Wise vs Merchantrade money - Full comparison 2024

Looking for a way to hold and exchange multiple currencies, or send and spend foreign currencies conveniently? Maybe you’re torn between services from Wise and Merchantrade.

This guide covers all the information you need to know about both, including a look at international transfers, the types of account available, card services and more. To help you weigh up whether Wise vs Merchantrade is right for you, we’ll also look at a comparison of their fees and features side by side.

Summary: Wise offers online and in-app international payments with the mid-market rate and low fees, plus multi-currency accounts to hold, send, spend, receive and exchange a broad selection of currencies, including ringgit. Merchantrade also has a multi-currency digital wallet and card, and offers remittance services, plus a hybrid Current Account-i by AmBank Islamic. Merchantrade services are offered both online and through physical locations.

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Wise Vs Merchantrade: side by side

Let’s start with an overview of Wise vs Merchantrade 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
Multi-currency accountHold and convert more than 40 currenciesHold 20 currencies
Debit cardYY
Spend with debit cardFree to spend a currency you hold, conversion fee from 0.43% for other currenciesFree to spend a currency you hold, conversion fee of 1.75% for other currencies
Local account details for receiving paymentY - available in 9 currencies
Send money toMore than 160 countriesMore than 200 countries
Transfer speed50% of payments are instant, 90% arrive in 24 hoursFrom 1 business day
Exchange ratesMid-market rateCompetitive rates, which may include a markup
Islamic services availableNY - Hybrid Current Account-i
Open a business accountYY
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So, to sum up:

  • Wise offers service digitally - online and in-app - only, while Merchantrade has these channels, and physical locations in Malaysia for face to face service

  • Wise multi-currency accounts can hold 40+ currencies, while Merchantrade supports 20 currencies

  • Both providers have debit cards available, but Wise also offers local account details to receive payments from others in 9 currencies - a service Merchantrade doesn’t have

  • You can spend any currency you hold on your card for free with both providers. If you’re spending a currency you don’t have, Wise charges their conversion fee which starts at 0.43%, while Merchantrade has a 1.75% overseas transaction fee

  • Wise payments can be faster than Merchantrade - but Merchantrade remittances can be sent to more destination countries

  • Wise uses the mid-market rate to convert currencies, while Merchantrade uses their own rate which may include a markup

  • Both providers are properly regulated and offer business services - Merchantrade also has Islamic services in the form of its Hybrid Current Account-i

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The important bits

RatesMid-market exchange rateRates may include a markup

Free to spend currencies you hold

Currency  conversion from 0.43%

Free to spend currencies you hold

Foreign transaction fee of 1.75%

Speed50% instant, 90% same dayFrom one business day
ServiceOnline, Desktop browser and mobile appIn person, 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, no recorded reviews
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To summarise:

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

  • Fees: Free to spend currencies you hold with both provider - Wise charges from 0.43% if you need currency conversion for card spending, while Merchantrade applies a 1.75% foreign transaction fee

  • Speed: Wise transfers may arrive instantly, and 90% arrive in 24 hours, while Merchantrade transfers start from 1 day processing time

  • Service: Both providers have online and in-app service, Merchantrade also has physical locations throughout Malaysia

  • Safetly: Both providers are fully regulated and licensed

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

Both providers have a good selection of services in Malaysia, and while there are many overlapping service areas, there are some differences too. This guide should help you weigh up the pros and cons of each, so you can decide if Wise vs Merchantrade suits your specific needs more.

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
✅ Face to face, online and in app service
✅ Hold 20 currencies
✅ Send payments to 200 countries and territories
✅ Islamic banking current account product available
✅ Good selection of services including some healthcare cover
❌ Some service fees apply
❌ No physical location for face to face services
❌ Exchange rates may include a markup
❌ 1.75% fee to spend currencies you don’t hold with your debit card
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Wise Vs Merchantrade: The verdict

Both Wise and Merchantrade have a good selection of services available in Malaysia. Which is best for you will simply come down to the type of transactions you need to make.

