Using BigPay Card in Malaysia
Free money app BigPay offers accounts which come with easy ways to pay people at home and abroad, budgeting and analytic tools, and a linked card you can use for global spending. If you’re planning to travel, or if you simply need an easier way to manage your money on the move, you might be wondering if BigPay is right for you.
In this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about the BigPay card in Malaysia, including features, fees, and pros and cons. And to help you compare, we’ll also touch on a few alternatives like Wise, so you can pick the perfect account for your needs.
What is BigPay?
Available in both Malaysia and Singapore, BigPay offers accounts you can manage via an app, and the BigPay card for easy spending here and when you travel.
BigPay account features include easy ways to send payments locally and internationally, and budgeting tools which help you categorise your spending and review and manage your money - all from your phone. Accounts also come with your linked BigPay card which can be a handy way to spend when you’re overseas.
Is BigPay safe?
Yes, BigPay is safe. BigPay in Malaysia is regulated by Bank Negara Malaysia - and it’s regulated by MAS over in Singapore, where it’s also available. In addition to this, BigPay has options to manage, freeze and unfreeze your BigPay card from your app for security, and uses 24/7 automated fraud detection tools to help keep accounts safe.
What is the BigPay card?
The BigPay debit card is connected to your BigPay account - so you can top up your account, and spend to the account balance using your card. That means you can’t accidentally blow your budget, overspend, or run into overdraft, interest or penalty fees.
Debit card on the Mastercard or Visa network, that you can use at home and abroad
Contactless payment options
Freeze and unfreeze your card in the BigPay app for security
Virtual card available instantly when you open your account
Spend overseas with a competitive exchange rate and a relatively low 1% foreign transaction fee
Earn AirAsia points as you spend
Pros of BigPay card
Issued on globally accepted networks for international spending
Both physical and virtual cards available you can manage with the BigPay app
Earn AirAsia reward points as you spend with the BigPay card
Cons of BigPay card
Accounts can only hold MYR, so when you spend overseas your funds will be converted using the network rate which can include a markup, with an extra 1% BigPay fee
No local receiving account details, so you can’t get paid from overseas into your account
Fairly low limits for card withdrawals, plus a 6 MYR - 10 MYR BigPay fee
If you are interested in opening a multi-currency account with a linked international debit card, Wise Card can be a good option in Malaysia.
Check out this article to learn more: Wise Card vs BigPay Card
Who is the BigPay debit card for?
The BigPay card can suit anyone looking for a digital account for day to day use, with contactless spending and international payment options. It’s popular in Malaysia as a travel card, as its 1% foreign transaction fee is lower than the charge used by many major banks - although it may not be the cheapest on the market overall. More on that, next.
BigPay card alternatives
BigPay isn’t the only easy online account which offers multi-currency and international features. You can also pick an account from a specialist in low cost international payments and accounts, like Wise - or a multi-currency product from a traditional bank like RHB. Let’s look at how these options compare with BigPay on a few key features and metrics.
|BigPay Card||Wise International Debit Card||RHB Multi-currency Visa Debit Card|
|Availability||Malaysian and Singaporean residents only||Available globally in all but a handful of countries, including Malaysian and Singaporean residents||Malaysian residents with a RBH MYR account only|
|Card order fee||No fee, but you will need to deposit at least 20 MYR to your account to get a card||13.7 MYR||20 MYR|
|Monthly and Annual fees||No fees||No fee||No fee - but your RHB MYR account may come with fees|
|International Money Transfers||0 MYR - 22 MYR depending on the country + exchange rate markup||From 0.41%||20 MYR - 25 MYR + exchange rate markup|
|International ATM withdrawals||10 MYR|
2 free withdrawals to 1,000 MYR/month
5 MYR + 1.75% fee after that
|International Transfer Speed||Speed varies by destination||50% of transfers are instant, 90% arrive in 24 hours||SWIFT transfers can take 3 - 5 days|
|Multi-Currency Account||Not available||Wise multi-currency account||Available|
For international transfers: BigPay rate, which is likely to include a markup
For card spending: Network rate + 1% fee
|Google exchange rate, with conversion fees from 0.41%|
For card spending: Network rate + 1% fee
To convert within your account: RHB rate, which is likely to include a markup
|Supported Currencies||MYR only||50+ currencies||16 currencies|
|Virtual Cards||Available||Available||Not available|
Wise Debit Card vs BigPay Card
We’ve profiled the Wise account and card above, as a smart alternative to BigPay, with great international features, plus currency conversion which uses the Google exchange rate. Let’s dive into the option from Wise in a bit more detail now.
