A guide to selecting and applying for credit cards (2023)

Applying for a credit card is not difficult. However, before applying for a credit card, it is essential that you understand the features and types of credit cards available in the market to meet your personal financial needs. We help you through various channels and standard procedures when applying for a credit card.

How do you choose the best credit card for you?

There is no best card in Malaysia for everyone. What is considered "best" varies from person to person. That's why in this guide we discuss different 'people' with different needs to help you find the right credit card for you.

There are different types of credit cards that offer different features such as rewards programs, cash back, airline miles, balance transfer, and exclusive benefits such as premium deals, access to luxury airport lounges, and unlimited spending limits.

In addition to better understanding the benefits you get from having a card, there are other factors to consider when choosing a credit card. Starting with card features tailored to your needs, application process and document requirements, which you can read more about in the sections below.

What should you pay attention to when choosing a map?

1. Effective Interest Rate (TIE)

Banks always advertise their annual interest rates (APR) to their customers. HoweverEffective interestIt represents the true economic cost of owning a credit card. A credit card is one of the financing options with the highest costs. Since the EIR rate in Malaysia varies from 12% to 16%, it is important to know the credit card EIR offered by banks. This is the interest rate that will be charged on your credit card balance.

However, most people can avoid high fees if they can pay the outstanding amount each month.

2. Annual Fee

In addition to the APR, some banks charge credit card holders an annual fee that can be as high as RM800 per annum. Before you apply for a new card, find out what your financial options are and see if there is another comparable credit card that offers lower fees or, better yet, no annual fees. Annual credit card fees in Malaysia range from RM100 to RM800.

Some banks offer annual fee waivers for certain credit cards. Keep this in mind when choosing a credit card to minimize the cost of applying for it.

3. Other costs

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Always read the fine print to find out if your bank may charge you additional fees, such as foreign transaction fees, dynamic currency conversion, cash advance fees, balance transfer fees, and late payment fees.

  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 1% (This applies to most cards in Malaysia, but you can check your bank statement at any time.)
  • Dynamic currency conversion: 1% and conversion fee. (depending on the bank)
  • Cash advance fees: Based on the effective interest rate (EIR) charged to your credit card. However, some offer low rates for the cash option. (It's best to check with your banks for the latest cash advance promotions.)
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 0% to 6% within Malaysia.
  • Late Payment Fee: If the minimum payment is not made on time, a late payment fee of 1% of outstanding debts will be charged. (depending on the bank)

4. Minimum Income Requirement

Banks need to know your income level before approving your credit card application. The minimum annual income required in Malaysia for a basic credit card is generally RM24,000. Before applying for a credit card, make sure you meet the minimum income requirements. Overall, you can say with certainty that you can apply for more than half of the credit cards offered in Malaysia if your annual salary is between RM24,000 and RM36,000.

5. Credit score

To increase your chances of getting your credit card application approved, make sure your credit score is at a healthy level and your debt-to-income ratio doesn't exceed 40%. You can usually check your credit score at CCRIS (Bank Negara), CTOS and RAM Credit Rating Sdn Bhd.

6. Cashback Benefits

Credit cards with a cashback functionwould require different conditions. First, you must spend a minimum amount each month to qualify for the maximum repayment rate offered by the banks. Next, you need to look at the maximum redemption limit (cost), as some banks may impose this on some credit cards. Next, you need to take a close look at the expense categories that qualify for the cashback feature.

7. Bonus Points Benefits

Ifcashback credit cards, there are different levels of loyalty points you can earn based on your spending category. To compare the best rewarding credit cards, consider the reward options offered by banks, such as retail products, services, and coupons. Most importantly, you need to figure out the ratio of rewards to cash (spend) and which one will help you use the rewards faster!

Twelve types of credit card users in Malaysia and the credit cards that suit them

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To help you choose the card that's right for you, we'll help you understand what type of credit card issuer or user you are. We've listed the 12 most popular types of people spending money in Malaysia and the best credit card to suit your needs.

1. First credit card holders

You are a graduate or aspiring manager and have just found your first job and want to apply for your first credit card. You are not quite sure about the different types of credit card features and how a credit card works for you. However, you need a card that allows you to make big savings at minimal cost, and you really look forward to enjoying life with more financial flexibility.

