Wise vs MAE - Full comparison [2024]

If you need ways to spend easily locally and overseas, and want to be able to manage your money entirely from your phone, you may have heard of digital wallet and card services from Wise and MAE by Maybank2U.

If you’re not sure which is best for you, this guide covers all you need to know, including a look at card services, the types of account available, international transfers and more. We’ll also look at a comparison of Wise vs MAE fees and features side by side, so you can see if either works for you.

Summary: Wise offers online and in-app multi-currency accounts with cards which you can use to hold, send, spend, receive and exchange a broad selection of currencies. You can also make Wise international payments which use the mid-market rate with low fees. MAE by Maybank2U is a digital wallet and card, which you can open using the Maybank2U app, with easy ways to pay bills, shop, and even order online groceries.

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Wise Vs MAE: side by side

Let’s kick off with a side by side comparison of Wise vs MAE by Maybank2U so you can get a feel for what services each provider has, and how they measure up.

Service availabilityOnline and in appOnline, in app, in person in Maybank branches
Multi-currency accountHold and convert more than 40 currenciesN
Debit cardYY
Spend with debit cardFree to spend a currency you hold, conversion fee from 0.43% for other currenciesFree to spend in MYR, if you’re overseas the Maybank exchange rate applies which may include a markup
Local account details for receiving paymentY - available in 9 currencies
Send money toMore than 160 countriesUse Maybank2u to send international wires - broad selection of countries supported
Transfer speed50% of payments are instant, 90% arrive in 24 hours1 - 3 days
Exchange ratesMid-market rateMaybank rate applies, which may include a markup
Islamic services availableNMAE is Shariah compliant
Open a business accountYNo MAE business options - Maybank has alternatives available
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Key points: Using MAE vs Wise in Malaysia

  • Wise offers service digitally - online and in-app - only, while MAE has these channels, and Maybank branch locations for face to face service

  • Wise multi-currency accounts can hold 40+ currencies, while MAE supports MYR only. Wise also offers local account details to receive payments from others in 9 currencies - a service MAE doesn’t have

  • Both providers have debit cards available, which can be used globally

  • If you’re spending a currency you don’t hold abroad, Wise uses the mid market exchange rate and charges their conversion fee which starts at 0.43%, while MAE uses the Maybank exchange rate which is likely to include a markup

  • Wise payments can be faster than MAE. MAE remittances must be arranged via the full Maybank2u online banking service

  • Wise uses the mid-market rate to convert currencies, while MAE uses the Maybank rate which may include a markup

  • Both providers are properly regulated - MAE is also has Shariah compliant

The important bits: Wise card or MAE card?

Exchange ratesMid-market exchange rateRates may include a markup
Card and account fees

Free to spend currencies you hold

Currency  conversion from 0.43%

Free to spend in MYR

No MAE fee to spend with your card abroad, but currency exchange rates may include a markup

Transfer speed50% instant, 90% same dayMaybank transfers can take 3 days
ServiceOnline, Desktop browser and mobile appIn branch, online, Desktop browser and mobile app
SafetyFully regulated and licensed Fully regulated and licensed
Reviews (TrustPilot)4.3, Excellent, 192,000+ reviewsNot active on Trustpilot, profile remains unclaimed
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To summarise:

  • Rates: Wise uses the mid-market rate, whereas MAE may add a margin to calculate the exchange rate available

  • Fees: Free to spend MYR with MAE, and free to spend currencies you hold with Wise - Wise charges from 0.43% if you need currency conversion for card spending, while MAE converts with the Maybank rate which is likely to include a markup

  • Speed: Wise transfers may arrive instantly, and 90% arrive in 24 hours, while MAE transfers via Maybank2u can take 3 days

  • Service: Both providers have online and in-app service, MAE also operates through Maybank branches throughout Malaysia

  • Safetly: Both providers are fully regulated and licensed

  • Reviews: Wise has an Excellent rating on Trustpilot from 192,000+ reviews, Maybank2u is not active on the platform

Summary: While Wise and MAE have some similarities, in that they both offer digital wallets and payment cards, there are also significant differences. Wise has an international focus with multi-currency account options and ways to get paid conveniently from overseas. MAE is more based on holding MYR, and although you can spend easily with your card overseas you can’t get paid by others in foreign currencies. Instead, MAE has handy local features like ways to order food and groceries from local suppliers via the MAE app.

