BigPay - A Malaysian Debit/Credit Card that earns AirAsia Points - Top Ups with Credit Cards Possible!

BigPay - A Malaysian Debit/Credit Card that earns AirAsia Points - Top Ups with Credit Cards Possible!

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral. By using my referral, I will earn RM10 once you activate your card. You will also get RM10 (which is the main point of this deal). The referral code is ZN8IKOD38O. Note that the last character as the letter "O" and not the numeral "0"!

Happy New Year! Let's hope 2019 brings plenty of bargains. 2018 was a year of transition for me - moving from Australia to Singapore, but the deals didn't stop.

Let's start 2019 with...

BigPay - Malaysian Prepaid Debit Card - Free RM10 with Referral - No Foreign Transaction Surcharges!

Deal Rating: 7/10 - Free RM10, Free Prepaid Credit Card, which currently waives overseas transaction fees, earns a small amount of (AirAsia) points, and can be topped up with a Credit Card but is only applicable to Malaysians.

RM10 (~$3.33) for free!

I haven't posted anything Malaysia-specific so far, and I never intended to because it's not really my "target market". However, this is actually a decent deal - and it's relevant to me and probably a lot of the other thousands of Malaysians who ply their trade in Singapore, so I'm sharing it.

This deal is currently only applicable to Malaysian residents.

To get your free RM10...

  1. Download the BigPay App (Google Play Store/iOS
  2. Go through the registration process which goes in the following order:
    • Select Country of Residence
      • You actually have to select Malaysia. If you select any other country and proceed, it will say "We're not just there yet!" and ask for your email address so you can be notified when BigPay does eventually expand there. They don't ask for utility bills or anything of the sort, so "proof of residence" is actually not required.
    • Nominate a phone number (it seems non-Malaysia numbers are fine) to receive a OTP (one-time PIN)
    • Set a PIN to login to the BigPay app on your phone
    • Personal Details. The key ones being:
      • Email
      • Name (as per IC/Passport)
      • DOB
      • Nationality
      • Referral Code: ZN8IKOD38O
      • Address (and Mailing Address)
    • Take a photo of your IC/Passport and a selfie of yourself as part of the verification process. Finally, submit. At this point. You will need to wait for a notification from BigPay before you can initiate the next steps. Once the verification is complete...
  3. Top up RM20 to your account - this is required, otherwise 2 things will happen:
    • Your card will not get sent out
    • You will not receive the "free RM10"

Onto the product itself...

There are several aspects of this particular product which I find quite appealing.

I kind of summarised it at the top in the deal rating part, but once again:

  • It's a Prepaid Card
  • It (currently) waives international and foreign transaction fees
  • You can earn a small amount of AirAsia points for each transaction
  • You can top it up with a Credit Card - and it's not charged as a Cash Advance

Let's go through these benefits, one-by-one.


Free RM10

Come on, I don't need to explain this..


It's a Prepaid Card

The advantages of prepaid cards are around security and control rather than flexibility. This means your financial risk is limited to the amount of money you have stored in your card. It also means if you're required to give your Credit Card details for a free trial, you can use this and ensure you have no money inside to ensure you don't get charged if you forget to unsubscribe.

Of course, the slight disadvantage is that you can't process transactions if you don't have enough money in your account.


Waives International and Foreign Transaction Fees

List of fees on their official page

Firstly, it says there's a RM10 refundable join fee. I don't know what this refers to - I wasn't charged a cent to get the card.

Back to this particular perk, this is quite straightforward. I don't know the Malaysian Credit Card market well enough, but I presume this is not a particularly common feature amongst Malaysian Credit Cards. I would not be surprised if this is the only card in the market at the moment with this feature. This should save you around 3% off every transaction - which is not a small amount.

Specifically, see the fees under "Currency Conversion Fee" and "Cross-Border Transaction Fee", which are both "waived until further notice". Note that "Currency Conversion Fee" still says "Only charges by the network will be applied". My interpretation of this is that you'll be charged at the rates as per the network - i.e. Mastercard/Visa/AMEX, which in this case is Mastercard - without any surcharge being applied.

The "waived until further notice" below some of the fees suggests these could change in the future. Before you get worried though, think about this practically. If it did not say "waived until further notice", would it suggest things can't change? No. I wouldn't read into it. Businesses are generally able to change things whenever they want, regardless.

Also, their FAQ section states the same thing under "Exchange Rates".


Earn some AirAsia Points for each Transaction

Page with information around AirAsia points earn rates

Points are earned as follows, incredibly on both top ups and transactions:

  1. 1 BIG Point for every RM50 top up
  2. 1 BIG Point for every RM20 spent using BigPay

The 1 BIG point per RM20 is credited on a per transaction basis. This means if you spend RM30 and then RM30 again in two different transactions, the two transactions would earn you 1pt each, and would not get added together (like a final statement) to earn you 3 points.

How much is 1 BIG Point? It looks like it's absolutely peanuts - so that's a bit of a letdown... but you either earn some points, or no points. This doesn't mean you replace an existing Credit Card with this though. See the next point if you're not sure what I mean.


You can top it up with a Credit Card

Ok, this benefit is a little obscure.

This is a benefit assuming topping up with Credit Card does not incur a cash advance, and it does not, as at 31 Dec 2018.

This means:

  • You earn points on the Credit Card that you use to top up your BigPay Account in addition to earning 1 BIG Point per RM50 top up (i.e. you're double dipping!)
  • It's an indirect way for you to increase your spend on a Credit Card, in case you have any minimum spend requirements on your Credit Card to reach particular thresholds. This buys you time to actually make that expenditure.
    • This is useful because you may need to spend $X in December, and if you're a little short, just top up your BigPay card using this card until you reach $X. You've now artificially extended your time to use this money because you've put it into a prepaid card.
  • Also good for random Credit Card promotions along the lines of "Spend $X in Malaysia and get $Y". As an example, I was sent a targeted AMEX promotion which was spend $500 SGD equivalent in MYR and get $20. If I had BigPay at the time, I could've just topped up my BigPay account to qualify.

Finally, withdrawing from ATMs, whether in Malaysia or overseas is not free, so don't use this card to withdraw money!

Random side benefit which is not particularly relevant to me - no payment processing fees when making payments with AirAsia, as well as discounts on check-in luggage and in-flight meals. That's actually pretty cool!

I was in Malaysia for about a week at the end of December and found the experience using the card to be really good. On a side note, the Android app is actually really sleek and nicely done.

Oh, and don't lose your card. A replacement card costs RM20.

Some ideas on how else to effectively use this card? Use it to top up your GrabPay and Boost account balances. And - how to optimise it even more? Only top up in increments of RM20 to maximise your points earn.

If you don't think you'll use your GrabPay/Boost often, it's probably just a better idea to only top up what you need - thereby preventing you from having a large leftover balance of credit in either app. As I mentioned above, 1 BIG Point is worth very little.

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