Best multi currency cards: What are the best options in Malaysia? [2024 guide]

Multi-currency debit cards offer secure and convenient ways to spend money overseas, make cash withdrawals when you’re abroad, and spend online with retailers based internationally. Depending on the card you pick you may find you can access preferential exchange rates and low fees, which makes a multi-currency card a cheaper way to manage your foreign currency spending.

So, which multi-currency debit card is the best one to pick if you’re a Malaysian citizen or resident planning a trip overseas? This guide has all you need to know. We’ll walk through some of the key features and fees of several popular multi-currency cards from major banks and specialist providers in Malaysia, so you can see which suits you.

Quick summary: Multi currency cards in Malaysia

Wise multi-currency debit card: Hold and exchange 40+ currencies with the mid-market exchange rate and low fees from 0.43%. Some fee free ATM withdrawals every month

RHB Multi-Currency Visa debit card: Supports up to 32 currencies with preferential exchange rates. Annual fee, international ATM fee and foreign transaction fees may apply

HLB Multi-Currency card: 11 major foreign currencies supported, with the possibility to earn interest with your linked Pay&Save account. International ATM fees can be pretty high

HSBC Everyday Global card: 11 currencies supported, with different account options and fees depending on which other product and services you sign up for with HSBC

BigPay debit card: Popular ewallet with international features to let you spend and withdraw overseas conveniently - 1% fee to spend in a foreign currency

Best Multi currency cards in Malaysia 

Multi-currency cardKey points
Wise card
  • 40+ currencies supported

  • Mid-market exchange rate with low fees from 0.43%

  • No annual fee or maintenance fee

RHB Multi-Currency Visa debit card
  • 32 currencies supported

  • Preferential exchange rates

  • Opportunities to earn interest on your balance

HLB Multi-Currency card
  • 11 currencies supported

  • Add on feature if you also have a Pay&Save account with HLB

  • Earn interest which is variable based on account usage

HSBC Everyday Global card
  • 11 currencies supported

  • Large global ATM network

  • Extra benefits for premium account tier customers

BigPay card
  • Hold a balance in MYR and spend internationally with a 1% fee

  • Secure to use overseas

  • Extras like budgeting tools and ways to remit money 

Go to Wise

Best multi currency cards: a comparison

While you can easily get a multi-currency card from a major bank, you can also pick a specialist account provider like Wise, or a popular local ewallet like bigPay. The different cards have their own features and fees, so comparing a few is a smart way to find the one which best suits your specific needs. This guide walks through some of the top picks for multi-currency and international cards in Malaysia, to help you decide. Here’s a quick head to head comparison to start us off.

Card feesExchange ratesATM fees
Wise13.7 MYR card order feeMid-market exchange rateSome fee free withdrawals monthly - 1.75% + 5 MYR fee after that
RHB20 MYR annual feeNetwork rate + 1% when spending a currency you don’t hold12 MYR international ATM fee
HLBFees depend on the underlying account you holdVaried depending on the payment or conversion typeAt least 12 MYR international ATM fee
HSBCNo maintenance fee, 10 MYR annual dormant account fee if you do not use your account Network rate + 1% when spending a currency you don’t holdFees vary based on ATM type and location, and your HSBC customer status
BigPay20 MYR fee to get a card in the first placeNetwork rate + 1% 6 MYR locally, and 10 MYR overseas 

Wise multi currency card

You can open a Wise account and order your Wise card all online or in the Wise app - which means there’s no need to visit a physical branch or office to get set up.

You’ll be able to hold 40+ currencies in your account, with no monthly fee and no minimum balance or dormancy charges. Just add MYR or the currency of your choice from around 20 currencies supported for topping up, then convert to the currency you need for spending, with the mid-market exchange rate and low fees from 0.43%. Or leave the balance in MYR and let the card convert at the point of payment for convenience.

You’ll get some fee free ATM withdrawals every month, with low transaction fees after that, making the Wise card a flexible and economical way to hold, exchange and spend in a good selection of global currencies.

