financial tools
Money Management

13 Types of Financial Tools I Personally Use (How About You?)

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The other day I was listing out all the financial tools that I personally use for money management in my notebook, and the list got kinda long.

I did that list because (1) it’s good to know exactly what I have and what I use it for and (2) I don’t want to accidentally forgot about an account, which happens more often than you’d think (that’s why there’s over RM5.77 billion in unclaimed money???).

So here you go – an article compiling all the financial tools I use for my own money management. Please don’t @ me if any of them sucks for you – they’re just the best option for my situation right now – I’m not loyal to any of them and happy to switch to better solutions as and when it suits me. Also please don’t take anything here as investment advice.

The financial tools are arranged in this order:

  1. Bank account
  2. Credit cards
  3. Debit cards
  4. Prepay cards
  5. E-wallets
  6. International money transfers/payments
  7. Investment
  8. Retirement
  9. Insurance
  10. Estate-planning
  11. Accounting
  12. Budgeting app
  13. Shopping

#1 – Bank Account

Primary bank: Maybank.

I have 3 savings account in there: (1) for daily use, (2) for work/business-related transactions, and (3) the one which I’m too lazy to close down. I might repurpose the last one and earmark it for travel savings or something, let’s see.

Secondary bank: CIMB. Only one account. I only add money to this account if I need to pay off my CIMB credit card.

IMPORTANT: I did not open accounts at both banks by choice. I ended up with Maybank because my parents opened up a Maybank Yippee account for me when I was in primary school, and ended up with CIMB because my university required me to have a CIMB bank account to receive PTPTN money.

I’d say I’m fairly happy with them, but always wondered how different the experience would be with other banks.

#2 – Credit cards

I’m a big fan of credit card as financial tool – love the cashback, points and other perks.

Credit card #1: Maybank2 Gold Card Amex card. Only for personal use.

Credit card #2: Maybank2 Gold Card Mastercard. Only for business-related expenses. Credit card #1 and #2 came together as a set.

Credit card #3: CIMB Cash Rebate Platinum Mastercard. Backup credit card.

I’m biased, but the Maybank 2 Gold Cards mentioned above is an excellent starter credit card.

Related:Β Best Credit Cards in Malaysia: 5 Maybank Cards You Recommended

#3 – Debit cards

Debit card #1: Maybank Visa debit card.

Debit card #2: CIMB Mastercard debit card.

I withdraw ~RM500 in cash every so often just to be safe. We’re not quite a true cashless society yet.

#4 – Prepay cards

Like many of you, I use Touch N Go cards. Used to have a few of them until I lost all but one. The one I use now is the MyNews-branded one and it’s good – no RM0.50 charge for topups made at MyNews stores.

Edit: I dug out the Twitter thread about the time I lost my TnG card. Thanks everyone who advised ways to recover the lost amount (hint: keep the receipts, register the serial number)

I also enjoy using BigPay cards for both international travel and online shopping. It’s especially handy for signing up for recurring payment that you DON’T want to coninue paying – just freeze the card when not it use and the payments will simply not go through.

Obligatory referral code: INLALP7ZLE (or click direct link in linktr.ee/surayaror)

#5 – E-wallets

Obviously, I have the Big Three: Grab, TnG e-wallet and Boost

I also use other e-wallets as and when it suits me. In terms of e-wallets, we’re quite spoilt for choice actually.

Related: Best E-Wallets in Malaysia: Comparing 38 E-Wallets in 7 Categories

#6 – International money transfers/payments

(I have this because I sometimes work with international clients)

To receive money: Paypal and Payoneer. The former is practical (it’s integrated everywhere) but the latter is the better deal to receive payments – they have lower withdrawal fees.

I also use crypto wallets to receive payments in crypto. Working for crypto is how I accumulate most of my stash actually. Related:Β 6 Ways to Get Bitcoin for Free (for People Bullish on Bitcoin Price)

#7 – Investments

(I’m going to keep this section short and sweet. Instead of justifying each of them, here’s the best investments in Malaysia. I also prefer Shariah-compliant investments)

Mutual fund/Unit trust: ASB (took RM50k ASB loan when I was 23); Tabung Haji, Best Invest

Roboadvisor/ETFs: Wahed Invest (I like that it includes US stocks; use code ‘surbin1’ to ger RM5 upon opening new account); MIDF Invest (same; got it for the exposure to US stocks market too. I got the S&P 500 Shariah).

Gold: HelloGold (primary; digital), Maybank Gold Investment Account (secondary; digital) and gold jewellery (not considered investment, but rather sentimental pieces; physical).