It may be difficult for you to get your first credit card because you may not have a credit history. However, you can apply for a no-annual-fee credit card offered by many banks especially for recent graduates, and use it for emergencies in the future.

Recommended card types for you:refund,No annual costs

2. Fashionista/lifestyle-persoon

You can't wait to enjoy the best of your life with exclusive offers and love to spend your time searching for the best dresses and shoes anytime, anywhere. Most importantly, you want to be able to earn rewards or recoup your expenses and enjoy more savings at the end of the year or month!

as good as newKaart Pani UOB, you can enjoy 10% cashback on your weekend purchases and earn 10x UNIRIGGIT Rewards points, both with a single card!

Recommended card types for you:refund,awards

3. Housewives or Housewives

If you do household chores and run errands for your family, you are definitely one of the super moms or super dads. There are cards that allow you unlimited savings from time to time and enjoy exclusive offers at the lowest possible cost.

If you prefer to save more than spend cash, you should know that there are several credit cards that offer great savings on groceries, such asBanco Alianza Tú: niqueA credit card that offers a 3% cashback rate with no minimum spend and monthly cashback limit.

Recommended card types for you:refund,awards,No annual costs

4. Online buyers

You will find that most of the best deals are available online, and you would rather not have to queue to buy your favorite stuff with your laptop or smartphone. In addition, you like to take advantage of exclusive deals with one or two credit cards. Let's face it: we're all becoming online shoppers whether we realize it or not.

If you want to save more on your next online purchases, RHB Islamic Smart Value-I offers up to 5% cashback on online purchases or UOB VOX Visa offers 5% cashback on online spend with a minimum spend of RM50 per single voucher. Here are some of the best credit cards for you!

Recommended card types for you:refund,awards,Islamic

5. Islamic card user

Whether you are Muslim or non-Muslim, if you believe in sharia-compliant financing options, you will most likely use an Islamic credit card that works in the same way as a conventional credit card, but with some minor differences in features. One of the differences between Islamic credit cards is the replacement of the interest with a benefit payment.

Recommended card type for you:Islamic

6. traveller

You like to travel and see the world with your own eyes. With a card tailored to your needs, you can earn airline miles and redeem free airline tickets, while taking advantage of exclusive offers like free travel insurance and premium access to the Plaza Lounge on your next vacation.

If you choose the right card, you can get free travel insurance and unlimited access to premium plaza lounges at KLIA by purchasing an airline ticket with the card, e.g.AmBank Platinocredit card

Recommended card types for you:Air miles,awards

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7. Fulltime chauffeur

Whether you are an Uber or Grab driver, or drive from one destination to another regularly, you have only one goal in mind and that is to save fuel.A card that allows you to save money while refueling is a lifesaver.

Driving in Malaysia can be stressful from time to time due to the uncertainty of fuel prices. However, you can find relief and save a few extra ringgit by using the right credit card with excellent fuel reimbursement rates such asShell Citi Gold-creditcardwhich offers a cashback of up to 8% if you spend RM2,500 or more on your total monthly expenses (including petrol, meals, groceries, utilities and travel).

Recommended card type for you:refund

8. Only in emergencies

Don't believe in credit cards and prefer to pay cash? You are one of many Malaysians who use a credit card as a last resort for financial needs such as debt consolidation or a cash advance.

Because you can't predict exactly when you'll need to use your card, it's best to get a credit card with no annual fees to keep the cost of ownership as low as possible.

Recommended card types for you:No annual costs

9. A proponent of the premium lifestyle

He believes in getting the most out of every Ringgit he spends and loves the privilege of using his credit card to buy what the world has to offer. You don't mind paying more for better quality services and goods.

For example, Cynthia earns RM10,000 per month and is looking for a card that offers the best in terms of rewards, redemption rates and airline mileage programs. Good,Citi Rewards visumbedrijfcould be a great credit card option for Cynthia with 5 Citi Rewards points to spend at select stores with unlimited validity.

Recommended card type for you:The best offers

10. Business travelers

You are a busy person working in a company and you have a job that requires you to fly around the world on behalf of your company or business. You want your trip to be hassle-free and you want to make the most of every trip with comfortable flights and cozy accommodations.