Wise card prosWise card cons

✅ 40+ supported foreign currencies

✅ Free to spend any enough currency you hold in your account

✅ Mid-market exchange rates when converting within the account or spending with your Wise card

✅ Some fee free ATM withdrawals monthly

✅ No minimum account balance, no ongoing fees

❌ 13.7 MYR fee to get your Wise card

❌ Currency conversion has some fees, from 0.43%

❌ ATM fee of 1.75% + 5 MYR once you exhaust your monthly fee free withdrawals

Currency coverage: 40+ currencies

Wise account fees: No fee for personal account holders to open an account - charges are on a per usage basis only

Wise card fees: 13.7 MYR fee to get a card in the first place

Wise exchange rate: Mid-market exchange rate, conversion from 0.43%

Great for: Flexible account with broad currency options, mid-market rates, no minimum balance and no monthly fee

Go to Wise

Learn more: Wise card review

RHB Multi-Currency Visa debit card

RHB’s multi-currency Visa card has a good range of coverage, allowing you to hold a balance in any of up to 32 currencies conveniently. It’s then free to spend any currency you hold in your account, although a 1% fee will apply when you spend a currency you don’t have already. It’s worth knowing that to get the RHB multi-currency account you’ll also need to have an eligible MYR account with RHB. Fees may apply for the MYR account, which is worth bearing in mind when you’re weighing up whether or not this card is the right one for you.

RHB is a large and trusted bank and your funds are protected by PIDM insurance to 250,000 MYR per depositor. You could earn interest on the balance you hold - although the available interest does vary depending on the currency - and you’ll get a preferential exchange rate when you need to convert currencies.

RHB prosRHB cons

✅ 32 supported foreign currencies

✅ Free to spend a currency you hold in your account

✅ Preferential exchange rates when converting within the account

✅ Flexible card for local and international use

✅ Full banking service provided

❌ 1% fee to spend a currency you don’t hold

❌ 12 MYR international ATM fee

❌ 20 MYR annual fee

Currency coverage: 32 currencies

RHB account fees: Account and card fees may vary slightly depending on how you set up your account preferences

RHB  card fees: 20 MYR annual fee, 12 MYR international ATM fee

RHB  exchange rate: Network exchange rate + 1% when spending a currency you don’t hold in your account

Great for: Flexible account with good currency coverage, from a major regional bank

Go to RHB

HLB Multi-Currency debit card

Hong Leong Bank offers multi-currency functionality to customers with a Pay&Save Account or a Pay&Save Account-i. The underlying account offers good options to earn interest, including getting a higher rate of return if you sign up for additional products from HLB.

Once you have your account set up you can hold up to 11 different foreign currencies, and then spend them with your card freely. If you’re converting currencies in your account you’ll get the HLB exchange rate, while the network rate will be used for payments in an unsupported currency.

As HLB is a major bank there’s a good ATM network you can use for free locally, but it’s worth noting that international ATM withdrawals have quite high fees.

HLB prosHLB cons

✅ 11 supported foreign currencies

✅ Free to spend a currency you hold in your account

✅ Add on feature if you also have a Pay&Save account with HLB

✅ Account is interest earning

✅ International transfers also available

❌ 12 MYR or 2% international ATM fee 

❌ Available for Pay&Save Account/Pay&Save Account-i holders only

❌ Joint account holders are not eligible for this feature

Currency coverage: 11 supported foreign currencies

HLB account fees: Account service fees may apply, including out of network ATM charges, and international ATM fees

HLB card fees: At least 12 MYR international ATM fee

HLB exchange rate: HLB rate, or the network rate, will apply, depending on the payment type

Great for: Customers looking to earn interest on their balance, while accessing a multi-currency account and card for international use

Go to HLB

HSBC Everyday Global card

HSBC is a huge global banking brand with a presence in Malaysia and many other countries. You can open a smart HSBC Everyday Global account and card which lets you hold 11 major currencies, and spend seamlessly around the world. There’s no extra fee to spend a currency you hold in your account - and if you’re spending an unsupported currency, or if you don’t have enough balance in a particular currency to cover a purchase, you’ll pay a fairly low 1% foreign transaction fee.

The exact features and benefits you get with an HSBC Everyday Global card will depend on whether you have a regular account, or whether you qualify for one of the more advanced account tiers - HSBC Advance Everyday Global, or HSBC Premier Everyday Global. For the Advance account tier you’ll have to hold a balance of at least 30,000 MYR in an eligible HSBC account, or take an HSBC home loan of 300,000 MYR or more. For the Premier account you need to hold 200,000 MYR or more with HSBC.