Related:

Crypto: Bitcoin, Ether, and a few more. Divided across a bunch of accounts, including cold wallet and multiple exchanges

Related:

P2P Financing: Funding Societies. Tbh I like this investment and the profit is decent but I’m trying to phase this out as it’s my only non-Shariah compliant investment left

Related: I Asked Hard Questions to the CEO of Funding Societies Malaysia

#8 – Retirement

Unit trust: Like many of you, I have EPF/KWSP. I also contribute to Private Retire Scheme ( via Fundsupermart). I consider these two the best investments in Malaysia and the ones you have to do before everything else.

#9 – Insurance

Medical card: AIA Public Takaful. It’s a stand-alone medical card, without investment link. I heard my particular medical card was discontinued but they will still honour existing policy holders so don’t ask me where to get it.

Personal accident: EZCover Takaful by MAA Takaful. Found and applied for it online.

Critical illness: Takaful Term 80 by Zurich Takaful. Recommended by my financial planner

Please note that all of my insurances is taken on my specific requirements and needs, which may be different than yours. How to get the best one for you? Well, you could (1) find insurance agents and let them recommend the best plan based on your budget, (2) hire a financial planner (best option IMHO; but need to pay), or (3) do DIY research (start with below articles)

Related:

#10 – Estate-Planning

Wasiat, Hibah and Trust: Working on it! I need to do this because I’m not a big fan of faraid aka Islamic inheritance laws. It’s meant to be fair, but often not during implementation.

Related: Wasiat, Hibah, Trust: 3 Tools to Circumvent Faraid / Islamic Inheritance Laws in Malaysia

I also want to set up Hibah Takaful soon. Imagine only paying RM50 or so per month to leave behind 6-figures to loved ones.

#11- Accounting

Accounting software: Financio (I mainly use this to generate invoices; probably under-using my account tbh) and Google Sheets to record Business Income and Expenses.

#12 – Budgeting app

I use Money Lover, the expense-teacking app. The graphs in my monthly budget updates all came from this app πŸ™‚

Related:Β How Expense Tracking Looks Like (As Someone Who Doesn’t Budget)

#13 – Shopping

I pretty much never buy online without checking Shopback first.

Related:Β Shopback Malaysia Review & Tips for Shopping Enthusiasts

That turned out to be a long list of financial tools..

That was a long list of financial tools, wasn’t it? I’m tired, but glad that I wrote all of that down.

A few things that are immediately clear:

  1. Wow I use a lot of different companies for different things. Not surprising – different companies specialise in different things. Thank goodness I use a password manager to keep track of all my passwords, or I’d be overwhelmed and paranoid over security!
  2. These are not theΒ only financial tools, products and services I’ve tried. I have abandoned some which didn’t impress during the experimentation process. If I include those, this list would easily be at least twice as long!

What I want to know now is – which financial tools do you use? Is it similar to mine? Share in the comments, I’m really curious to find out!


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18 Comments

  1. I used excel sheets to track my expenses for 5 years but end of last year I purchased monefy app. I’ts actually free but I want to add categories etc so need to buy the full version. I have 1 credit card and 3 bank accounts, BIMB – my parents opened one for me and use it for uni registration fees payment, CIMB – they have a branch at my uni and UOB – for salary. All 3 comes with a debit card but I usually use UOB/BIMB because I can collect points and redeem stuff. Downloaded fave after reading RoR and it’s really helpful but I hate that the cashbacks comes with expiry date. Haven’t used e-wallets. Only use fave to buy deals πŸ˜…. I wanted to try P2P financing but still calculating my risks. Thanks for the many many money tips and looking forward for more ☺️✌🏻

    1. Hi Nadhirah,

      Thanks for sharing your system here! If you use Fave, use Boost too – you can pay with Boost via Fave and then get shake rewards = extra savings πŸ˜›

  2. Wow that’s a very extensive breakdown and it’s a really good one-stop post to visit for quick references πŸ˜€ Thanks Suraya!
    For myself, I’ll just list down some of mine that I thought it’s good for sharing is caring πŸ™‚

    * Bank account – Check out CIMB AirAsia Savers account if you’re a frequent AA flyer, they offer quarterly BIG Point rewards
    * Credit cards – Public Bank Quantum Master and Visa, gives both cash back (up to RM30 each month for each card) and points (which I also convert into AA BIG Points hehe)
    * E-wallets – Gotta mention Fave as well, it has enabled me to only withdraw RM300 a month from ATM (reluctantly) and earn AA BIG Points for every transaction whether it’s Fave Deals or Fave Pay
    * International money transfers/payments – Will just put Bigpay card here, saves me lots of transaction fees whenever I make overseas payments and travelling abroad.

