Everyone has their own wallet app now, and even an airline has joined in the fun. BigPay is AirAsia’s free wallet app that comes with its own card, and it launched in Singapore a couple of months ago.
Like every other wallet app before it, BigPay tries to market itself as the harbinger of digital payment convenience: send money easily to your friends, make payments with the BigPay card, and track your expenses all on your smartphone… What makes BigPay useful? Read on to find out 😉
Overseas payments and transfer
On top of the usual features one would expect from a digital wallet, BigPay allows you to spend in 150 supported currencies without transaction fees at Visa’s exchange rate, and also allows you to withdraw money from overseas Via, Maestro, or Cirrus ATMs.
It also allows you to make international bank transfers at what it says to be competitive transfer rates. Frankly, this is a bit out of my wheelhouse so I can’t speak to the attractiveness of its features or rates, but it’s another solution you can consider if overseas transfers are something you do often.
Analytics & rewards
The app does look like it has a nifty overview interface for your spending that is more fleshed out than other wallet apps, and I suppose there are money geeks who would appreciate something like that to track their monthly expenses.
I’m personally quite ambivalent about a feature like this. Such a feature would be useful only if all my spend is done through this, and that is simply not going to happen for rewards optimisers like myself.
Speaking of rewards, the reward for spending on this card seems pretty abysmal: it gives 1 BIG points for every $5 spent (payments only; transfers are not counted). Disclaimer: I’m not very familiar with AirAsia’s frequent flyer programme and am very open to correction, but it seems that as much as 12,500 BIG points are required for a one-way trip to Bangkok. Do correct me if I’m wrong here, but $62,500 of spend for a single-leg flight to a nearby destination seems like an insanely bad deal.
Update March 2021: You can redeem $1 for every 405 BIG Points you have on Air Asia’s meal delivery service.
This begs the question: why would anyone want to download yet another app? Here are a few compelling reasons:
$5 on sign up, $5 for every friend you refer
I love sign-up gifts, and readers of this site seem to do too. Even better is a referral programme where you and your friend both get rewarded for doing something simple like downloading an app.
We’ll both get $5 credited to our BigPay wallet when you complete the sign-up process by activating the physical card that’d arrive in your mail. You will need to top up an initial $20, but that’s not much of an issue because you can easily make use of the funds inside given its… other features.
After that, you can refer your friends for $5 each!
Withdraw your balance to bank account
An almost extinct feature in digital wallets, BigPay allows you to withdraw your balance in cash to your bank account. The catch is that it’s limited to $100 a day, $300 a month, and you have to pay $1 each time as a withdrawal fee.
Plays well with other prepaid cards… for now
BigPay also plays nice with other prepaid cards, which is also something that is increasing rare. You can use your Grab Card to top up your BigPay wallet, which is useful even if it doesn’t accord you with Grab points because you would hopefully have earned some rewards on your Grab top-up.
I have taken my role as a Razer Card beta tester rather seriously, and it currently works quite well with Big Pay. There are few reports from my Telegram chat group that the beta programme has expanded beyond the initial 1,337 users, and you may wish to sign up for a RazerPay account (use code SETH88 for $1 upon account verification) and register your interest for the beta programme.
This of course, provides certain pathways for more intrepid rewards chasers, and as always, I would encourage people to subscribe to the Telegram channel and join the chat group for more exclusive tips and hacks that are not so publicly shared.
There are some things that get annoying as they increase in number: video streaming services, COVID-19 cases, and school kids on a bus. I’m sure that some might disagree, but I’m going to say that wallet apps aren’t really one of them. Each of them tries to stand out by offering unique features, and I must say BigPay is unique enough to warrant a recommendation.
- Works with some prepaid cards (at the moment)
- Withdrawal option
- Pretty decent app
- Low withdrawal amount of $100 per day; $300 per month
- Rewards on its spending seems paltry
- Its usefulness would greatly reduce if some of its features are blocked, and that seems rather likely
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