HSBC prosHSBC cons

✅ Huge global banking brand with large ATM network

✅ No account maintenance or set up fees

✅ 11 supported currencies

✅ Free to spend a currency you hold in your account

✅ Different account benefits for customers with Premier status

❌ Out of network ATM fees may apply

❌ 1% fee to spend a currency you don’t hold in your account

❌ To get all benefits you’ll need to qualify for Premier status, which means holding 200,000 MYR or more with HSBC

Currency coverage: 11 currencies supported for holding and exchange

HSBC account fees: No maintenance fee, 10 MYR annual dormant account fee if you do not use your account

HSBC card fees: ATM withdrawal fees may apply, which vary based on ATM type and location, and your HSBC customer status

HSBC exchange rate: Visa exchange rate + 1% fee applies when spending in a currency you don’t hold in your account

Great for: HSBC customers holding savings and investments, who can access more benefits with Advance or Premier account status

Go to HSBC

BigPay card

The BigPay card doesn’t have multi-currency features to hold a balance in a foreign currency. However, it’s a popular local ewallet and card which promotes its international features, and which offers easy and safe ways to spend overseas.

Your purchase will be converted to MYR using the network exchange rate if you’re spending in a foreign currency, with a 1% fee - which may well be lower than the fee your bank would charge you.

Aside from the option to spend internationally safely, BigPay also has options for international remittances with a fixed fee, and helpful tools for viewing your transactions and planning your budget. Whenever you spend there’s the opportunity to earn AirAsia points, too, making this a good choice for travellers.

BigPay prosBigPay cons

✅ Popular ewallet and card in Malaysia and Singapore

✅ Hold MYR and spend in foreign currencies with the network exchange rate and 1% fee

✅ Secure as not linked to your primary MYR account

✅ Extras like international remittances

✅ Handy analytics and spending data for budgeting

❌ 6 MYR local and 10 MYR international ATM fee

❌1% fee for spending overseas 

❌Service fees apply if you don’t use your account frequently

Currency coverage: MYR only supported - but you can spend with BigPay anywhere the network is accepted

BigPay account fees: 2.5 MYR/month fee if you don’t transact at least once in that month

BigPay card fees: 20 MYR fee to get a card in the first place; ATM fees of 6 MYR locally, and 10 MYR overseas apply

BigPay exchange rate: Network exchange rate + 1% fee

Great for: Earning AirAsia points as you spend, and keeping your travel money separate from your main MYR bank account

Learn more about BigPay Card

What is a multi currency card?

A multi-currency card is a convenient way to pay for things when you are abroad. You can also use a multi-currency card to withdraw money from ATMs while overseas, and to pay when shopping online with international retailers.

One of the main attractions of a multi-currency card is that you can usually hold a foreign currency balance. That allows you to add money in MYR and convert to the currency you’re going to need in advance.

Once you hold a foreign currency balance there’s usually no extra fee to spend it - plus you’ll often find a multi-currency card comes with lower conversion costs and a better exchange rate compared to using a regular bank card.

Related: Best multi-currency accounts in Malaysia.

How to get a multi currency debit card

Some of the card options we’ve detailed above come from major Malaysian banks, and some are from digital only services. The order process for your multi-currency card can vary depending on the provider you pick - while digital only services like Wise and BigPay always let you order a card using your phone or laptop, some banks may ask you to visit a branch to show your ID if you’ve not already got an account with them.

To give a picture of how to get a multi-currency card without leaving home, here’s how to open a Wise account and order your card, step by step:

  1. Open the Wise desktop site or app and click on Create account

  2. Enter your email address, Google, Apple or FaceBook ID

  3. Tap the type of account you want to open - personal or business

  4. Follow the prompts to enter your contact information

  5. Verify your account, following the onscreen instructions

  6. Once your account is open, tap the Cards tab

  7. You’ll be able to order your Wise card for home delivery, and get instant access to a Wise virtual card you can use online and with a mobile wallet

Go to Wise

How does the multi currency card work?

While different multi-currency cards have their own features, you’ll usually be able to add money in ringgit and then exchange it to the currency you need to spend overseas. That’s handy because you can lock in the exchange rate and you’ll instantly see how much you have to spend in the local currency in your destination so you can set your travel budget.

