InstaRem vs Wise - who wins in Malaysia?

Hannes Ausmees

If you need to send a payment from Malaysia to someone overseas, you may be wondering who wins - Instarem or Wise (previously known as TransferWise). While both providers offer online and mobile payments to a range of countries, the services available do vary quite broadly. As Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate for currency conversion, while Instarem rates include a markup, the overall costs can be higher when using Instarem too.

Before you choose which is best for your payment, check out this full Wise vs Instarem review. We’ll cover the transfer and account services available from both, the costs, and the exchange rates on offer. Let’s get started.

What is InstaRem?

Before looking at both providers in detail, let’s look at what each company is famous for.

Instarem¹ was founded in 2014 in Singapore, and is a safe provider with licences to trade in a range of countries - including Malaysia. You can send payments with Instarem to 55+ countries, online or in the Instarem mobile app. Personal and business transfers are supported, with most payments arriving where they need to be in 24 hours.

What is Wise (formerly TransferWise)?

Wise is a specialist in international payments for personal and business customers, and also offers multi-currency accounts which can be used to hold, send and spend in 50+ currencies and get local bank details for 10 currencies. With Wise you can send money to 80+ countries, and get paid like a local into a Wise Account, from 30+ countries. You can also get a Wise international debit card for easy spending in 170+ countries around the world.

Wise was founded in 2011, and is regulated under the Malaysian law as a remittance, money-changing and e-money issuance business. Learn more about how Wise is regulated in each country.

InstaRem vs Wise: international transfers

Wondering how the most important aspects about international transfers look like side by side? We’ve got you covered with this easy comparison table.

EligibilitySend from a selection of countries including Malaysia and SingaporeWise accounts are offered in most places around the world, with the exclusion of a small number of countries
Supported countriesSend to 55+ countriesSend to 80+ countries
FeesFees vary by destination - new customers may also benefit from promotional discountsLow fees, which vary by destination*
Exchange ratesExchange rates include a markupMid-market exchange rate
Payment limitsPayment limits for most transfer types are not specified - if you hit a limit when you’re arranging your transfer, you’ll be notified on screenSend up to 30,000 MYR per day as a Malaysian citizen or expat⁴
Delivery speedMost transfers arrive in 24 hours50%+ of payments are instant, 90%+ arrive in 24 hours⁷
Ways to payBank transfer or FPX²Bank transfer or FPX
Customer reviews4.4/5 star review on TrustPilot, from 7,000+ reviews³4.5/5 star review on TrustPilot, from 177,000+ reviews⁵
SafetyLicensed in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, India, USA, Canada and across EuropeLicensed in Malaysia and around 15 other countries and regions

*Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing: Only Pay for What You Use for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

Example transfer comparison

To give an idea of the differences between the costs of Wise vs Instarem in Malaysia, let’s take an example transfer. In this case, we are sending 3,000 MYR to a friend in the UK, paid for by bank transfer, and deposited right into the recipient’s account in GBP. Here’s how it works:

ProviderAmount sentTransfer feeExchange rateRecipient receives
Wise3,000 MYR19.58 MYR1.00 MYR= 0.182 GBP543.56 GBP
InstaRem (inclusive of new customer promotion3,000 MYR24 MYR1.00 MYR= 0.182 GBP542.23 GBP

*Fees and exchange rates correct at time of writing, 31st October 2022

In the example above, Wise wins with a lower transfer fee and a similar exchange rate this time. Wise always uses the mid-market exchange rate for currency conversions, so comparing both Wise and Instarem for your currency pair is still a sensible move. Use the calculator below to see exactly how much your recipient receives if you sent a transfer with Wise right now:

That said, it’s useful to note here that the costs of using Instarem in this worked example includes a new customer promotion⁶ which only runs to the end of 2022, and offers customers making their first transfer a 50 MYR discount. Once this promotion expires - or in the event you’re not eligible for it - you may find that the overall costs of Instarem increase vs Wise.

Instarem vs Wise: other multi-currency features

We mentioned that Wise and Instarem have some different features beyond international transfers. Let’s dive into that in more detail, with a Wise vs Instarem comparison looking at additional services and features for customers in Malaysia.

Multi-currency account for personal customersAvailable

Hold 50+ currencies, send to 80+ countries, and receive payments in up to 10 currencies fee free
Only available for business customers
Multi-currency debit cardAvailableNot available
Credit services for businessNot availableAvailable for business customers

Convert your credit card limits to instant cash

Summary: Which one is better for international transfers in Malaysia?

In our comparison, when sending 3,000 MYR to the UK, your recipient would have received more in the end if you sent your international payment with Wise compared to sending it with Instarem. That’s the case even though Instarem had a new customer promotion live at the time of research.

Before sending an international payment it always makes good sense to compare a few providers to make sure you get the cheapest and fastest option available. You’ll be able to instantly model your transfer on the Wise desktop site or app, and you’ll also see a few comparisons to help you pick. Wise will always compare their fees against key competitors transparently - and tell you, even if they’re not the cheapest option, so you can choose what works best for you.

Wise also offers a broader range of services, including multi-currency accounts for personal and business use - which can come in handy if you need to receive payments from a broad range of currencies, or if you spend overseas frequently.

Ultimately which comes out top in the Wise vs Instarem Malaysia debate will depend on the specific services you need. Use this review as a starting point to weigh up both, and see which suits you best.

Wise sign up


  1. Instarem
  2. Instarem - FAQ
  3. Trustpilot - Instarem
  4. Wise - Guide to MYR transfers
    Trustpilot - Wise
  5. Instarem new customer promotion
  6. Instarem Business
  7. The speed of transactions claim depends on funds availability, approval by Wise’s proprietary verification system and systems availability of our partners’ banking system, and may not be available for all transactions.

Sources checked on 10/01/2023

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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