What is a Credit Card?
It’s a payment card issued by a financial institution for the purpose of payment of goods and services. It is basically a small loan, because just like a home loan or personal loan, you are essentially borrowing cash from your card-issuer that must be paid back. In technical terms, what happens is that the card issuer opens a revolving account that grants the cardholder a line of credit that is used for payments on credit.
How Do Credit Cards Work in Malaysia?
Instead of having to pay off your debts in full each month, a credit card account allows you to have a continuing amount of debt, subject to interest rate charges.
To put it in simple terms, if you pay off the outstanding balance on your statement by the end of the month, you will not be charged any interest. But if there is any outstanding debt, it will be carried over to the following month and an interest rate will be charged. The interest rate is variable and is generally more favourable towards people who pay off their outstanding credit card balance regularly.
How Many Cards Can I Have?
In Malaysia, If you have an annual income of RM36,000 or less, you can have any number of cards from a maximum of 2 different card issuers.
If you have an annual income that is higher than RM36,000, this limitation does not apply to you.
What types of Credit Cards Are There?
There is a large variety of credit card types in Malaysia, each tailored to different lifestyles, spending habits, and purposes. The following categories represent the major types of credit cards that are available to the Malaysian public:
- Cashback Credit Cards: These cards provide a cash rebate on your purchases, which allows you to reduce your financial burden and shop with peace of mind. Different cards have different terms for when, where, and how much cashback you can get, so it pays to do your research.
- Rewards Credit Cards: This kind of card allows you to accumulate points as you make payments. These accumulated points can be exchanged for a wide variety of things - usually gifts and gadgets from your card issuer’s rewards programme. Some cards even let you trade your points for air miles, use your points like cash to pay for items, or even holiday trips!
- Travel Credit Cards: These cards allow you to accumulate points or airmiles for travel purposes, making them suitable for frequent travellers. Most travel cards also give you great complimentary travel insurance coverage, making them a great way to get the most out of your travels.
- Petrol Credit Cards: Malaysia has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world. Just about everyone has a car, and everyone who has a car needs petrol. Petrol cards help you by allowing you different petrol-related benefits such as cashback or discounts for petrol from specific companies such as Shell or Petronas, or points that allow you to earn rewards while you fill up your tank.
- Islamic Cards: These cards are Syariah-compliant cards, free from Riba, thus they are suitable for proponents of the Muslim faith who have doubts about credit cards. Islamic cards have just as many benefits as conventional credit cards, with the added benefit of allowing pious Muslims to enjoying said benefits without having to compromise their faith.
- No Annual Fee Credit Cards: A self-explanatory category of credit cards – this kind of card is suitable for the cost-conscious, as the annual fee is either waived when you meet a minimum number of swipes per year, or the annual fee is free for life.
- Premium Credit Cards: As the name states, these cards are premium cards that are suitable for the elite. Although expensive, they offer a wide variety of rewards, exclusive privileges, and first class services that only the wealthy can enjoy.
- Balance Transfer Credit Cards: These cards have great balance transfer rates, so you can transfer an existing balance to a brand new card from a different card issuer and take advantage of the lower rate to save on interest costs. You will need to pay a one-time fee to complete the balance transfer, but you stand to save money in the long run, making this type of card a great debt management tool for those who want to tigten their finances.
- Promo Credit Cards: These cards come with amazing offers and free gifts that will surely have you smiling from ear to ear. Check out Loanstreet’s Promo Card Page to find out which cards have great promos waiting for you now!
How do I get a credit card?
It’s as simple as filling up an application form and submitting the relevant personal documents. On Loanstreet, just press apply and fill in your details. You will receive a phone call from us within 1 working day in order for us to check your eligibility, after which we will submit your application to the banks. From then on you will deal with the banks until your application is approved and your credit card is received.
What personal documents do I need to apply for a credit card?
The documents that you need to provide differ depending on whether you are an employee or self-employed.
- A photocopy of both sides of your MyKad
- Your payslips and bank statements from the last 3 months, OR your EPF statements for the last 3 months.
Self-employed people require:
- A photocopy of both sides of your MyKad
- The latest Borang B /BE with LHDN Acknowledgement
What is the difference between a primary card and a supplementary card?
A primary card possesses a credit limit, but a supplementary card does not possess its own limit. Instead, the supplementary card shares the same credit limit as the primary card. The primary cardholder can set specific limits for specific supplementary cards. Supplementary cards also generally have lower annual fees, and often even come free together with a primary card.
Besides the above, supplementary cards share the same features as the primary card.
What is the difference between Visa and MasterCard?
Visa and MasterCard have different credit card lines/tiers
- Visa has two tiers of cards, namely Visa Regular credit cards and Visa Signature credit cards. Visa Regular cards come with extended purchase warranties, reward programmes, and various Visa-exclusive discounts and offers at participating establishments.
- Visa Signature cards have all the perks of a Visa Regular card with the added luxury of exclusive dining and retail privileges, travel protection, frequent flyer programmes, and access to the best golf clubs and restaurants in the world.
- MasterCard has three tiers of cards: the base level MasterCard, the World MasterCard, and the World Elite MasterCard.
- The base level MasterCard has equivalent benefits to the Visa Regular Credit Card.
- The World MasterCard and World Elite MasterCard are similar to the Visa Signature line of cards.
Visa and MasterCard acceptance
The choice between Visa and MasterCard ultimately boils down to acceptance. Different establishments differ in which cards they accept, as well as various discounts and preferential privileges. Thankfully, these days both types of cards are accepted at most establishments that accept credit cards, so your choice of card will mostly be based on preference instead of necessity
What banks are there to choose from in Malaysia?
