StashAway Simple, Versa And Touch ‘n Go eWallet GO+ Cash Management Comparison
Fixed deposits can be safe and predictable, but they demand a lot in return. To get the best rates, you may need to deposit thousands of ringgit and lock in your money for a few years. If you step down before the end of your term, you could get an interest rate penalty. In addition, interest rates have fallen in recent years – the average six-month deposit rate is only around 1.8% per annum.
On the rise, a few digital platforms are now offering alternatives in the form of cash management solutions. These can have rates of return equal to or greater than those of fixed deposits, without any interest penalty or lock-in period.
In Malaysia, the robo advisor StashAway platform offers StashAway Simple, a cash management portfolio. There’s also Versa, which has partnered with Affin Hwang to launch its digital cash management platform.
And then there is the newly launched GO + by Touch ‘n Go. While GO + presents itself as an eWallet investment solution instead of a cash management solution, we have included it in this comparison because it also allows users to invest digitally in money market funds.
So how do these platforms work, is it worth the money to put the money into and which platform should you choose? Here’s what you need to know.
How do they generate interest returns?
These platforms invest your deposits in money market funds, which include short-term debt that is loaned to banks and government. These funds also hold bank deposits. There is little risk involved as they invest in high quality debt securities which mature quickly.
What are the advantages?
- No locking. Your interest returns are calculated daily, so you don’t need to deposit your money for a specific length of time to get the best interest rates (like with term deposits). You can withdraw at any time without incurring interest penalties.
- Easy access. Signing up for these platforms takes a few minutes. It is a convenient way to invest in money market funds.
- Potentially higher returns. Money market funds can potentially generate higher returns than term deposits.
- Low minimum deposit. Conventional savings or investment products generally require a minimum deposit. For example, you can only get the best interest rates with fixed savings or deposit accounts if you can invest a minimum of a few thousand ringgit. Unit trust funds typically require an initial investment of RM1,000. But with cash management platforms, there are no laddered interest rates and minimum deposits can be as low as RM1.
What are the disadvantages?
- Withdrawal takes time. Withdrawing your money from a savings account or fixed deposit is instant. But with these platforms, withdrawal can take a day or more.
- No PIDM protection. Your bank deposits (for example in savings accounts, current accounts and term deposits) are automatically protected by Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM). In the unlikely event that your bank goes bankrupt, PIDM will reimburse you with the money you deposited, up to a maximum of RM250,000. However, any money deposited on these cash management platforms is not protected by PIDM.
- Projected returns may change. Although these platforms show a projected annual return, your actual returns depend on the underlying money market fund. If the fund underperforms, the platform may change the projected return.
Can I invest directly in money market funds?
At this point, you might be wondering: can’t you invest directly in money market funds, without going through these platforms?
Well, you can.
You can invest in money market unit trusts through your bank, fund management institutions, or sites like Fundsupermart (also with no subscription fees). But going through a cash management platform has a few advantages:
- Potential discount on fees. The underlying money market fund may offer management fee discounts to the platform, which may be passed on to you.
- Convenient access. Investing in unit trust funds can usually take days to process a transaction. But with these platforms signing up and investing is potentially faster.
- Potentially faster processing. When you sell trust units through conventional platforms, it may take a few business days for the money to be deposited into your account. But some cash management platforms may allow you to receive your funds within one business day.
What happens if these platforms close?
When you make a deposit on one of these platforms, they will not actually hold your money. Instead, your funds are kept in a trust account owned by a third party company. So if the platform closes, you will still have access to your money.
Whenever you invest, make sure that the platform is licensed by the Securities Commission so that you know it is following the proper procedures when it comes to getting your money back.
StashAway Simple vs Versa vs GO + comparison
Here’s how these platforms compare at a glance:
|Touch ‘n Go eWallet GO +||StashAway Simple||Versa|
|Underlying fund||Principal e-Cash Fund||Eastspring Investments Islamic Income Fund||Affin Hwang Enhanced Trust Fund|
|Fund management fees pa||Up to 0.45%||About. 0.165%||0.30%|
|Trustee fees pa||Up to 0.03%||0.05%|
|Projected returns pa *||1.50%||2.4%||Between 2.0% and 2.1%; up to 2.4%|
|Withdrawal processing time||Touch ‘n Go e-wallet: instant|
To the bank account: within 1 working day if the request is submitted before 4 p.m.
|3 to 4 working days||Within one working day if the request is submitted before 2:30 p.m.|
|Sharia Compliant||No, but a Sharia-compliant solution is underway||Yes||No|
* Net returns after covering fund expenses; accurate at time of writing but may vary daily
Read on for more information on each platform.
Touch ‘n Go eWallet GO +
If you are already a Touch ‘n Go e-wallet user, signing up for GO + is easy. Simply launch the eWallet app and click on the GO + icon.
You can deposit funds from your eWallet balance or from your bank account. Withdrawing your eWallet balance is instantaneous, while your withdrawal to your bank account will take at least one business day. If your e-wallet balance is insufficient to make a payment, the app’s Quick Reload Payment feature which is enabled by default can automatically withdraw the exact amount from GO + to complete the payment.
But don’t expect high returns: at the time of writing, its current projected interest rate is 1.5% per annum (although it varies daily). This is lower than the average 6 month fixed deposit rate. If you put on an RM100 or more, that could mean getting a return of less than a fraction of a cent per day. However, it is a convenient way to get returns on your dormant e-wallet balances, which would otherwise stay there anyway.
GO + ‘s underlying fund is the Principal e-Cash Fund, which launched on March 15 of this year. It has management fees and trustee fees of 0.45% and 0.03%, which is higher than the fund fees of other cash management platforms.
Currently, you can only hold a balance of up to RM9,500. There is also an overall limit of RM 5 billion – this means that if the total GO + balances of all customers reach RM 5 billion, you will no longer be able to deposit funds into GO +.
++ Get feedback on dormant e-wallet balances
++ Can be automatically withdrawn for payments
++ Withdrawal within one working day
– Projected returns lower than those of other platforms
– Higher fund fees compared to other platforms
– RM9,500 balance limit
StashAway Simple was launched last year, marketing itself as an alternative to fixed deposit.
Its underlying fund is the Eastspring Investments Islamic Income Fund. Here’s how he behaved over the past five years:
The fund has management fees and trustee fees of up to 0.25% and 0.04%. However, the fund transfers a 0.125% discount to StashAway, which is then passed on to you. After the discount, the net spend ratio is around 0.165% – far lower than other platforms.
Currently, StashAway is the only cash management solution in this comparison that is Shariah compliant.
On the downside, it takes three to four business days to process cash withdrawals. This can be inconvenient if you need quick access to cash.
++ Lower fund fees compared to other platforms
++ Sharia Compliant
– The withdrawal takes several working days
Versa promotes itself as a digital cash management platform offering interest rates comparable to term deposits.
Currently, its projected interest rate is between 2.0% and 2.1% and up to 2.4%. Like GO +, it has a relatively quick withdrawal processing time of less than a business day.
Its underlying fund is the Affin Hwang Enhanced Deposit Fund. Here’s how he behaved over the past five years:
The fund has management fees and trustee fees of up to 0.50% and 0.05%. But when you invest through Versa, you only pay 0.30% and 0.05%. This is lower than the underlying fund fee of GO +, but still higher than that of StashAway.
++ Withdrawal within one working day
– Higher fund fees than StashAway
An alternative to conventional savings
These platforms may not offer exciting returns like, for example, stocks or cryptocurrencies. But they help you beat inflation and get more returns on your savings without incurring too much risk, making them an attractive alternative to conventional savings instruments like term deposits.
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