Best Debit Cards in Malaysia

Debit cards are considered a good alternative to cash. Also, with a debit card, you don’t have to worry about carrying cash wherever you are travelling to. Almost all merchants accept cards, and just in case you need cash, you can always withdraw money from ATMs by using your card.

Quick Reads

Top Banks Offering Debit Cards in Malaysia

Top Banks Offering Islamic Debit Cards in Malaysia

Bank Name Islamic Debit Cards Offered Cashback Annual Fee
AFFIN ISLAMIC Bank AFFIN ISLAMIC Visa Debit Card No Yes
Alliance Islamic Alliance My eSaving Debit Card-i No Yes
Alliance Hybrid AP Platinum Debit Card-i Yes Yes
Alliance Hybrid PB Platinum Debit Card-i Yes Yes
Alliance Hybrid Standard Debit Card-i Yes Yes
Alliance Junior Debit Card-i No No
Bank Islam Bank Islam Visa Debit Card-i Selangor FA “Red Giants” No Yes
Bank Islam Visa Debit Card-i Team Harimau Paywave No Yes
Bank Islam Visa Debit Card-i Kedah FA No Yes
Bank Islam United SA Debit Card-i “Gegau Melaka Gegau” No Yes
Bank Islam Visa PTPTN Debit Card-i No Yes
Bank Isam Visa Sapphire Debit Card-i No No
RHB Islamic Bank Limited Edition RHB Visa Justice League Debit Card-i Yes Yes
RHB Premier Banking Platinum Debit Card-i Yes Yes
RHB Debit Card-i Mastercard Yes Yes
RHB Debit Card-i Visa Yes Yes
Bank Rakyat Bank Rakyat Debit Card-i No Yes
OCBC Al-Amin Bank OCBC Al-Amin Debit Card-i No Yes
OCBC Al-Amin Premier Debit Card-i No Yes
CIMB Islamic Bank CIMB Debit Mastercard No Yes

Types of Debit Cards

Debit cards can be classified into different categories based on several factors, such as the banking system (conventional and Islamic) and reward type.

Based on the Banking System

Conventional Debit Cards: These debit cards work based on conventional banking principles. You can withdraw money from a conventional savings/current account using a conventional debit card.

Islamic Debit Cards: Islamic debit cards follow Shariah-compliant principles. These cards will be linked to a Shariah-compliant savings/current account so you can withdraw money from the account.

Based on the Reward Type

Cashback Debit Cards: Such debit cards let you earn a specified percentage of the transaction amount back to your card’s account. The cashback is usually provided when you transact at the selected merchant outlets or on specific categories.

Rewards Debit Cards: Similar to cashback debit cards, rewards debit cards let you earn reward points. The reward points are credited to your account when you spend at the selected merchant outlets or on selected categories.

Features and Benefits

  • Easy to carry.
  • Less risky as compared to handling cash.
  • Enjoy exclusive deals and offers on categories, such as dining, shopping, and travel when you pay with a debit card.
  • You can make payments for your online transactions with your debit card.
  • Get instant access to cash via ATMs set up across the country and overseas.
  • Make hassle-free retail transactions with a debit card overseas
  • Debit card transactions are secured with a Personal Identification Number (PIN).
  • Get cashback, reward points, and/or discounts when you transact at selected merchant outlets.
  • No debt, finance charges, and partial payments with debit cards.
  • A lower annual fee as compared to a credit card.

Eligibility & Documents Required

  • You must be a minimum of 18 years old to be eligible for a debit card.
  • There are a few banks that provide debit cards for children.

Documents Required

  • MyKad/NRIC.
  • Savings/current account passbook.

How to Apply

If you have an existing savings/current account
  • Visit the nearest branch of the bank where you have a savings/current account.
  • Provide your account details to the staff.
  • Check if your savings/current account supports a debit card.
  • If yes, provide necessary documents and get a debit card linked to your account.
  • If no, you can upgrade your account to get a debit card.
If you have to open a new savings/current account
  • Check about the features and benefits of savings/current accounts of a few banks.
  • Based on your decision of the right bank, visit the nearest branch office.
  • Follow the procedure to open a new account as guided by the staff.
  • Get a debit card that is linked with the new account.

Difference between Debit Cards, Credit Cards, & Prepaid Cards

Let us consider a debit card first. It is linked to an existing/new savings/current account you maintain with a bank. You can use the card to access the account balance. The card comes in handy to withdraw cash without any interest rates and to make retail/online payments. However, you can use the card only you have a balance in your savings or current account.

