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Owning a credit card subjects a cardholder to a variety of fees and charges, commonly known as interest charge, imposed as a percentage of the amount of debt you have by the end of a billing period. The finance charges are between 15% to 18% per annum.

Another essential credit card fee, the membership fee, is the annual payment for card ownership (although that fee is waived for the first year and can be passed over further depending on the bank). Other fees and charges include the separate interest rates for cash advance, balance transfer, and expenses on specific items such as gambling.

When you apply for credit cards, your bank looks into your age, salary, employment details, and contact information. Just about every provider of credit cards will require you to reach a certain age (usually 21 years old, though a few banks allow 18-year-olds to apply) and salary level (as low as RM24,000 per year for most basic credit cards, as high as around RM150,000 for the most exclusive premiere-tier credit card) to be able to gain a certain card.

Bear in mind, the salary requirement can vary depending on whether you are employed or self-employed, and that some credit cards are not applicable for foreigners who want to apply for a credit card in Malaysia. In addition, some banks state that the salary requirement will be up to their discretion.

An applicant is also usually required to have at least one or two years employed or self-employed. Other possible requirements include having a landline number, holding an existing credit card, or residing location.

The main feature of the credit card is instant access to money for cardholders, who can pay in full or in installments. But card providers also offer different perks for clients of credit cards, most of which are not offered to debit card holders, such as:

•  Waived membership fees on cards for the first year of use. Through this, banks are encouraging cardholders to use their cards without thinking much about fees.

•  Bonuses such as free airmiles and rebates depending on how much a cardholder has spent.

•  Rewards points that can be exchanged for free items and perks.

•  A balance transfer feature you can use when you want or need to transfer your credit card debts from one card you own to another card with a lower interest rate. Take note that you can only take advantage of this feature for a few months, after which the rates go up again on balance transfer credit cards depending on a bank’s terms.

•  Zero-interest charges on some purchases. You usually see this offer in appliance, furniture, and gadget stores.

•  The ability to advance up to a certain amount of cash, subject to cash advance fees that may make you think twice about doing that. Best used in cases of emergency.

•  A companion virtual credit card facility connected to your existing card. This feature, which serves like a supplementary card with numbers different from the original card, allowing you to safely shop online using your credit card without the fear of leaving your account details vulnerable to fraudsters.

•  Free travel insurance for certain credit cards which is either converted to airmiles points or Air Asia BIG Points.

A bank or credit card provider in Malaysia usually offers between four and 13 kinds of cards, each one catering to different customers depending on their income, interests, and needs. A good way to look at the type of cards that banks offer is via their rewards system, which is usually in the form of points, cashback or airmiles.

TYPES OF CREDIT CARD

•  Points

•  Cashback

•  Airmiles

•  Business

•  Co-Branded

There are other types of credit cards, like the secured credit card, which allow you to deposit a certain amount as a savings account with a bank. The deposited amount serves as collateral for the card and determines your credit limit.

There is also the idea of a prepaid credit card, which allows for cashless transactions but without the debt, in addition to other benefits attached to credit cards. The cardholder just needs to load the card with a certain amount of money, which will later be used by the card to pay for things at shops that accept Visa MasterCard and others.

Credit cards are a convenient way for you to pay for that designer handbag you’ve been eyeing for or even a weekend getaway in Bali. Bear in mind that credit cards are not the same as debit cards. You are effectively borrowing money when using your credit card and when used unwisely, you could build up an unwanted debt. Nonetheless, Malaysia has its variety of banks that offer its banking services with numerous promotions that applies to their credit cards. 

Having a credit card is convenient as it allows you to go cashless when making purchases in shops, restaurants, and even online sellers. With that being said, there is an increasing number of establishments that accept credit card payment now. 
Just a swipe of your shiny plastic card, you can get your bills paid. Of course, you need to settle those debts, but you can defer paying those to a later time (subject to some limits) if you’re willing to let the balance grow per month until the time you can manage to pay. 
GoBear has done the legwork for you by simplifying the terms, features, and benefits of any credit card in Malaysia, so you are able to make comparison within seconds on which credit card provides the best cashback and airmiles you can gain based on your monthly expenses.

Credit cards come with pros and cons. It’s worth considering these points before signing up. 

There’s no free lunch
‘Free’ gifts that come along with your new credit card aren’t exactly free. Always read the fine print and understand what you need to spend within a certain timeframe to get your freebie. Think twice before chalking up unnecessary bills, or worse get into debt, for that free lunch. 

