Is the Wise card a debit or a credit card?
The Wise card is a convenient and cost saving choice for Malaysians spending in foreign currencies - whether that’s during an overseas trip or when shopping online. But is the Wise card a debit or a credit card?
Join us as we walk through the main differences, how the Wise card works in Malaysia, and how you can request yours.
Is the Wise card debit or credit?
The Wise card is an international debit card which does not offer a consumer credit facility. That means there’s no bill to worry about at the end of the month, no chance of accidentally overspending and no interest to pay.
The Wise card is linked to a multi-currency account which allows you to add a balance in MYR and convert it easily to different currencies.
Once you've added money to your Wise account you can spend and make withdrawals with your card, and the funds are automatically debited from your account balance.
The key benefit of a Wise international debit card is the option to spend in different countries conveniently and exchange between currencies with the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees.
What is the Wise international debit card?
The Wise international debit card is a flexible and convenient card you can use to spend and make withdrawals in 150+ countries.
Your Wise card comes with a linked Wise account that can hold 40+ currencies, so you can either convert to the currency you need for spending in advance, or just leave your balance in ringgit and let the card handle the conversion for you when you pay. In either case you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate with low charges from 0.43% and no foreign transaction fee.
Learn more about the Wise card’s features and benefits in our full Wise card review.
Benefits of Wise card
The Wise card works differently to a credit card, and so some of the benefits you get are different too. You can’t use your Wise card to earn cash back, air miles or reward points - but you can spend around the world with no foreign transaction fee to pay and no need to worry about running up a higher than expected bill.
Some of the other benefits of a Wise card are:
Hold and spend in multiple currencies
No foreign transaction fees
Mid-market exchange rates
No credit check required
No interest to pay
Wise card vs credit card
As we’ve seen, the Wise card is not a credit card. But how does it measure up against credit cards in general? Here’s an overview:
|Wise card benefits vs credit card||Wise card drawbacks vs credit card|
Is Wise card Visa or Mastercard?
Wise cards are issued on either the Visa or Mastercard network.
Both Visa and Mastercard are globally accepted and can be used for spending and withdrawals globally.
Is the Wise card worth it?
The Wise card can be a good option for anyone who transacts internationally. Maybe you travel often for work or leisure, or you like to shop online with retailers based overseas. In either case, using a Wise card to pay is secure and convenient, and can mean you save money. With a Wise card you don’t pay any foreign transaction fee - instead your balance is converted to the currency you need for spending using the mid-market exchange rate and with a low fee from 0.43%.
Difference between a credit card and a debit card
Both credit and debit cards can be used to pay for things in person, and online. You can also make cash withdrawals at ATMs. However, the way credit cards work is not the same as the way debit cards work.
With a debit card you’ll need to add a balance to your account before you can spend. When you make a payment or withdrawal, the funds needed are automatically and instantly deducted from your balance.
Credit cards work differently. Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll be set a spending limit, which may vary based on the card type and your credit score. Spend up to the limit using your card, and every month you’ll receive an account statement detailing what you need to pay back. You can clear off your bill in full monthly to avoid extra charges, or you can choose to pay off only part of your bill, and roll the rest over to pay the following month. In this case, you pay interest to the card issuer, and if you fail to make a minimum monthly payment, or pay late, you may pay penalty fees, too.
How to know if your card is debit or credit
You’ll be able to see if your card has a credit facility when you order one, and read through the card’s terms and conditions, and fee schedule.
If you’re unsure whether a card is credit or debit, you may also take the following steps:
Check if the card is marked specifically as a credit or debit card on the physical card
Take a look at physical or digital statements which are usually sent out by card services monthly
Log into the provider’s account and find out details of the card’s functions there
Get in touch with the card issuer’s customer service team to get further guidance
Wise card fees summary
Wise does not have a monthly or annual fee to pay, and there’s no charge to spend a currency you hold in your account. When you spend internationally, Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate with fully transparent fees.
Here’s a summary of the key costs associated with your Wise account and card - full details are available in the Wise app, or on the Wise desktop site:
|Service||Wise debit card fee|
|One time card order fee||13.7 MYR|
|Order a new card||13.7 MYR|
|Replace an expiring card||Free - Wise will remind you when you need a new card for convenience|
|Virtual card||Free once you order your physical card|
|Spend currencies you hold in your account||Free|
|Spend in currencies you don’t have in your account||Wise will auto convert the balance you have to the currency you need, using the mid-market exchange rate and the lowest available fees|
|First 2 ATM withdrawals a month, up to the value of 1,000 MYR||Free|
|Additional withdrawals, over the value of 1,000 MYR /month||5 MYR per withdrawal + 1.75% of the withdrawal value|
All information correct at the time of writing - 20th November, 2023.
How to get the Wise card
Here’s how to open a Wise account and get a Wise card step by step:
Visit the Wise website or app and click on Create account
Enter your email address
Follow the prompts to enter your personal and contact information
Create your password for security
Within the app, go to the cards tab and select Order card
You’ll need to add a balance to your account, and to pay the 13.7 MYR card order fee
Your card will arrive by mail within 14 working days
There’s no need to activate your card once it arrives - but it’s worth knowing that before you can make contactless payments you’ll need to make a Chip and PIN payment or withdrawal first. You can also use your card at an ATM to make a balance enquiry to get your card contactless feature up and running.
Learn more in our full guide to How to get a Wise card in Malaysia.
How to withdraw money from abroad with the Wise card
You can also use your Wise card to make cash withdrawals internationally. That means you won’t need to go to a money changer next time you travel abroad. Instead, just wait until you arrive in your destination, and make an ATM withdrawal there.
You’ll get the mid-market exchange rate, with low conversion fees, and you’ll be able to make 2 withdrawals, to the equivalent of 1,000 MYR every month with no Wise fee to pay. After you’ve used up your free ATM withdrawals, there’s a small fee to make withdrawals - but you’ll still get the mid-market rate for currency conversion, which can mean you save money compared to using an alternative card.
The Wise card is an international debit card which doesn’t have any credit facility. Instead, you’ll need to add money to your Wise account in advance of spending.
You can add money to Wise in MYR or a selection of other currencies simply by making an FPX payment from your bank. Then once you’ve got a balance you can either convert it to one of the 40+ supported currencies for spending overseas, or you can leave your money in ringgit and have the card do the exchange when you pay for something or make a cash withdrawal. It’s easy, secure and convenient - and because there’s no foreign transaction fee to worry about, you could save money too.