Best Multi-Currency Account in Malaysia 2023
If you travel often, get paid from abroad, need to settle international invoices, or simply love to shop online with retailers based overseas, a multi-currency account may help you cut your banking costs. Flexible accounts that let you hold and exchange multiple currencies can make foreign transactions easier while reducing the risks of fluctuating exchange rates.
However, opening a multi-currency account in Malaysia can be cumbersome, slow, and, most of all, expensive. Many traditional banks have foreign currency accounts that are more focused on investing rather than daily transactions, with relatively high fees to pay. Instead, specialist providers can be good alternatives with more currencies offered and lower charges overall.
In this article, we'll cover what you need to know about opening a multi-currency account, including the best options in Malaysia, the costs involved, and how to open one.
Quick Summary: Best foreign currency acounts in Malaysia
Wise: Accounts are free to open, Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate and offers low, transparent fees for all of its services. With no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement, customers can hold 40+ currencies in their account, get local account details for 10 global currencies (including MYR), and spend in 170+ currencies with the Wise debit card.
RHB: Choose from a personal or business interest-bearing account and store up to 24 currencies. RHB also offers a linked debit card at an annual fee of 20 MYR that lets you transact with Ringgit Malaysia and hold and spend in up to 16 currencies.
Maybank: Hold 16 different currencies and earn interest on your balances with no monthly account charge. Intended for long-term saving, there is no card for withdrawing cash and fees of 4 USD apply for transactions.
HSBC: Open an account in any of 12 foreign currencies with a minimum balance opening requirement set by currency. Fall below fees also apply if a minimum deposit of 20,000 MYR isn’t maintained.
What is a multi-currency account?
Multi-currency accounts allow individuals and businesses to hold different currencies in one bank account. Sometimes called a foreign currency account, customers can send, receive, store, and withdraw money without having to open multiple foreign accounts.
Can a multi-currency account be opened in Malaysia?
Yes. You can open a multi-currency account in Malaysia with a traditional bank or pick an online provider instead. You'll need to look carefully at the options, features and fees available from different banks and digital services to choose the right one for you. More on that coming up later.
What are the advantages of a multi-currency account in Malaysia?
Getting a multi-currency account can be handy for both individuals and business owners. Here are some of the main benefits:
You can hold, spend and exchange different currencies, making daily transactions easier.
Benefits frequent travellers or those that have international bills to pay.
Supports relatives living, working, or studying overseas.
Helps businesses connect with more customers, allowing international clients to pay in the currency that suits them.
Allows business customers to connect their account PSPs like Stripe, or marketplaces like Amazon to extend their reach.
Businesses can hold foreign currency balances and use them to pay suppliers and contractors, or switch back to MYR when there’s a good exchange rate.
Best multi-currency accounts
The best multi-currency account for you will depend on whether you need an individual or business account product, the type of transactions you need to make, and your personal preferences.
There's an extensive range of different multi-currency and foreign currency accounts on offer from Major Malaysian banks. Some are aimed at daily spending, while others are intended for savings and investments. As the features can vary widely, it's important to look carefully at the account details and fees before you pick. Here's an overview of a few popular multi-currency accounts in Malaysia to start your research.
|Provider||Account & Card features|
|Wise Multi-currency Account|
|RHB Multi-currency Account|
|Maybank Master Foreign Currency account|
|HSBC Foreign Currency Account|
Wise accounts are opened and operated online or in the handy Wise app, and can hold 40+ currencies. You'll also get local account details for 10 global currencies, including MYR, EUR and USD, so you can get paid to your account easily, plus a linked Wise debit card for worldwide spending and withdrawals.
Wise is a currency exchange specialist, using the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees for all services. There are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, making this a flexible option which you can use as much or as little as you need.
Wise fees: Accounts are free to open. No monthly fee or minimum balance.
Linked Wise debit card: Spend in 170+ currencies and withdraw money at 2.3 million ATM’s. Customers are free to spend any currency in their account and get 2 free ATM withdrawals to the value of 1,000MYR per month.
Currency conversion: Hold and convert 40+ currencies with the mid-market exchange rate.
Other notable features: Send money to 70+ countries, spend with your linked debit card in 170+ countries, and withdraw over 50 currencies at the live rate automatically.
RHB multi-currency account
RHB offers a multi-currency account with a linked debit card which can be used to hold and exchange 20+ currencies. The account can be set up as an education and employment or investment account to suit different customer requirements. This can make it handy to cover the costs of studying overseas, or allow resident or non-resident account holders to invest in a range of currencies. Accounts are interest bearing.