Once you have a balance in your card you can spend and make withdrawals, usually with no extra fees if you’re spending a currency you hold in your account.

How can I use a multi currency debit card abroad

You’ll find that most multi-currency cards are issued on the Visa or Mastercard networks for global acceptance. To use your card overseas just look out for the network logo on an ATM or at a payment terminal.

Double check all of the fees that apply to your card before you travel. For example, you could find that you’ll pay extra when spending in an unsupported currency, or when making an out of network ATM withdrawal. It’s also worth knowing that paying in the local currency wherever you are is the best way to avoid hidden costs.

If you’re overseas, and you’re asked at an ATM or by a merchant if you’d prefer to pay in ringgit, just say no. That way you’ll get the network or card issuer’s exchange rate, which is usually better than the rate the merchant or ATM will offer.

Overseas transaction fees with multi currency cards

The costs of using a multi-currency card overseas can be lower than using your regular bank card. However, you’ll need to double check the terms and conditions of your specific card as some fees are likely to appy.

In some cases, for example, you’ll be charged a foreign transaction fee if you spend in a currency you don’t hold in your account. However, other multi-currency card options, such as the Wise card, let you just leave your balance in MYR until you need to spend it and then convert for you at the point of payment with the lowest available fees. Other charges can apply for some cards, such as a fee if your card isn’t used regularly, and a closure fee if you decide to close your card account within a short period.

Learn more about the best cards with no foreign transaction fees.

Exchange fee

You might find a currency exchange fee is charged by the bank for currency conversion from MYR to the currency you need to spend in your destination. This fee may be split out and easy to see, but often it’s not so obvious. Instead, you’ll commonly find that the exchange cost is just rolled up in the exchange rate used to convert your ringgit to the foreign currency needed, which pushes up the costs to you and can make it harder to figure out whether or not you’re getting a good deal.

ATM Withdrawal fees

Depending on the card you pick, you may also need to pay fees on ATM withdrawals . Some card providers charge no overseas ATM fees at all, others have no fees if you use an ATM from a partner network, and some offer a fixed number of fee free ATM withdrawals depending on the card type.

Bear in mind that whichever card you pick, some ATMs also apply their own withdrawal fees. If this is the case you’ll usually see an onscreen message before you confirm your withdrawal - if you do, picking a different ATM could save you money.

Advantages of foreign currency cards

If you shop online and pay in foreign currencies, or if you travel often, having a multi-currency card can cut down the costs of overseas spending. They are also secure, convenient and handy for budgeting purposes. Here are a few benefits to having a foreign currency card, to help you decide if getting one is the right move for you:

  • Multi-currency cards are secure, and not linked to your bank MYR account

  • You may benefit from a preferential exchange rate for currency conversion

  • Accounts can often be managed via an app for convenience and security

  • Make local cash withdrawals wherever you are in the world,  so you don’t have to carry too much cash at any one time

  • Easy to budget and manage your international spending

If you travel often, or do business internationally, opening an international bank account could be a good idea. Check out this guide: How to open an international account

Are there any limitations on a foreign currency card?

Multi-currency debit cards aren’t always the right option though. Here are a couple of drawbacks that are worth considering:

  • There’s not usually an option for earning rewards and cash back as there may be with a credit card

  • Debit cards aren’t usually accepted whenever a deposit is required - for example to hire a car or when checking into a hotel

  • You can’t spread the costs of your trip out over several months

  • Top up, inactivity and closure fees may apply which push up costs overall

Conclusion: Is the multi-currency card worth it?

Getting a multi-currency account can be a good idea if you often spend in foreign currencies in person or online. Multi-currency cards can help cut the costs of currency conversion, and they’re also safe and not linked to your normal bank account. That’s good for security, as if you were ever unlucky enough to have your card stolen you’ll know that the thieves can’t get to your normal bank account balance.

Different multi-currency cards have their own features and fees, so weighing up a few before picking one is a smart move.

  • If you’re looking for a card which offers a low cost and flexible account to hold a broad selection of foreign currencies, the Wise card may be a good starting point.

  • If you’d prefer a card from a major bank which lets you pop into a branch to transact, it’s worth looking at the multi-currency card options from HLB and RHB which both have their own handy features.

Use this guide to pick the right foreign currency card for your specific needs, so you can make your international spending easier no matter where you’re headed.

Go to Wise