You can open a Wise account online or in the Wise app, from Malaysia or more or less any other country in the world, and order a linked debit card for easy spending and withdrawals. Wise accounts can support 50+ currencies for holding and exchange - and your card can be used for payments in 170+ countries. There’s no fee to spend any currency you hold in your account - and if you don’t have the currency you need, the card can convert for you from another balance, with the Google rate and fees from 0.41%.
Wise accounts can also be used to make international payments to more countries, with more than 70 countries are supported, with fast transfers and low, transparent fees.
Here’s a quick head to head comparison of Wise and BigPay:
|Best Features||Wise Card||BigPay Card|
13.7 MYR to get a card
2 free withdrawals to 1,000 MYR/month
5 MYR + 1.75% fee after that
20 MYR deposit required to get a card - you can spend this later
6 MYR for local withdrawals and 10 MYR for international withdrawals
|International Transactions & Travel Card||Spend in 170+ countries - free to use any currency you hold, with conversion from 0.41% if you don’t have the required currency in your account||Spend wherever the network is available -1% fee for international spend|
|Online Shopping||Spend easily online, in app, and in person - with physical and virtual cards||Spend easily online, in app, and in person - with physical and virtual cards|
|Multi-currency Account||Wise account: hold and exchange 50+ currencies||Not available|
Why you should consider Wise Card over BigPay
The Wise card may be a good option for you if you want a multi-currency account which can help you manage the costs of spending overseas. Add money to Wise in MYR, or have people send payments in any of the 10 supported currencies, including MYR, with your own Wise local bank details. You can then either convert to the currencies you need in your account, with the midmarket rate and fees from 0.41%, or just let the card do it for you.
Wise can help you budget when you’re abroad as you’ll be able to switch to the currency you need to spend in advance, and you’ll know exactly how much you have to spend. Like BigPay, it’s a debit card, which also means no interest or overdraft fees - just top up what you want to spend and get going.
How does the BigPay card work?
The BigPay card is issued on either the Visa or Mastercard network - both of which are globally accepted, making this a good option for when you travel. You’ll need to add 20 MYR as an initial deposit, which you can then spend or withdraw with your card later.
BigPay supports contactless payments - although the limits are quite low at 250 MYR a day. After that you’ll need to use your PIN. When you transact you can keep up with everything in the BigPay app, and freeze or unfreeze your card should you ever need to.
BigPay Virtual Cards
You can have 1 virtual card linked to your BigPay account, as well as your physical card. Virtual cards can be used wherever a physical card isn’t required - shopping online for example.
You can cancel your virtual card and generate a new one every month - which can be handy if you’re shopping at unknown retailers, for example, as your old card numbers will no longer function - reassuring if you’re concerned about the details being stolen.
BigPay card fees & limits
Cutting costs while you manage your money conveniently is essential. Let’s look at the BigPay card fees at the time of writing.
One interesting point to note is that there are several fees listed in BigPay’s fee schedule which are noted as ‘waived at present’. That’s worth remembering, in case these fees are subsequently invoked down the line. We’ll add the details of these fees - and all the live BigPay costs - here:
|Order a BigPay card||No fee, but a 20 MYR deposit is required|
|Account service fee|
2.5 MYR/month when no card transaction takes place that month
Waived at time of writing
6 MYR locally, 10 MYR or 2% of withdrawal amount, whichever is higher when withdrawing internationally
At the time of writing, the 2% international fee is waived
|Foreign transaction fee||Up to 1% + network charges|
|Replacement card fee||20 MYR|
|Cash reload fee|
Up to 2 MYR for reloads to 100 MYR
Up to 5 MYR for reloads over 100 MYR
|Credit card reload fee||Up to 1% when you load more than 1,000 MYR/month|
*All data correct at time of research - 1st March 2023
BigPay exchange rates
If you spend with the BigPay card your ringgit are converted using the network’s exchange rate, plus a 1% fee from BigPay. When you send a payment overseas, you’ll get the BigPay exchange rate which can include a markup. You can see the BigPay exchange rate for your currencies, in the BigPay app.