- AEON bank credit cards give you exclusive deals, privileges, and reward programmes for shopping at AEON shopping centres. Cards from this bank are suitable if you want AEON discounts and AEON rewards. The AEON Balance Transfer Programme also lets you transfer your existing balance for 0% interest (6 months maximum).
- Affinbank credit cards have a low finance charge of 9.99% if you make minimum monthly payments in 12 out of 12 months, making this an ideal card for people who are good at managing their debt levels and are cost-conscious.
- Alliance Bank You:Nique is an interesting line of cards that consists of a cashback card, a reward card, and a low interest rate card that can be customized with any photo or picture of your choosing. All Alliance Bank Card annual fees are either waivable if you swipe your card a minimum of 12 times a year or simply free for life, no strings attached.
- AmBank has a wide variety of conventional credit cards and Islamic cards that you can choose from. Its most affordable card has a low interest rate of 7.99% for the first year on all online retail transactions! Besides that you can also enjoy great reward cards with up to 5X reward points, as well as great travel, golfing, dining, and shopping privileges from various AmBank cards. AmBank’s balance transfer programme is also notable. For the 2-year tenure, you will have an interest rate of 6.99% p.a. For the 6-month tenure, you will have an interest rate of 4.99% p.a.
- The premier issuer of Islamic cards in Malaysia. Bank Islam offers the best Syariah-compliant cards that will make your payments to Halal merchants as easy as a walk in the park.
- Truly a bank for the people. Find Syariah-compliant cards provided by Bank Rakyat and enjoy all the benefits of a credit card while staying true to your religious beliefs.
- BSN offers both conventional credit cards as well as Islamic cards for your selection. A notable feature shared by BSN’s cards is the BSN Balance Transfer Programme that allows you to enjoy as low as 0% p.a. interest rate on your transferred credit card balance.
- CIMB’s offerings span multiple credit card types including petrol cards, reward cards, cash back cards, and travel cards. Notable cards include the CIMB Tesco Platinum MasterCard that is ideal for people who often shop at Tesco hypermarkets, as well as the CIMB Petronas Platinum MasterCard that will get you up to 7% petrol rebate at all Petronas petrol stations nationwide.
- Citibank has a great selection of cashback, petrol, and travel cards for you to choose from. The 5% cash rebate offered by the Citibank Cashback Credit Card and Citibank Cashback Platinum credit cards are excellent examples of cashback cards that will give you great value for money and help you cut costs and strengthen your financial situation. Besides that, Citibank also offers the AirAsia-Citi Gold Visa and AirAsia-Citi Platinum Visa cards that can augment your travels and help you gain frequent flyer miles from AirAsia for your spending.
- HSBC offers quality over quantity, with some of the best reward cards out there. The HSBC Visa Signature and HSBC Visa Platinum can give you up to 10X and 8X reward points respectively. For cashback, the HSBC Amanah MPower Platinum Credit Card-i is the card for you, with its up to 8% cashback.
- If you’re someone who travels overseas often, then Hong Leong’s selection of credit cards may be just right for you. The Hong Leong Sutera Platinum Card, Visa Infinite, and Visa Infinite P offer free access and a Priority Pass to Plaza Premium Lounges in various airports including KLIA and KLIA2, as well as travel insurance coverage of up to RM1.7million. Besides that, Hong Leong has also partnered with GSC Cinemas to produce the GSC Hong Leong Gold Visa and GSC Hong Leong Platinum Visa, both of which will reward cinema-goers with great discounts and promotions.
- Maybank has one of the widest and most varied selection of cards in Malaysia. One of the more notable series of cards from Maybank’s collection is the Maybank 2 series of cards, which includes the Maybank 2 Gold cards, Maybank 2 Platinum cards and Maybank 2 Premier cards. To put it simply, by signing up for any of these cards, you will get both a MasterCard AND an American Express card for the price of one. If you think that’s all, you’re mistaken – charges for both cards will be unified under one statement, giving you flexibility and convenience in one great package!
- OCBC has an eclectic variety of cards that are great for certain lifestyles. The OCBC 365 MasterCard, MasterCard Blue, and MasterCard Pink let you earn unlimited cashback 365 days a year, suitable for people who want complete control over their financial health, while the OCBC World MasterCard provides access to Plaza Premium Lounges in KLIA, complimentary travel insurance coverage, and a 24 hour concierge service, making it perfect for travellers.
- The second-largest bank in Malaysia, Public Bank certainly doesn’t disappoint with its offering of credit cards. The Public Bank Visa Platinum and Public Bank Visa Signature are some of the examples of great cashback cards that the bank provides. The Public Bank AIA Visa Gold and Public Mutual Gold Public Bank Visa Platinum cards are examples of more niche cards that are perfect AIA and Public Mutual customers respectively.
- If you love shopping at SOGO shopping centre, then you’ll love the SOGO RHB Visa card. It will give you instant cash rebates as well as 2X S-Points whenever you shop at SOGO. The RHB Visa Signture and RHB World MasterCard are great cashback cards that will give you up to 6% cashback for your purchases. On top of that, RHB also has a lot of other amazing cards, including the MyEG-RHB Visa that will give you 5X reward points when you pay for any MyEG services using the card.
- A great choice for anyone who is looking to get a credit card, the Standard Chartered Platinum Visa and Platinum MasterCard and Standard Chartered WorldMiles World MasterCard are fine examples of amazing travel cards that reward you as you travel. Besides those, Standard Chartered also offers a great reward card in the Standard Chartered Cashback Gold MasterCard. For cashback, look no further than the Standard Chartered JustOne Platinum MasterCard
- UOB has a healthy selection of cards in its repertoire, but what stands out the most is its female-centric line of cards that really takes care and rewards UOB’s female cardmembers. UOB Lady’s MasterCard and UOB Lady’s Platinum MasterCard offer great beauty and wellness discounts as well as excellent dining and shopping deals.