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?
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!