This guide should help you weigh up the pros and cons of each, so you can decide if Wise vs MAE by Maybank2U suits your specific needs more.

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The verdict: Wise or MAE card?

Both Wise and MAE by Maybank2U offer interesting features for customers in Malaysia. They overlap in terms of having digital account services you can operate in-app, and linked payment cards. However, there are big differences in the 2 options, as well.

  • MAE is offered as part of the Maybank online banking Maybank2u service, and as such customers can access the full suite of Maybank services - although for some things you may need to upgrade to a full Maybank account rather than the MAE digital wallet. This does mean you can get extra services like loans and credit, as well as international payments.

  • However, MAE doesn’t let you hold foreign currencies, and as such it’s not optimised for international use in the same way that Wise is. If you want to hold, send, spend, receive and exchange a broad selection of currencies in your account, for travel or shopping online with overseas retailers, Wise may appeal.

Compare both providers based on the services you need and the type of transaction you’ll make often to decide which suits you best.

About Wise and MAE

Wise review: Wise was founded in 2011 with a focus on cross border transfers, and has subsequently grown to include multi-currency account services, debit cards and business products. Today, Wise has over 16 million customers globally. All Wise services are delivered online and in app, with transparent fees and low overall costs.

MAE: MAE by Maybank2U is Maybank Malaysia’s digital wallet and card service. You can open a MAE account if you’re already a Maybank customer, or you can apply without upgrading to a full Maybank account if you’d prefer. MAE offers a payment card, ways to make transfers and pay bills, budgeting and saving tools and access to a broad suite of Maybank services via Maybank2u.

How do they work?

Wise and MAE by Maybank2U are a bit different in how they work - but there are similarities in how you get started. With both providers you can sign up in-app - and with MAE if you’ve already got a standard Maybank account you can simply add the MAE digital wallet as an extra connected service, too.

How Wise works: Wise is an independent financial technology company, while MAE is a digital wallet offered via a bank. This does mean that some of the services offered are different, and the processes that run in the background can vary too.

For example, with Wise money transfers, if you send a payment overseas, it’ll be processed through the Wise payment network which can result in low overall fees and a fast - or even instant - delivery time.

How MAE works: On the flipside, because MAE is offered through a bank with a full Malaysian banking licence, the range of services you can get is bigger compared to Wise. You’ll be able to access home loans and credit for example, which aren’t an option with Wise.

MAE transfers may be offered via Maybank, which usually means they’re processed through SWIFT which can attract higher fees and take 3 to 5 days.

Wise card Vs MAE card

One of the key features of both Wise and MAE by Maybank2U are the linked debit cards you can use for local and international payments and withdrawals. Here’s a quick side by side feature comparison.

Provider cardCard features
Wise card
  • 13.7 MYR order fee

  • Hold 40+ currencies, and spend any currencies you hold for free

  • Conversion fee from 0.43% to spend currencies you don’t hold

  • Some free ATM withdrawals every month, low fees apply after that

MAE by Maybank2U card
  • 8 MYR order fee

  • Maybank exchange rates apply when spending overseas, which can include an extra fee

  • You’ll need to activate your card for overseas use

  • Set up automatic top ups so your MAE digital wallet never runs low on funds

Go to Wise

How to withdraw money with a Wise card.jpg

Wise vs MAE card: Where can you use them?

You can use your Wise card in 150+ countries. You can hold and exchange 40+ currencies, including MYR, AUD and SGD. Wise cards are issued on either Visa or Mastercard networks, to give great global coverage.

MAE cards are issued on the Visa network and can be used globally anywhere you see the Visa logo.