Merchantrade has a broader selection of services including a Shariah compliant currency account, while Wise has more of a focus on international services with more supported currencies and mid-market exchange rates. If you prefer a face to face service, Merchantrade might be right for you - but if you want to hold, send, spend, receive and exchange a broader selection of currencies in your account, with the mid-market rate, 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 Merchantrade

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.

Merchantrade: Merchantrade began in 1996 as a telecommunications company and has grown over time to include international transfers, digital payment solutions, multi-currency accounts and more. Merchantrade is based in Malaysia and has hundreds of agent locations, as well as its own offices for face to face customer service.

How do they work?

With both Wise and Merchantrade you’ll need to register an account to transact. Wise accounts can be set up online or through the Wise app, and with Merchantrade you can choose to register and transact online, or to visit a Merchantrade location to get face to face support if you’d prefer.

Once you have an account set up you can explore your options - with Wise you can hold, send, spend, exchange and receive dozens of currencies, and order a linked payment card for use in 150+ countries. Wise international transfers are available to 160+ countries, and as they’re processed through Wise’s own payment network, the fees are kept low for customers.

Merchantrade has a broad selection of services, including multi-currency accounts to hold 20 currencies, Islamic banking products, international debit cards and even healthcare services. You can send payments with Merchantrade to 200+ countries and territories, with variable fees and rates.

Wise Vs Merchantrade fees

Both Wise and Merchantrade value transparency and show many of their fees upfront. You can get a rundown of most relevant fees online or through the provider apps - although while Wise allows customers to model an international payment and see the fees before signing up to an account, this service isn’t available with Merchantrade.

Let’s look at the key costs you’ll need to know about - you’ll also want to review the providers’ own fee schedules before you pick one.

ServiceWise feeMerchantrade fee
Annual feeNo fee to open a Wise account10 MYR
Card fee13.7 MYR10 MYR
Spend currencies you holdNo feeNo fee
Spend currencies you don’t holdFrom 0.43%1.75%
ATM fee2 withdrawals, to 1,000 MYR/month free - then 5 MYR + 1.75%

Local withdrawals: 1.4 MYR

Overseas withdrawals: 10 MYR

Overseas transfersFrom 0.43%Variable fees

Fees correct at time of writing - 6th July 2023

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Wise Vs Merchantrade: which is cheaper? 

NB Merchantrade won’t let me model a payment. I can get live rates but there’s no obvious fee info and the rates are confusing (ie. several different rates for the same currency). So I’ve kept this quite generic rather than using the table as per the brief. Let me know if you want something different

Whether Wise or Merchantrade is cheaper for you will depend on the specifics of your transaction or transfer.

If you want to check how much your international transfer would cost with Wise you can get an instant cost comparison on the Wise website or app. You’ll see the rate and fees right away, as well as the costs of your payment from a few other major providers. If a competitor within the comparison is cheaper than Wise you’ll always be informed to help you get the best deal.

With Merchantrade you’ll be able to see the live exchange rates for your currency online, and once you register an account you can see full fee information when you model a payment. This will then allow you to compare services, to see which will mean your recipient gets more in the end.

Learn more about Wise fees.

Wise Vs Merchantrade exchange rates

The Wise currency exchange rate is the same as the mid-market rate - that’s the one you’ll find on Google or using a currency conversion tool. With Wise you can also generate an instant quote for a payment which shows the amount you’ll pay, the fees clearly split out, and the amount your recipient will get in the end.

Merchantrade exchange rates may include a markup, and are published on their desktop site or in their app.

Wise Vs Merchantrade: which is faster?

If you’re sending an international payment, speed matters. Wise payments are usually quick - 50% are instant, and 90% arrive in 24 hours. Merchantrade states that payments can arrive from as little as one business day after being initiated.

Ultimately the how long it takes for an international transfer to arrive will depend on where you’re sending money to, how you want to pay, and the value of the transfer. With Wise you’ll see a delivery estimate before you confirm the payment so you’ll have an idea of the likely delivery time.