In contrast, a credit card lets you pay for all your transactions and does not require to be linked with a savings/current account. The basic idea is that you borrow money for your spends from the bank and repay within the specified due date. With a credit card, you can split the repayment over a number of months. Credit cards also allow you to withdraw cash. However, a high interest rate will be charged on the amount. It is usually advised not to withdraw cash using your credit card.

A prepaid card is completely different from a debit and a credit card. Such cards are not linked to an account. You will be required to recharge the card for a specific amount, and use the card for making payments. You cannot make payments beyond the sum you have recharged for. In cases where you have paid more than the card balance, you will be charged a fee in addition to the overdraft sum that you have to repay.

Feature Debit Card Prepaid Card Credit Card
Overdraft No Yes Yes
Linking to Bank Account Yes No Yes
Carrier Network Visa, Mastercard, UnionPay, and MyDebit. Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

With a debit card, you can make your daily transactions and bill payments simpler. You can just swipe your card and enter the PIN to authorise your transactions in order to complete a payment. Such transactions deduct the specified amount from your account and directly credits it to the merchant’s account.

FAQs

Q. How is a debit card different from an ATM card?

A. An ATM card lets you withdraw money from an ATM. When it comes to a debit card, you can withdraw money from an ATM as well as pay with the card at a retail store.

Q. Is it possible to link more than one account to a debit card?

A. Yes. Many Malaysian banks allow you to connect multiple savings/current accounts from a single bank to one debit card.

Q. Are debit cards issued for joint accounts?

A. Yes. Debit cards can be issued for a joint account. Separate cards will be issued to each individual account holder pertaining to the joint account. That means each of the joint account holders can utilise the card to make their own transactions as linked to the same account.

Q. What should I do if I lose my debit card?

A. If you lose your debit card or if someone steals your card, notify the incident to the bank as soon as possible. The bank staff will block your card immediately so the card is not used by unauthorised personnel. You can, then, visit the bank to get a new debit card for your day-to-day transactions.

You must also know that any unauthorised transactions occurring with your card after you notify the bank will not be considered as your liability.

Q. Does a debit card have a limited validity period?

A. Yes. All debit cards come with a limited validity period; usually, about 5 years. The expiry date (month and year) will be explicitly mentioned on the card.

Q. What should I do if my debit card gets expired?

A. You are required to get a new debit card if your existing card expires. You must be wary of the expiry date and approach the bank for a replacement before your card expires. Banks send a letter of reminder or an SMS to inform you that you must visit the card issuing branch to collect the new card.

Q. Can I make unlimited transactions with my debit card?

A. No, you cannot make unlimited transactions with a debit card. Usually, banks specify a certain limit on the amount you can spend with a debit card per day for retail transactions. Similarly, every bank specifies a “per withdrawal limit” and a “daily withdrawal limit”.

Unlike a credit card, you can use the debit card until there are funds in your savings/current account.

Q. Is it possible to increase the transaction/withdrawal limit on my card?

A. Many banks increase/decrease the purchase/withdrawal limit on your card upon your request. You may request for a change via your internet banking account or by visiting the bank branch. If you are visiting the branch office, you must take care to go to the same branch where your account was created.

News About Debit Cards in Malaysia

  • Valyou launches mobile wallet for remittance payments

    Valyou has recently introduced the first mobile wallet-to-wallet service which can be used to send remittances. Prasanna Rao, CEO of Valyou Sdn Bhd, stated that the mobile wallet can be used to make payments from Malaysia to Bangladesh and Pakistan. He also suggested that Malaysia would not adapt to e-wallets readily unless there is any incentive involved.

    For the mobile wallet, partnerships have been initiated with Easypaisa in Pakistan, and Mutual Trust Bank and Dutch-Bangla Bank in Bangladesh. In the latter, Valyou has also gained access to bKash wallet and Rocket mobile banking platform. This partnership is useful for a country like Malaysia, which has the fourth highest sources of remittances in terms of amount.

    Traditional remittance services in Malaysia have been reported to be inconvenient for migrant workers. Issues included waiting in queues at remittance counters for payments or taking leaves on weekdays for payments. Informal channels for payments which are insecure in nature is also a rising issue for making payments. This has led to an increasing interest in digital payment services.

    This method will allow workers to connect their debit cards to mobile wallets, after which they can withdraw money from ATMs. Valyou also has plans to include bill payment and insurance services to its users in the future.