For example,HSBC-visumhandtekeningThe rewards program allows users to convert air miles from 3,000 award points to 1,000 air miles. With unlimited access to KLIA Premium Lounge, Singapore Changi Airports and Hong Kong International Airport and travel insurance up to RM750,000, this card is welcomed by many business travelers to Malaysia.

Recommended card types for you:The best offers,Air miles

11. Entrepreneur

You are a start-up owner and need flexible financing options for both you and your employees to run your add-on card business. Plus, you'll want to keep track of all your expenses and set a limit on each card to make it easier to manage your business finances.

Most importantly, you want to take advantage of the cashback that some credit cards offer to optimize every ringgit you spend on your business. Him, for exampleStandard authorized JustOne Platinum MastercardWith a maximum cashback rate of 15%, you can easily save up to RM1,000 per year by using this card for certain business expenses!

Recommended card types for you: Business,refund

12. Corporate Cards

You are the owner or CFO of a company that issues credit cards to its employees. Integrated with your business account, you can easily track all expenses and manage your company's financial situation.

Recommended card type for you: Business

How to apply for a credit card

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There are five ways to apply for a credit card in Malaysia, and the card approval process typically takes one to two months. Banks check your personal information, credit scores, legal matters, payment history and other relevant financial information before issuing you with a credit card.

Five ways to apply for a credit card

1. Bank website

You can apply for a credit card on any bank's website if you already know your preferred product or have a preferred provider in mind. It is easier to have your application approved at the bank where you have a current or savings account. The bank can easily track your cash flow and verify your data.

2. Approach the branch

You can go to any bank branch near you and fill out a form to apply for a credit card. You must bring your ID and the necessary documents, including a three-month proof of income (payslip), an EPF certificate (from the last and previous year) and a three-month bank statement.

3. Comparison websites like CompareHero.my

Via your laptop or smartphone you can easily search, compare and apply for your desired credit card at any time. comparison sites, e.gVergelijkHero.myHave a team of great customer service heroes to help you collect all the required documents and guide you through the process of getting your preferred credit card.

4. Credit Card Agents

Credit card agents can be found in most shopping malls, supermarkets, offices and even public transportation stations. However, comparing and choosing the best credit cards can be difficult given the short time it takes to contact these agents. Yet many banks offer gifts such as luggage bags and stuffed animals to people who take out a credit card with these agents.

5. Call Centers

You can call your bank's hotline to apply for a credit card and ask for an advisor's or assistant's business email address where you can send confidential documents. Sometimes banks may call you from time to time and ask if you are interested in applying for certain credit cards.

Type of credit card applicants and required documents

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Keeping in mind that there are different types of credit card applicants from different backgrounds, banks have adapted the requirements to each group of card applicants. Here's what you need to know:

1. Recent graduates

If you're a recent college graduate and haven't found a job yet, you can't apply for a credit card until you've found one and earned at least three months' wages. It is even better if you can provide the bank with a copy of your employer's confirmation letter.

2. Managerial employee

From starter to business owner, you can apply for a credit card as long as you meet the minimum income level set by the bank. To submit an application, the following documents must be prepared:

  • Photocopy of identity card (front and back)
  • Latest EPF statement O;
  • Final full receipt for payment of taxes and BE O;
  • Recent EA (last two years including bonus) O;
  • last payslip

For those earning commissions, overtime, or steady-paying jobs, have the following documents ready before applying for a credit card:

  • Photocopy of identity card (front and back)
  • EPF statement for the past three months OR;
  • Bank statement of the last three months (credit salary) OR;
  • Last completed BE form and proof of tax payment OR;
  • Latest EA form OR;
  • Payroll records for the past three months

People who work only on commission, such as a sales agent, must prepare the following documents:

  • Photocopy of identity card (front and back)
  • Commission statement for the past six months OR;
  • Final full receipt for payment of taxes and BE O;
  • Latest Annual Provision Statement (CP58)

3. Self-employed/independent/freelancer

Those who own a business and want to apply for a credit card must have a different set of documents to qualify. As such, freelancers may need to register their services as a sole proprietorship to increase their chances of getting a credit card or loan in the future.