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Wise Vs Merchantrade international transfer limits

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

Wise limitsMerchantrade limits

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

Sending limits: Varied by currency and payment method

Holding limits: Based on wallet size, usually 20,000 MYR upon application

Sending limits: Varied by payment type

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Wise Vs Merchantrade card

Both Wise and Merchantrade have 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

  • Free to spend currencies you hold

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

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

Merchantrade card
  • 10 MYR order fee

  • Free to spend currencies you hold

  • Foreign transaction fee of 1.75% to spend currencies you don’t hold

  • Local ATM withdrawals cost 1.4 MYR, overseas withdrawals are 10 MYR 

Related: How to get a Wise card in Malaysia

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Wise vs Merchantrade card: Where can you use them?

You can use your Wise card in 170+ countries, to spend 50+ currencies. Wise cards are issued on either Visa or Mastercard networks, to give great global coverage.

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

Related: How to use Wise card abroad

Wise Vs Merchantrade business

Wise offers business account and payment services, including international debit and expense cards. Merchantrade offers international business payment services through Merchantrade Remit.

Wise BusinessMerchantrade Business
  • Business transfers with the mid-market rate and fees from 0.43%

  • 50% of payments are instant

  • Variable transfer limits based on currencies

  • Hold, exchange, send and spend 40+ currencies, and issue debit cards to your team

  • Business transfers with competitive rates and low service charges

  • Same day payments to select countries

  • Transfer up to 10 million MYR

Ease of use

  • Creating an account: Create your account online or in-app with both Merchantrade and Wise. Merchantrade also allows customers to create accounts by visiting an agent or office location

  • Making a transfer: Wise typically allows local bank transfers and FPX payments, while Merchantrade lets you top up your account by card, online banking, ATMs and in branches

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

  • Languages: Merchantrade 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 Merchantrade both have sending limits which can vary by destination country, and based on your account type. Account holding limits also apply.

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Supported currencies

Wise accounts can hold 40+ currencies, Merchantrade supports 20 currencies.


Both Wise and Merchantrade are regulated by Bank Negara Malaysia in Malaysia. As a global business, Wise is also overseen by other regulatory bodies in the countries and regions in which it operates.

Conclusion: Comparing Wise and Merchantrade

Wise is a global business with a focus on international payments, multi-currency accounts and debit cards which can be used in 150+ countries. Merchantrade has some services which overlap with Wise, including multi-currency accounts and international transfer options - but as a Malaysian company it also has several services and products more aimed at a local market, including an Islamic banking Current Account-i, and some healthcare services.

If you’re in Malaysia, it's well worth checking out both Wise and Merchantrade to see which may suit you. Wise may be a good fit if you travel a lot and want to be able to hold, exchange, send and receive a broad range of currencies. Merchantrade may be more for you if transacting face to face is important - plus you can top up your accounts in branches and at an ATM, which may be a bonus if you prefer to use cash day to day. Use this guide to start you off, and see which works best for your transacting needs.

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Merchantrade Money vs Wise FAQ

What is the difference between Wise and Merchantrade?

Both Wise and Merchantrade offer multi-currency accounts, cards and overseas payments. However, Wise has a broader range of supported currencies and easy ways to get paid by others in foreign currencies. Merchantrade doesn’t offer this, but does have other services like an Islamic Hybrid Current Account-i.

Which is better: Wise or Merchantrade?

Neither Wise nor Merchantrade 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 Merchantrade cheaper?

Whether Wise or Merchantrade is cheaper for you will depend on the services you need. Both have variable fees based on the type of transaction, so you’ll need to weigh up the options to decide which is best for you.

Is Wise or Merchantrade faster?

Wise offers fast international payments which can even arrive instantly. Merchantrade payments start from next day delivery. However, in the end the delivery time for any international payment can be influenced by many different factors, so which is fastest for you can simply come down to the specific payment you’re making.

How many currencies do Wise and Merchantrade support?

Wise accounts can hold 40+ currencies, Merchantrade supports 20 currencies.