Fees: 20 MYR/year fee for a multi-currency debit card, fee-free withdrawals at RHB ATM’s, local ATM withdrawals 1 MYR out of network fee, international withdrawals up to 12 MYR
Linked debit card: RHB offers a linked debit card that allows you to transact with Ringgit Malaysia and hold and spend in up to 16 currencies.
Currency conversion: 1% foreign transaction fee for card spend; exchange rate markups may apply when converting currencies within your account
Other notable features: Interest bearing account, offered in 2 different product types depending on customer needs
Maybank Master Foreign Currency account
Open a Maybank foreign currency account to hold 16 different currencies and earn interest on eligible balances. There are no monthly charges for this account, but a fee applies whenever you need to transact - the equivalent of 4 USD. This account doesn’t have a chequebook or linked card and is more intended for longer-term savings - you can only withdraw funds through a telegraphic transfer, bank drafts, or conversion to a Ringgit account.
Fees: Transaction fee 4 USD or currency equivalent; minimum 1000 USD is required to open the account and earn interest
Linked debit card: No
Currency conversion: 16 currencies available; exchange rate markups may apply when exchanging currencies
Other notable features: No cheque book
HSBC foreign currency account
HSBC is famous for its cross-border and international banking options. It has a huge global presence and a good range of account options for people transacting in foreign currencies.
You can open an HSBC foreign currency account in any of 12 foreign currencies, with minimum opening balance requirements set by currency (1,000 USD for a USD account for example). You’ll need to pay a fall below fee if you don’t retain the required minimum deposit of 20,000 MYR (or currency equivalent) in any given month.
If you’re looking for a day to day account for foreign currency spending, the HSBC Everyday Global account may also be worth checking out.
Fees: Fall below fees and transaction fees apply
Linked debit card: No
Currency conversion: 12 available foreign currencies; exchange rate markups may apply when you convert from MYR to your preferred currency
Other notable features: Fairly high minimum balance requirements apply
How to open a multi-currency account online?
In today's connected world, having a multi-currency account is a must, becoming an essential tool for individuals who frequently travel and businesses engaged in cross-border transactions. With providers like Wise and other Malaysian digital banks, opening a multi-currency account online is a quick and easy process. However, some traditional banks might still require an in-person visit at a physical branch for extra verification.
Visit the Wise website or app.
Click on ‘Create account’ and provide your email address.
Select the account type you want to choose - personal or business.
Confirm your country of residence
Verify your mobile number with a code sent to your phone.
You’ll then be asked to complete some verification steps for security purposes. This usually involves uploading images of your ID documents and confirming your personal and contact information.
How to open a multi-currency account in Malaysia
The process to open a multi-currency account in Malaysia will depend on the provider and specific account you select. Some banks require you to visit a branch to set up your account, while others let you apply online.
In most cases you’ll need an MYR account with the same bank, so you’ll need to open this simultaneously if you’re moving to a new provider.
Online and digital services offer online and in-app onboarding processes, meaning you can apply for your account and get verified without needing to leave home.
Whichever provider you pick, the process to open your account is likely to be similar:
Research account providers and products and pick the right one for you
Gather all the required documents
Apply online or in a branch, depending on the provider
Show your paperwork to complete verification
Make your minimum opening deposit (if required)
Once your account is approved you can start to transact
The documents you need to upload or take along with you will depend on the specific account type. You’ll need to check with the bank or account service to make sure you know in advance what to prepare. Typically you’ll be asked for the following:
Your application form and declaration
Your passport or ID card
Proof of employment or education (depending on account type)
What is the best multi currency account in Malaysia?
Multi-currency accounts can be helpful for anyone who needs to spend, send or receive funds in foreign currencies. By opening a specialist account, you’ll often get access to lower transaction fees and a better exchange rate than regular bank accounts. You can also minimise the risks involved in fluctuating currency costs.
Use this guide as a starting point to find the best multi-currency account in Malaysia for yourself or your business. Plus, don’t forget to compare multiple options from both Malaysia’s big banks and specialist services to see which suit you best.
Best foreign currency account Malaysia FAQ’s
Yes. You can open a multi-currency account in Malaysia from several of the largest banks in the country, global financial service providers and online and digital specialists.
Yes, you can open a multi-currency account in USD in Malaysia with either a traditional bank such as HSBC or an online provider such as Wise instead where you can get local account details for 10 foreign currencies, including USD.
The costs of multi-currency accounts can vary widely. Traditional banks may have monthly fees and minimum balance requirements, which can push up overall charges - online specialists can often offer low transaction fees with no ongoing charges which can make them a better bet.