These are the documents you need:

  • Photocopy of identity card (front and back)
  • Company bank statement for the last six months OR latest Borang BE or B full set and proof of tax payment
  • Form A (Sole Proprietorship) / Form B (Partnership) / Form 9, 24 and 49 (Company) (Issued by SuruhanJaya Syarikat Malaysia)

4. Government Official

People who work in the public sector need the following documents to apply for a credit card:

  • Photocopy of identity card (front and back)
  • Last payslip of the month OR
  • letter confirming the employer

However, some banks may consider applications from government officials in the same way as job applicants and require quarterly pay slips, bank statements and the most recent EPF account statement.

5. retired

A retiree cannot apply for a credit card if he or she does not continue to run a business. In this case, you can refer to the previous column for the documents required to apply for a credit card.

6. Unemployed

Unemployed or laid-off individuals cannot apply for a credit card in Malaysia until they have worked in their next job for at least six months and have the necessary documents to apply for employee status.

7. Expatriate in Malaysia

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Foreigners working in Malaysia must hold a visa valid for at least six months on average and have a minimum income of RM10,000 per month. (Some banks may set an amount as high as RM20,000 and a visa validity of 12 months, but it still depends on the credit card used.)

Here are the documents you need to submit as an expat in Malaysia:

  • Photocopy of passport and visa
  • Proof of payment for the past two months
  • Work permit valid for at least six months at the time of application.
  • Letter of employment

In general, as an expat you expect that the credit criteria are much higher and that banks have much more freedom in choosing whether or not to accept you.

8. Working abroad

Income level requirements can vary from bank to bank, as some banks accept currency exchange while others do not. It is still safe to say that you must earn a minimum of RM24,000 in annual income to qualify for a credit card.

Here are the documents you need to prepare:

  • Photocopy of the integrated circuit (front and back)
  • EPF statement for the past 3 months OR;
  • Bank statement of the last 3 months (credit salary) OR;
  • Last completed BE form and proof of tax payment OR;
  • Latest EA form OR;
  • Pay slip of the past three months

How to check the status of your application

It usually takes one to two months for the bank to process a credit card application. A complete credit card application includes the required documents, including a copy of your ID, proof of income, and statements from the Employee Provident Fund (EPF).

If you do not receive a response from the bank and would like to check the status of your application, you can always call the bank's hotline. Depending on the channel you applied through, you can always consult the channel, for example a specific location, agent or comparison website.

Those who applied through the bank website can check the status of their application online in their account.

If you signed up through CompreHero.my, you can call us on 012-385 0211 (Monday to Friday, 9am - 6pm) and we'll keep you updated from time to time until you successfully get the perfect credit card.

Some banks have an online application where you can get a tracking code that you should have with you when you call the hotline, as it is needed to check your history.

What should I do if my application is rejected?

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If you have received a message from your bank that your application has been rejected, there could be several reasons for this. However, it is best to contact your bank by calling the customer service number to find out the specific causes and to resolve them quickly.

There are several reasons that may cause your bank to decline your credit card application:

  • Insufficient supporting documents
  • Insufficient income level
  • Bad credit due to high debt or an inconsistent loan repayment pattern
  • Too many credit cards
  • CCRISa credit report not older than six months
  • Incomplete application form
  • existing requests

With the above reasons in mind, here are some suggestions before signing up with the bank:

  • Please ensure that all information on the application form is complete.
  • Be sure to include all required documents with your credit card application.
  • Make sure you meet the minimum requirements, such as income level and age.

Most importantly, before submitting the application, brush up on your credit history and pay all financial obligations on time for a minimum of six months (the longer the better!). Please note that even if you do not apply for a financial product, payment must be made on time. This increases the chance that the bank will assess your application positively in the future.

Your credit report allows banks to view your financial history for up to six months. So make sure your credit reports are updated from time to time and contact your credit bureau if you need to update or change them.

If you have missed or missed payments in the months prior to applying for a loan, there is a good chance that the bank will reject your loan application due to an incorrect payment arrangement.

Want to learn more about what to do before applying for a credit card? Click the link below!

3 requirements to meet before applying for a credit card


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