Best Multi-Currency Account in Malaysia

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 which let you hold and exchange multiple currencies can make it easier to transact in foreign currencies, and reduce the risks involved in fluctuations in the exchange rate.

However, opening a multi-currency account in Malaysia can be cumbersome, slow, and, most of all, expensive. Many traditional banks have foreign currency accounts which are more focused on investing rather than day to day 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 multi-currency account in Malaysia, the costs involved, and how to open one.

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 pick 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. As an individual you’ll be able to hold, spend and exchange different currencies to make day to day transactions easier. That can help if you’re a frequent traveller, if you’re supporting relatives living, working or studying overseas, or if you have international bills to pay for example.

If you have a business, you can connect with more customers using a multi-currency account, giving international clients the opportunity to pay in the currencies that suit them. Connect your account to PSPs like Stripe or marketplaces like Amazon to extend your reach even further.

You’ll be able to hold foreign currency balances and either use the funds to pay suppliers and contractors, or switch back to MYR when the exchange rate looks good.

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 a very broad range of different multi-currency and foreign currency accounts on offer from Major Malaysian banks - some of which are aimed at day to day spending, and others which are more 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.

ProviderAvailabilityFeesDebit cardOther features
WisePersonal customers
  • Personal accounts are free to open, with no monthly charges


Yes, Wise International Debit Card
  • Multi-currency account to manage 50+ currencies

  • Local account details for 10 currencies

  • Send payments to 80+ countries 

RHBDifferent accounts offered for both personal and business customers
  • 20 MYR annual fee to get debit card

Yes - can hold and spend in 16 currencies

  • Store up to 24 currencies

  • Education and employment accounts, or individual investment accounts available

  • Interest bearing

Maybank Master Foreign Currency accountDifferent accounts offered for both personal and business customers
  • No annual charge - 4 USD fee per transaction from the account

No
  • 16 available currencies

  • Accounts more intended for saving and investment rather than day to day spending

HSBC foreign currency accountDifferent accounts offered for both personal and business customers
  • Fall below fees apply if you don’t meet the minimum balance of 20,000 MYR

No
  • 12 available currencies

  • Interest bearing - HSBC also offers day to day foreign currency accounts 

Go to Wise

Wise

Wise accounts are opened and operated online or in the handy Wise app, and can hold 50+ 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 which can be used for spending and withdrawals all over the world. Read our full Wise review to learn more.

Wise is a specialist in currency exchange, and uses the real 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. Read our Wise Multi-currency Account Review to learn more.

Wise Fees: Accounts are free to open. No monthly fee or minimum balance.

Currency conversion: Hold and convert 50+ currencies with the mid-market exchange rate

Other notable features: Receive payments like a local from 30 countries, send money to 80+ countries, spend with your linked debit card in 200+ countries.

Go to Wise

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 account, or an 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, local ATM withdrawals 1 MYR out of network fee, international withdrawals up to 12 MYR

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 any of 16 different currencies, and earn interest on any eligible balances. There are no monthly charges for this account, but there is a fee which applies whenever you need to transact - the equivalent of 4 USD. This account doesn’t have a chequebook or linked card, so if more intended for longer term savings - you can only withdraw funds through a telegraphic transfer or by withdrawing to your linked Maybank MYR account.

Fees: Transaction fee 4 USD or currency equivalent; minimum balance requirements apply to open the account and earn interest

Currency conversion: 16 currencies available; exchange rate markups may apply when exchanging currencies

Other notable features: No chequebook or linked card

HSBC foreign currency account

HSBC is famous for its cross border and international banking options, with 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

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 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 get your account set up, while others let you apply online. 

In most cases you’ll need an MYR account with the same bank, so you’ll need to also open this at the same time if you’re moving to a new provider.

Online and digital services offer online and in-app onboarding processes which means 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:

  1. Research account providers and products and pick the right one for you

  2. Gather all the required documents

  3. Apply online or in a branch, depending on the provider

  4. Show your paperwork to complete verification

  5. Make your minimum opening deposit (if required)

  6. 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)

Conclusion

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 compared to regular bank accounts - and you can also minimise the risks involved in fluctuating currency costs too.

Use this guide as a starting point to find the best multi-currency account in Malaysia for yourself or your business - and don’t forget to compare a good range of options from both Malaysia’s big banks and specialist services to see which may suit you best.

Go to Wise

FAQ

**Can I open a multi-currency account in Malaysia?**

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.

**How does it cost to open a multi-currency account?**

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.

By Seyma Mektepli
Updated 22 August 2022