    1. Hi Denise,

      Thanks for the kind words, and your own sharing! Looks like you have a good system that complements your travelling lifestyle well!

  3. Thanks for sharing! Here is the list of tools I’m using:

    πŸ‘‰ Bank accounts: Standard Chartered Just One Current and Saving (based on the recommendation in one of your post), Public Bank
    πŸ‘‰ Credit card: Public Bank Quantum VISA and Mastercard
    πŸ‘‰ E-Wallet: GrabPay (I don’t like having too many of them, and I’m a heavy Grab Car user)
    πŸ‘‰ International transfer: TransferWise (highly recommended, this has the lowest fees by far)
    πŸ‘‰ Retirement: Self-contributing to EPF and PRS (for tax deduction)
    πŸ‘‰ Investment: StashAway and FundingSocieties
    πŸ‘‰ Budgeting: YNAB aka You Need A Budget (the best budgeting app by far)

    To make it manageable, my default is always to avoid new tools, accounts, and investment vehicles unless it’s necessary after thorough research and due diligence.

  4. Hi Suraya, I love your articles on everything finances and money. I am such a noob in this area and i hope to be more aware and take stock how i should invest my own money instead of relying on financial planner. i have started to use some budgeting apps and took note of some of your advices. Disclaimer noted..

    I have a question .. how to organise your investment and insurance so thats its clear.. i have a family that i buy for them as well so its kind of messy where the money goes… Can you advice any app or planner?

    tq

    1. Hi Mei,

      Thanks for the kind words, they make me happy πŸ™‚

      Re: your question – mine is a combination of apps+notebooks+folders (to keep insurance policies)+ gdrive

      I would suggest listing all of the financial products and services you have in your notebook first, then figure out a way to make them easily accessible. For some, that’s an area in the bookshelf dedicated for all of family finances. For others, it’s a google drive that everyone can access

      It’s a great question. I’ll ask around the community and see how they do it. Might turn it into an article!

  5. Hi Suraya,

    You’re holding 3 saving accounts at the same bank – do they allow you to?

    BTW, you use saving account for work/business related transactions? Why not current account?

    1. Hey ongtrovert (lol what a name)

      Yes, apparently so. I could view all three (four including MAE account) in my Maybank dashboard

  6. Hi Suraya

    That’s long list worth sharing. I’m adding Bigpay Debit Card in my list also for the matter of convenience for travel abroad since their forex conversion way more cheaper than usual credit card. Bigpay used forex from MasterCard without any fee added as normal bank. Sometime cheaper or close to rate given by physical money changer. So I do no need to carry much cash when travelling.I could also top up Bigpay using CC when oversea since I still received TAC trough my Malaysia h/phone

    For daily routine bills, I shall use CIMB CC (Maybank CC has stop given point for cash top up) to top up Bigpay and used Bigpay to top up eWallet and use eWallet for bill payment. So I shall get CIMB CC point, Bigpay point and eWallet point.

    Those point can be converted to various freebies like cash, AirAsia
    Ticket or Fave voucher

    Although quite hassle, at least got something when making payment mandatory bills such as PTPTN, Water, Telephone etc…

    πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜„πŸ˜ƒ

  7. About the same, longer in some parts, shorter in others. Some, very similar.

    For credit cards, definitely more but I use the extra ones for cash back purpose – it’s free money on no actual spending.

    Apps – Revolut is good. They have expanded to Singapore. Waiting for it to come to Malaysia. I got it when I was in UK. Makes travelling overseas really easy. I don’t even go to money changer and just withdraw at ATM there or just pay with the physical card (I didn’t change any Swedish Kroner when in Sweden – everything was paid by card).

    Fundsupermart is useful – for those who don’t know yet, you can withdraw EPF money for UT investment using this platform also.

    Despite various apps, I find I prefer good old Excel, now Google Sheets cause I am too kedekut to pay for Office.

  8. Hi Suraya, may i know what is the basic of salary you think is suitable to apply for credit card? and do you think it is wise to live with no credit card nowadays?

    1. Hi Razliqah,

      Different cards have different basic salary requirement. Some RM2k, some RM3k, some RM5k, some RM10k, and more! You can compare some of them in here: https://ringgitohringgit.com/shopping/best-credit-cards-in-malaysia/

      As for living without credit card. Personally, I think people who are financially responsible should get at least one. It’s great for emergencies, at least. For example, say you budget well and have 1 month salary in your bank account and the rest in various investments. Then suddenly something happen and you need say 2 months salary BY END OF THE DAY (like hospitalisation or whatever). Withdrawing money from investments may take time. In these situations, its undeniably useful

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