Not all providers add a markup to the exchange rate. Wise, for example, uses the midmarket exchange rate and splits out all costs so they’re easy to spot and compare.
BigPay card limits
BigPay’s card limits in some areas are pretty low. If you’re concerned about raising the card limits you might be better off choosing Wise or RHB, which have higher overall limits across the varied spend categories. Here’s how BigPay’s card limits shape up:
|Service||BigPay card limit|
|Contactless payment||250 MYR/day|
|ATM withdrawals||10/day, to a maximum of 10,000 MYR|
|Account holding limit||10,000 MYR at a time|
|Local transfer limits||5,000 MYR/day or 10,000 MYR/month|
|International transfer limits||Vary by destination|
How to get a BigPay card
Here’s how to sign up to BigPay and order your BigPay card:
Download the BigPay app
Register an account by entering your personal and contact information
Upload an image of your ID document for verification
Deposit 20 MYR minimum
Order your card - it’ll usually take 5 - 7 days to arrive
You can track your card’s progress in the BigPay app, to see when it’ll get to you.
How to activate your BigPay card
Once you have your BigPay card, you need to activate it. Here’s how to activate your BigPay card:
Log into the BigPay app
Tap I have received my card
Enter the 3-digit CVC found on the back of your card
Set your card PIN
Make your first purchase using Chip & PIN, to activate contactless payments going forward
How to use a BigPay card?
Use your BigPay card just as you would any other payment card. You can make cash withdrawals, shop online and make contactless or PIN payments in stores.
How to top-up your BigPay card
The easiest and cheapest way to top up BigPay is with your bank or debit card. Here’s how to top up your BigPay card in Malaysia easily:
Log into the BigPay app, and tap Top up
Enter top up amount and add or select your top up source (credit/debit card or bank transfer)
Enter payment details following the prompts
BigPay card cash withdrawal
You can withdraw cash at any ATM which supports the network your card is issued on. This may be Visa or Mastercard. In Malaysia a withdrawal costs 6 MYR, while international withdrawals are 10 MYR. ATM operators may also add their own fees.
How to use BigPay overseas?
You can use your BigPay card internationally, in any country other than Israel and North Korea. Look out for the network symbol at any ATM or merchant you’re using, and simply tap to pay contactless or enter your PIN for higher value transactions.
Your ringgit balance will be converted to the currency you need using the network’s exchange rate, and there’s a 1% fee to pay to BigPay, which is also deducted from your balance.
You can only hold MYR in your BigPay account - but you can spend internationally more or less anywhere your card network is accepted, and your MYR will be automatically converted to the currency you need.
Conclusion: is the BigPay card worth it?
BigPay is a popular ewallet and card, and can be used in Malaysia and beyond. It has some convenient features like a linked card for global spending, and options for free BigPay to BigPay transfers in MYR. However, there are fees you’ll want to consider, particularly if you’re sending or spending foreign currencies.
Compare BigPay Malaysia against the Wise account and card as an alternative digital service. Wise accounts can hold 50+ currencies, and come with local bank details in MYR and up to 9 other currencies, to get paid easily, too. You can get a linked Wise card to spend locally and internationally - and all currency conversion uses the midmarket exchange rate with low fees from 0.41%.
FAQs on BigPay Card
Yes. BigPay accounts can be opened by residents in Malaysia and Singapore, and can be used for local and international spending.
You need to deposit at least 20 MYR to get your BigPay card, which you can then spend later. Fees do apply to spending, including 6 MYR - 10 MYR ATM fees, and a 1% currency fee when you spend overseas.
Your BigPay card should arrive in 5 - 7 days. However, if it’s not there in 14 days, you’re advised to contact BigPay customer service to ask for help.
BigPay issues cards on both Visa and Mastercard - so your card may be on either network, Both are globally accepted, though - and easy to use.
You can use your BigPay balance to make ATM withdrawals, or to send local and international payments. Fees apply to ATM withdrawals and international transfers - although local transfers to other BigPay cards are free.
BigPay is a debit card, which makes it good for budgeting, as there are no interest or overdraft fees to pay.
In some cases you can deposit cash to BigPay for a fee. Check within the BigPay app to see if this service is available to you.
Yes. Foreigners with proper visas and a legal right of residence in Malaysia can use BigPay.
General advice: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own personal situation and requirements before making any financial decisions. We compare currency exchange and money transfer services in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. We only display reputable companies which we have researched and approved.