up to 8x rewards on spending with the HLB Sutera Platinum Credit Card⁷.

  • Visa network card
  • Up to 8x on spending, including overseas spend, select online transactions and spending with partner merchants
  • Annual fee can be waived if you meet eligibility requirements
  • 36,000 MYR annual income requirement

When you use your HLB Sutera Platinum Credit Card with major online retailers like Lazada, and at popular physical stores like 7Eleven, you can get 8x rewards on all spending, with 1x points on all spend that’s not covered by these bonus offers. It’s also fairly easy to have your annual fee waived - just use your card at least once in the first few weeks of issue, and then meet the minimum annual spending requirement after that.

Bring the Wise card - the most international debit card in the world - along with you when travelling or shopping abroad

If you’re planning on travelling, it’s good to know that most HLB credit cards have a 1% foreign transaction fee that applies when you’re overseas.

If you want to avoid this, check out alternatives, like the smart international debit card from Wise.

Open a Wise account online and order your linked international debit card for a low one time fee, to hold and exchange dozens of currencies, and spend in 150+ countries. You’ll get the mid-market exchange rate with low fees from 0.43%⁸ whenever you spend with your card in a currency you don’t hold in your account, with no foreign transaction fee to pay.

Plus, because the Wise card is a debit card, there’s no interest to pay and no late charges to worry about. You can also get some global fee free ATM withdrawals every month, with low fees after that.

Order your Wise card today! 💳

Pricing/fees: Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

How to apply for a Hong Leong credit card

You can apply for a Hong Leong credit card online as long as you have all the relevant paperwork and you meet the eligibility requirements for the specific card you’ve selected.

Here’s how to apply for a Hong Leong credit card:

  1. Find the HLB credit card that suits you and make sure you meet the eligibility requirements
  2. Tap Apply now and enter your NRIC
  3. Complete the personal and employment information requested
  4. Follow the prompts to upload the required documents
  5. Once your account is verified, your card will be posted to your home address


  1. Hong Leong Credit Cards
  2. HLB card fees
  3. HLB Essential Credit Card
  4. HLB GSC Credit Card
  5. Emirates HLB Credit Card
  6. HLB I’m Credit Card
  7. HLB Sutera Platinum Credit Card
  8. Pricing/fees: Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

Sources checked on 01/07/2023

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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