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TransferWise launches in Malaysia

Leading global financial technology company TransferWise launched its operations in Malaysia today. At a Kuala Lumpur event officiated by Yang Berhormat Dr Ong Kian Ming, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of International Trade and Industry , the UK-based company announced the opening of its international money transfer service from Malaysia to 83 countries.

  • International money transfer service available starting today from Malaysia to 83 countries;
  • TransferWise is up to 4x cheaper than the banks;
  • TransferWise customers can now send money from 45 countries, including 4 markets in Asia: Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan.


TransferWise’s service is – Transferwise Malaysia:

  • Cheaper – by up to 4x compared to the banks1
  • Faster – 80% of transfers globally are completed within 24 hours
  • More transparent – the only service that uses the real exchange rate, the one you see on Google
  • More convenient – a 100% online experience from verification (only photo ID needed) to the setting up and completion of transfers, with no need for customers to leave their homes

Yang Berhormat Dr Ong Kian Ming said:

“I congratulate TransferWise on its Malaysia launch. Opening up the financial services sector to more local and international fintech players is an important policy that will enhance the sector’s competitiveness and improve financial inclusion. With more players like TransferWise setting up operations here, Malaysia’s digital economy is gaining momentum and will create many good jobs for Malaysians in the years to come.”

Using Transferwise in Malaysia, Malaysians can now send money to 83 countries at prices up to 4x cheaper than the banks. For example, sending RM 1,000 to the UK costs just RM 7.20 with TransferWise, but costs on average RM 34.60 with a bank . Prices for sending RM 1,000 on other 2 major routes are:

● EUR – 0.71%
● AUD – 0.72%
● HKD – 0.76%
● CAD – 0.81%
● SGD – 0.84%
● NZD – 0.85%
● INR – 0.88%
● USD – 0.98%
● IDR – 1.10%

Mr Taavet Hinrikus, Co-Founder and Chairman of TransferWise , said:

“We are excited to be able to offer in Malaysia from today a cheaper, faster and more convenient way to send money internationally. TransferWise is the only company in the market to use the real exchange rate – the one you see on Google. Banks and other providers around the world hide their fees in exchange rate markups, making it very hard for customers to calculate how much exactly they are paying for the transfer. It is an opaque and outmoded practice that TransferWise opposes in every country we serve.”

He added:

“We were getting a very high number of requests from potential Malaysian customers, so we worked hard to enable our service as fast as we could. Along the way, Bank Negara Malaysia and other government departments were very professional in the way they handled our application. By allowing and encouraging more nonbanks to provide financial services in Malaysia, BNM is ensuring consumers benefit from better and more affordable services.”

Last year, the European Parliament moved against hidden fees by passing a law requiring banks to show all charges for cross-border transactions in the local currency (e.g. in euros and cents). The law is now making its way through the later phases of the legislative process before it is set to be implemented. The authorities in Australia are also investigating hidden exchange rate markups.

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TransferWise ’s service in Malaysia is open to individuals – including all locals and all foreigners except those with a Foreign Worker status3. For this latter group, due to additional checks required by regulations, the service will begin in 2020. Business transfers are also expected to begin by 2020.

Reed here the complete speech by Taavet Hinrikus:


Yang Berhormat Dr Ong Kian Ming, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry

Natalie Black, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific

Our Friends from the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

Some time before 2011, my co-founder Kristo Käärmann and I were both living in London. We were from Estonia. I was working at Skype at the time and was paid in euros, so I needed to send euros to London to fund my daily expenses. Kristo was paid in pounds and had to send the money to Estonia to fund his mortgage. When we tried to wire the money through the banks, we saw that less money was coming out the other end compared to the rate we checked online. We then realised what our banks had done. They hid the fees in the exchange rate markup, hoping nobody would realise how much they were charging.

We found a way around it – exchanging money locally. I would send my euros to Kristo’s account in Estonia. He sent me pounds in London. We used the real exchange rate and saved a lot in fees. We thought more people would have the same problem, and we set up TransferWise to help them solve it.

Today, TransferWise moves £ 4 billion (or RM22 billion) on behalf of our 6 million customers every month, saving them £ 1 billion (or RM5 billion) a year compared to using the banks.

You can send money using TransferWise from 45 countries to 83 countries – and we are adding more countries to that list every year. Our customers tell us which routes they want us to work on first by sending us requests. I am happy to announce today that because we received an overwhelmingly large number of requests from Malaysians – over 15,000 altogether – we allocated resources to getting the service up and running, and that’s why we’re here today.

I want to say a special word of thanks to Yang Berhormat Dr Ong Kian Ming and to representatives of Bank Negara Malaysia who are here today. The Malaysian government has allowed fintech companies both from Malaysia and overseas to compete fairly, to the benefit of Malaysian consumers.

I also want to thank UK Trade Commissioner Natalie Black who has been a champion of British co panies in this part of the world. She and her team have helped us a great deal in our Asia Pacific expansion.

TransferWise’s mission is: Money without borders – instant, convenient, transparent and eventually free. We have been strong advocates of transparency from Day One, because it was the reason TransferWise was founded in the first place.

Why is transparency important?

Because it is about fair play. It is the right thing to do by your customer. It is putting power into the hands of ordinary people and letting them decide if yours is the service they want to use. We believe banks and other service providers can charge anything they want – but they should make it clear to customers what they are charging.

When we walk into a supermarket and we see on the shelf that a carton of milk costs 8 Ringgit or 10 Ringgit, we expect that to be the price when we check out.

But when we walk into a bank, they may say to us a money transfer costs 20 Ringgit, or 20 dollars if you’re in Singapore, or 20 pounds if you’re in London. Quite naturally, you would think it’s the same situation as the milk – what they say is what it actually is. But to your surprise, you find out just as we did over 8 years ago there may be another 20 or 40 or even 100 ringgit (or dollars or pounds) that have been sneakily tucked into the inflated exchange rate.

So we are proud to bring to Malaysia today an international money transfer service that is transparent, and that is at the same time:
● Cheaper – we are 4x cheaper than the market
● Faster – 80% of our transfers arrive within 24 hours
● And More Convenient – it is a 100% online experience from verification to the setting up and completion of transfers, with no need for customers to leave their homes


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Mia Turner

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