    BBazaar Malaysia

    21 November 2018

  • Riam Road Secondary School to Implement Card Transactions Within School premises

    Riam Road Secondary School (RRSS) will soon enforce cashless transactions within the school premises in order to encourage students to use their debit cards for payment. The students’ parents have been briefed in the latest Meet-The-Parents programme to assist their children to apply for UOB debit cards so that they can start going cashless.

    Dato’ Dr Fong Onn Min, the school's CEO feels that bringing a card to school is not just hassle-free, but also a much safer option than bringing cash. When students buy food or books using their card, it will be easier for the parents to track and monitor their transactions, without being intrusive.

    Fong has credited this new system to the school's Board of Directors’ Deputy Chairman, Dato’ Sri Lau Hieng Su, who had come up with this idea. The main motive behind this system was to educate students on how to manage their finances wisely.

    BBazaar Malaysia

    10 July 2018

  • IDEAS Hosts a Discussion on Bank Negara's PCRF Policy

    IDEAS has organised a roundtable discussion to discuss Bank Negara’s (BNM) strategy to market card payment. The discussion was on “Payment Card Reform Framework (PCRF): A Policy Evaluation Study", written by Dr Teo Wing Leong from Nottingham University.

    PCRF was introduced by BNM in order to encourage people to pay via card instead of cash and to reduce the interchange fees. With PCRF in place, there was an increase in debit card payments. However, as per Dr Teo Wing Leong's report, the total transactions made from debit cards were 83.7 million, which was lower than the target set by BNM.

    Dr. Teo presented his paper stating that the government stepping in to cap fees might not help in realising long-term objectives, as far as electronic payment is concerned. The roundtable attendees agreed to the PCRF objectives, but didn't find its implementation making any impact.

    They concluded that credit and debit cards need to be separated when a policy is formulated. They are also of the opinion that BNM can introduce tax incentives for SMEs, in order to encourage them to opt for e-payments.

    BBazaar Malaysia

    05 June 2018

  • Mobile Payment Security Standards Need to be Raised: BNM

    In the present-day world, people are looking for convenient options to do their daily life chores. One such chore is making payments through the mobile channels. Since this practice is getting massively widespread, Bank Negara Malaysia suggests the introduction of certain standards for these mobile payment channels so that there won’t be a compromise in the security.

    Bank Negara Malaysia supports and collaborates with the e-payment sector to educate the public on the dos and don’ts related to the e-payments and updated with the technology. Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim, Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia says that the mobile payment providers have to reveal the key security features that help to manage these payment channels against unauthorised access. This will let the customer choose the better service provider leading to consumer empowerment.

    In his speech at the Malaysia e-payments excellence awards, he said that the e-payments sector can experience success only with consumer engagement and security features.

    Muhammad also emphasised the need to use debit cards giving credits to the lowest interchange fee rates as compared to many other countries. PayNet has taken the responsibility of promoting awareness on the benefits of using a debit card. If merchants can’t afford to accept credit cards, they should start accepting debit cards, he says.

    BBazaar Malaysia

    19 April 2018

  • No Surcharges on Debit Card Payments, says BNM

    Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) ruled out that retailers are no longer allowed to impose surcharges on debit card payments. BNM clarified that this prohibition would be monitored and enforced by all banks that provide e-payment facilities to retailers and merchants.

    Generally retailers are charged a fee for their transactions, known as the MDR (Merchant Discount Rate). In turn, retailers impose surcharges on debit card payments to recover the cost they incur by accepting such payments.

    The Payment Card Reform Framework introduced by BNM lowers the cost incurred by retailers when accepting any electronic payments methods. This measure is to ensure that retailers are not pressured to impose surcharges on their customers.

    This prohibition will encourage Malaysians to pay using their cost-effective debit cards rather than any other means. BNM also stated that consumer who is being charged surcharges by any retailer should lodge an official complaint with their respective banks.

    BBazaar Malaysia

    16 April 2018

  • Cheque Usage in Malaysia to Witness a Sharp Fall in 2 Years

    Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim recently said in a press conference that Malaysia is going to witness a decrease in cheque usage by the year 2020.

    The decline will be 80 million yearly, thus beating the central bank’s initial target of 100 million in the process.

    Muhammad Ibrahim said that cheques are a costlier payment method as compared to internet transactions. While the former costs about RM4 for each cheque in a clearing, the latter costs only about 10 sen. Bank Negara Malaysia is happy with the pace at which e-payments are progressing, and is likely to further encourage digitisation of the financial sector.