Pros and cons

✅ Multi-currency accounts to hold 40+ currencies
✅ Payments to 160+ countries
✅ Local receiving account details for 9 currencies
✅ Payment cards for use in 150+ countries
✅ Mid-market exchange rates
✅ In branch, online and in app service
✅Budgeting and savings tools
✅ Local bill payments and in app transfers
✅ International payments available via the full Maybank2u online banking service
✅ Extras like promotions and in-app ordering of food and groceries
❌ Some service fees apply
❌ No physical location for face to face services
❌ No multi-currency services
❌ Exchange rates may include a markup 
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Wise Vs MAE fees

There are a few service fees you’ll want to know about if you’re considering either Wise or MAE. And while both offer pretty good value with many free to use services, there are some costs involved which it’s important to understand.

Let’s look at the key costs for Wise vs MAE - you’ll also want to review the providers’ own fee schedules before you pick one.

ServiceWise feeMAE fee
Annual feeNo fee open a Wise account8 MYR
Card fee13.7 MYR8 MYR
Spend currencies you holdNo feeNo fee
Spend currencies you don’t holdFrom 0.43%Maybank’s exchange rate applies which may include a fee
ATM fee2 withdrawals, to 1,000 MYR/month free - then 5 MYR + 1.75%Varied by ATM operator and location
Overseas transfersFrom 0.43%Standard wires with maybank cost up to 30 MYR

Fees correct at time of writing - 6th July 2023

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Wise Vs MAE exchange rates compared

Here's an overview of both providers' exchange rates, and how you can find their rates:

Wise exchange rate

The currency exchange rate used by Wise is the mid-market rate. That’s the one you’ll usually find on Google or using a currency conversion tool. Wise uses mid-market exchange rate for currency conversion, whether it is spending with your Wise card in a currency that you don't hold or sending an international money transfer.

Mid-market exchange rate can be a helpful benchmark, because it’s the rate that banks and specialist providers get when they buy and sell currencies on the global markets. However, banks might often add a markup - which is an extra fee - onto the mid-market rate, to generate the exchange rates they offer retail customers.

MAE card exchange rate

MAE exchange rates may include a markup added to the mid-market rate. You can find their exchange rates published on the Maybank2u desktop site or in the MAE app.

Ease of use: Which is easier to use in Malaysia?

  • Creating an account: Create your account online or in-app with both MAE and Wise

  • Making a transfer: Wise typically allows local bank transfers and FPX payments, while MAE lets you top up your account by debit card, FPX and CDM

  • Ways to send money: Send payments to your recipient’s bank account directly with both MAE and Wise

  • Languages supported: MAE is focused in Malaysia and has services in English primarily, with support in Bahasa Melayu. Wise offers 15 languages, plus multi-lingual support services

  • Minimum & maximum amounts: Wise and MAE both have sending limits which can vary by destination country, and based on your account type. Account holding limits also apply. MAE also has limits on the annual transaction you can make, of 60,000 MYR cumulatively

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Supported currencies

Wise accounts can hold 40+ currencies, MAE supports MYR only.

Wise Vs MAE: Which is cheaper for international transfers? 

Wise and MAE work a bit differently when it comes to international transfers. MAE is part of Maybank and as such MAE transfers in most cases will be routed through Maybank’s Maybank2u online banking service. Fees for Maybank vary based on where you’re based and where you’re sending to. However, the best way to compare the costs of any international payment service is to take a look at how much your recipient is likely to get in the end with a few different providers.

Here are some Wise vs MAE (Maybank2u) money transfer examples for comparison:

Amount & CurrencyWith Wise your recipient gets:With Maybank your recipient gets:Winner?
Sending 5,000 MYR to USD1,065.82. USD1,025.07 USDWise
Sending 10,000 MYR to USD2,132.11 USD2,081.81 USDWise
Sending 5,000 MYR to GBP838.68 GBP811.24 GBPWise
Sending 10,000 MYR to GBP1,677.75 GBP1,640.91 GBPWise

Correct at time of writing, 6th July 2023

As you can see from this comparison, on our chosen payment routes, Wise came out on top each time. This is usually because Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate and its own payment network, which means you cut out the extra costs involved with routing a transfer through the SWIFT system. This allows Wise to keep costs to a minimum and pass these savings on to the customer.