Little things count
That ‘small’ annual card fee is really the biggest fee of all. Call the bank and ask nicely if they can waive the charges. However, cards such as the ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card and DBS Altitude Card give away 10,000 and 8000 free miles respectively upon paying the annual fee. Whether it’s worth it? It’s your call. 

That free travel insurance cover
Thinking of getting covered by the complimentary travel insurance that comes with your credit card? It usually means you foot the bill for your holidays with that very same card. It’s useful to bear in mind, the cover may not be up to snuff when stacked against proper travel insurance plans. It’s worth noting credit cards such as the Citibank PremierMiles card and ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card do offer outstanding coverage. Compare on GoBear before you sign on to any card. 

Miles conversion
If you rely on your plastic to chalk up air miles for that next holiday to paradise, be sure to check the miles reward system. A dollar for a mile vs a dollar for 1.2 miles, which is better? Seriously, it’s not rocket science. 

The Late Fee Charge
Heads up, do you often forget to pay your credit card bill on time? Be careful because you can rack up some big late fees. Check the terms and rates, which can change at the bank’s discretion. 

We currently cover the largest range of credit cards and credit card companies so you don’t need to shop around. No other comparison site has that. Fill out your details in the form above to compare credit cards with GoBear. Find which credit card is best for you.  

GoBear has chosen Malaysia Airlines's Enrich miles as the basis for our total air miles calculation.  Why Enrich? It’s one of the most popular frequent flyer programs and currently , a majority of different credit card miles can be redeemed to Enrich miles. For any card that has multiple redemption options, it is highlighted in More Details section.

Annual Fee

Most cards waive their annual fees for the first year, some credit card issuers may waive it for multiple years or even perpetually. Keep in mind that if spending per year on the card doesn’t reach the minimum spending set internally by the credit card issuers, you may be charged the full annual fee the following year. However, often you will be able to convince a bank to waive your fee even if you did not reach the minimum spending. No harm to try we say!

Interest Rates

Interest rates on outstanding credit card balances range from around 8% to around 15% in Malaysia. Almost all cards have an interest-free period, which means you have some time to pay off your outstanding balance before interest kicks in.   Not all cards have the same interest rates, if you are often late in paying your balance it would be wise to choose a card with a lower interest rate and save yourself hundreds of ringgits per year.

Minimum Monthly Repayment

The minimum monthly repayment is approximately 5% of the outstanding balance or at least RM50. Best is to avoid outstanding balances altogether to reduce the interest “surprise”. See details from Interest Rates.  

Cash Advance

All credit cards allow advanced cash withdrawal from an ATM, however, you will pay an initial fee that could range between RM15-25 or 5% of the withdrawn amount. Also, the interest rate on cash advances could be higher than the standard interest rates. Refer to Interest Rates. Cash advance is different from payment and it also is subject to a higher interest rate than what you spend on retail. GoBear’s advice: do not use your credit card at an ATM unless absolutely necessary.

Firstly, you must understand what each card offers:

Rewards Cards

Reward cards earn you rewards that are specific to your card issuer (e.g. CitiDollars). These rewards are collected while spending money on your credit cards and can be exchanged for either vouchers, cash or air miles.  

Cashback Cards

Cashback cards offer you a percentage of your total spending on this card. Depending on what you spend your money on, you could earn up to 5% cashback on your credit card.  

Miles Cards

Miles cards earn you miles, which can be exchanged for frequent flyer miles at selected airlines. Most Malaysian banks have deals with Enrich and One World.  

When comparing these 3 card types, you should keep in mind that rewards cards may not instantly give you “miles” or “cash” and sometimes a conversion rate applies when redeeming for these rewards. However, this does give you the option to choose your rewards or benefits at a later point of time. Pure miles and cashback cards do not offer this flexibility but often offer better conversion rates. Cashback cards are loved by those who like instant “cash discount” from a bill.

Dining: weekend and weekday dining (if you get awarded at different rates, the average applies)

Entertainment: ticketing for cinemas, bars or events (or either of them)

Fuel: includes card-specific rewards, miles or cashback gained from spending on fuel

Groceries: grocery spending at multiple outlets

Travel: 50% overseas spend and 50% travel-related spending e.g. flight, hotel

Online Shopping: all spending on online shopping

Shopping: all spending on retail shopping

General: all other spending (except cash advances) To give a clear comparison, the followings is excluded:

- Nominal discounts for fuel 

- Bank-wide discounts for fuel - Bank deals with specific merchants  

- Any ad-hoc promotions, unless they are quantifiable as an annual bonus related to a minimum spend in the first year.