    However, companies are yet to adopt the change fast.

    BBazaar Malaysia

    30 March 2018

  • Retailers Violate BNM’s Instruction

    According to a recent finding by The Star, many retailers in Malaysia are still imposing a surcharge on credit and debit card transactions. This is in violation of Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM’s) recent statement that retailers should not impose surcharges for debit card and credit card transactions.

    The Star findings confirmed that about eight out of 13 merchants imposed surcharges on consumers for purchases done with their cards. A surcharge of about 2.5% was imposed for payments made using credit cards.

    Bank Negara Malaysia urged consumers to lodge a complaint with the respective banks or card issuers if they find that retailers are imposing surcharges.

    Meanwhile, many travel and tourism agencies have expressed their unhappiness with this new decision of abolishing surcharges, given that they are unable to recover the Merchant Discount Rate or MDR that is charged on the transactions.

    According to Datuk Tan Kok Lian, the President of Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents travel agencies operate on lesser margins as compared to the retail outlets. Hence, a surcharge should be imposed on card payments in order to recover the MDR. The surcharge cannot be built into the price as it would be unfair for those customers who pay by cheque or cash.

    Tan Kok Lian urged the central bank to consider either removing or reducing the MDR imposed by banks as he feels it would eventually foster cashless and digital payments in Malaysia.

    BBazaar Malaysia

    23 March 2018

  • Retailers Cannot Impose Surcharges for Card Payments Anymore

    Bank Negara Malaysia confirmed in a recent statement, named ‘Consumer body: Abolish surcharges on credit cards,’ that they have instructed retailers not to levy surcharges on debit card and credit card transactions. The central bank has also urged consumers to bring it under the notice of the card issuers and the respective banks if they find that the retailers are imposing surcharges.

    According to the central bank, the reason why retailers levied an additional charge was to recover the cost they incur while accepting the payments in cards. This was a result of a transaction fee called the merchant discount rate or MDR that is charged on such transactions.

    So far, the United Kingdom and the European Union have adopted various approaches in dealing with this issue.

    BBazaar Malaysia

    22 March 2018

  • Higher Education Ministry Sends RM300 million For KADS1M

    The Higher Education Ministry has reportedly sent RM300 million to fund 1Malaysia Undergraduates Discount Cards (KADS1M). The funding will help close to 1.2 million students who will benefit from the programme.

    According to reports, the entire sum will be paid by Bank Rakyat. The amount will be transferred by matching and collecting the data of students who already have a savings account with the bank to the data of the students that are eligible to get the sum from the ministry. The money sent will be paid starting March 15.

    The students who will benefit from this are students belonging to both, private and public higher education institutions.

    This facility is designed to reduce financial burden of the students. Students who already have the card don’t have to apply for a new one.

    BBazaar Malaysia

    9 March 2018

  • Samsung Pay Adds Public Bank To Its Portfolio

    According to reports, Samsung Pay has added Public Bank to its growing list of banks the mobile phone company supports. Though there’s yet to be an official announcement, Samsung has already updated their website with Public Bank’s logo.

    This development suggests any individual holding a Public Bank debit card or credit card can link either Visa or MasterCard to their Samsung Pay account. However, Public Bank’s Visa Electron and Lifestyle debit cards are exempted from this facility.

    Currently supported and accepted as a transaction gateway by a wide range of retailers, Samsung Pay is compatible with Galaxy A (2017) series, Galaxy A8 and A8+, Note 5, and a few other latest Samsung models and smartwatches. Samsung Pay also supports transactions through both NFC and MST.

    BBazaar Malaysia

    5 February 2018

  • Visa payWave Gains Traction in Malaysia

    Visa payWave is gradually gaining traction in Malaysia with more consumers embracing the contactless card payment technology. Ng Kong Boon, Malaysian Visa National Manage, said that the potential growth of Visa payWave is palpable considering its rising popularity among consumers.

    In a month, more than three million transactions were carried out using Visa payWave, which represents roundabout 17% of Malaysia’s total Visa-initiated transactions, Ng Kong Boon added.

    Visa payWave’s user-friendly features like the abandonment of personal identification number (PIN) while making payments at the counter has made the technology-driven digital payment gateway a favourite among consumers.

    While talking about the newly launched Visa prepaid card, Ng Kong Boon said that he believes the card has potential to rise to a new level, especially when the country is witnessing a mammoth digital transformation.

    BBazaar Malaysia

    5 February 2018

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