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Wise vs. InstaRem? Which are better for Malaysians?

Hello Friends,

Today I had to make some transfers from Ringgit Malaysia into Hong Kong Dollars for some international trades and I have decided to take the opportunity to test both Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) and InstaReM.

Both are them are Fintech company offering cross-border money transfer at an attractive rate, beating most (if not all) banks that most of us would be using today, perhaps except the top 1%. Wise has been around since 2010, established in London with pretty well recognized worldwide and InstaReM is like the new brother to the party, founded in 2014 in Singapore.

But it doesn’t really matter when they are founded, as both of them are  regulated as a remittance business under the Money Services Business Act 2011 by Bank Negara Malaysia, so you can be pretty sure that your money’s in the right hand (as long as you transfer to the correct destination account!)

In the example that I will be showing below, I will basically do a mirror transfer on both platforms from my Malaysia bank account to my Hong Kong bank account, with both registered under my own name.



Ringgit Malaysia Converted

5,000.00 MYR

5,000.00 MYR

Exchange Rate

1 MYR : 1.86143 HKD

1 MYR : 1.85840 HKD


-31.76 MYR

-22.61 MYR

Hong Kong Dollar Received

9,248.03 HKD9,249.58 HKD

Deposit Datetime

27 Oct 2020 4:14 pm

27 Oct 2020 2:16 pm

Fund Received Datetime

27 Oct 2020 4:15 pm

27 Oct 2020 4:10 pm

Time Taken

< 1 min.

1 hr 54 min.

In terms of net exchange rate – comparing Money Converted vs. Money Received; both actually have very close rate but because of Friend Referral’s coupon, I got the same amount by paying 24.00 MYR less by redeeming 400 InstaPoints (which you will automatically get when signing up via Friend Referral links). Wise also have similar promotions when signing up via friend’s referral code – which provides you fee-free first transfer up to 500GBP (~2700 MYR)!

But if you need the transfer to be completed urgently for whatever reason, Wise will be the best choice as both my experiences with them so far usually have a near-instantaneous transfer in less than a minute.

In terms of other features, to me, it doesn’t really matter as the currencies I will be trading will be the worlds’ major currencies anyway, but if you have very specific needs then Wise may suit you better given their near-worldwide coverage. As of now, Malaysia is also not eligible for Wise Borderless Debit Card but I’d imagine that it won’t be too far off from BigPay, so we’ll see when they finally release it in Malaysia.

Let me know if there’s anything else that’d be interesting to you and I’ll be sure to add it in my next review (or updating this post)!


p/s feel free to use my referral for Wise to support my blog! For every successful referral, part of the commissions will go to a non-profit community charity foundation.

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