Wise Payments - A Malaysian's Perspective

I review the Wise payments platform, recently launched here in Malaysia. Can an international contender stack up to the established fintech players in the local market?

Wise Payments - A Malaysian's Perspective
Photo by Emil Kalibradov / Unsplash

Formerly TransferWise, this international payments platform was recently launched in Malaysia and I thought I'd give it a shot. Aside from a few minor gripes, I thoroughly enjoyed the features that it provides!


What's good, and what's bad?


  • Create a local bank account in almost every global currency
  • Low transfer/currency conversion fees (comparable to BigPay)
  • Ability to create up to 3, easily replacable virtual cards — now this is the killer feature I've always wanted that I couldn't find elsewhere!
  • Approve card transactions via Wise app notifications — a lot more convenient than waiting for an OTP, memorising it, and entering it again!


  • Contactless card payments (Visa PayWave) don't work, at least in my experience. I did e-mail customer support who recommended changing the card's PIN via ATM, but I couldn't find one with that option. Hopefully it'll be supported in the future!
  • Top up process is kind of tedious compared to other local payment apps. You have to provide a reason for topping up every time, and it might take a while for the balances to update.
  • Only FPX/bank transfer is supported for top ups; there are debit and credit card options in the UI, but they can't be selected.
  • Some services (e.g. Touch n' Go eWallet) don't accept the Wise card. TnG eWallet specifically states that they only accept Malaysian/Singaporean bank-issued cards, though my BigPay card works just fine with them.


Is using Wise truly the Wise-r choice?

TL;DR: I'm going to stick with BigPay in-store, Wise online.

Wise's currency conversion rates are some of the best available locally, and I would use it for international purchases from time to time. However, due to the contactless issue that still has not been resolved, I would stick to other forms of other card and QR payments in-store, leaving the Wise card pretty much unused.

It would be great for Wise to have debit/credit card top-ups like many other e-wallets here do. I also find the multi-currency bank accounts in every country to be very handy if you're doing business/handling funds accordingly.


If you're thinking of giving Wise a shot, do use my referral link; you and I both get perks, and it's one of the many ways you can support my work!

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