Wise vs. InstaRem? Which are better for Malaysians?

Published October 28, 2020

Updated July 30, 2021

~2 mins read

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 Converted5,000.00 MYR5,000.00 MYR
Exchange Rate1 MYR : 1.86143 HKD1 MYR : 1.85840 HKD
Fees-31.76 MYR-22.61 MYR
Hong Kong Dollar Received9,248.03 HKD9,249.58 HKD
Deposit Datetime27 Oct 2020 4:14 pm27 Oct 2020 2:16 pm
Fund Received Datetime27 Oct 2020 4:15 pm27 Oct 2020 4:10 pm
Time Taken< 1 min.1 hr 54 min.
Quick comparison between Wise and InstaReM

In terms of net exchange rate - comparing Money Converted vs. Money Received; both actually have very close rates and depending on timing, one may be cheaper than the other. So far my experience has been leaning more towards Wise (or even BigPay at times)

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. During my two-separate usages of InstaReM, all transfer seems to take at least 2-4 hours to process before they start dispatching funds to your destination account.

In terms of currencies supported, it doesn't really matter to me as the currencies I will be trading will be the worlds' major currencies. If you have very specific currency needs then Wise may suit you better given their near-worldwide coverage.

Another potentially useful feature Wise Borderless Debit Card which sadly are not available for us Malaysians. 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.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Feel free to comment your thoughts!x