Compare a few services before you arrange your overseas payment, to see which is best for your specific transfer.

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Learn more about Wise fees.

Wise Vs MAE: Which is faster for international transfers?

50% of Wise transfers are instant, and 90% arrive in 24 hours. Maybank2u payments can take around 3 days to arrive, depending on the destination.

[How long does international transfer take](how long does international transfer take)? Delivery times for overseas transfers can vary pretty widely, depending on the payment route and the recipient bank’s own processes, Wise uses its own payment network which tends to speed things up a bit, while Maybank uses SWIFT which can take a few days.

Wise Vs MAE international transfer limits

Both Wise and MAE have limits on the amount of money you can send or receive, which can vary depending on the account type you hold.

Wise limitsMAE limits

Holding limits: 20,000 MYR for personal customers, unlimited for business customers

Sending limits: Varied by currency and payment method

Holding limits: MAE wallets can hold 4,999.99 MYR, or 10,000 MYR if you have a MAE card as well

Transaction limit: 60,000 MYR annual transaction limit

Sending limits: international payments are offered via Maybank2u and have their own limits based on account type 

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Wise and MAE are both regulated by Bank Negara Malaysia in Malaysia. Wise is also licensed and overseen by other regulatory bodies in the countries and regions in which it operates, like the FCA in the UK, and ASIC in Australia.

Conclusion: Comparing Wise and MAE

Wise and MAE both offer great ways to manage your money from your phone, with convenient linked debit cards you can use for payments and withdrawals. However, the focus of each provider is a little different.

Wise is a global financial technology company offering multi-currency holding accounts, ways to get paid like a local from 30+ countries, and mid-market exchange rates whenever you spend or send foreign currencies. The Wise card can be used in 150+ countries, and both personal and business services are available. Wise can be a good pick particularly if you’re a traveller or if you spend in foreign currencies online. It’s also handy if you need to get paid in foreign currencies as a freelancer or business owner, for example.

MAE on the other hand is offered through Maybank and has more of a domestic focus, with access to a great range of banking services such as loans and overdrafts. You can only hold MYR in MAE, but you can spend overseas at competitive rates with your MAE card, and send payments internationally via Maybank2u. If you prefer a face to face service, MAE may suit you as you can call into a Maybank branch if you need help - plus you’ve got all the options that come with a full bank at your disposal if you need them.

Whether MAE or Wise is best for you will depend on the types of transactions you need to make. Compare both to see which fits your needs best.

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MAE vs Wise FAQs

What is the difference between Wise and MAE?

Wise and MAE offer digital accounts and cards, but they’re quite different. Wise has 40+ supported currencies and easy ways to get paid by others in foreign currencies. MAE allows holding in MYR only, but does let you spend overseas with your MAE card - plus you’ll get access to Maybank services via Maybank2u if you need them.

Which is better: Wise or MAE?

Neither Wise nor MAE is better - it all comes down to what services you’re looking for. Compare both based on the transaction types you need to make, to pick the right one for you.

Is Wise or MAE cheaper?

Whether Wise or MAE is cheaper for you will depend on the services you need. In our comparison on overseas transfers, Wise came out cheaper on all examples. However, for day to day use, both providers offer low fees across many services, so comparing both against the transactions you need to make will help you pick out the cheapest for your specific needs.

Is Wise or MAE faster?

Wise international payments usually arrive quickly or even instantly - 50% are there in seconds, and 90% within a day. MAE offers international transfers through Maybank which means the SWIFT network is used - this can mean payments take 3 to 5 working days to arrive.

How many currencies do Wise and MAE support?

Wise accounts can hold 40+ currencies, MAE supports MYR only.