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Last Updated on July 9, 2021 by Chin Yi Xuan

Fixed Deposit, or FD, has always been people’s go-to way to save or deposit extra cash. The problem is, it locks your money in for a long period of time, or requires a high initial deposit to start with.

In this article, let’s look into Versa, a great alternative to FD in Malaysia. Personally, I’ve been using Versa since March, and in this post, let’s explore if Versa is for you! 

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Highlights of Versa

Established in 2021, Versa is a digital cash management platform that provides users competitive returns like FD, but without the troublesome restrictions:

  • Regulated: Versa is regulated by the Securities Commission (SC) of Malaysia.
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  • Competitive Return: Through Versa, users can earn up to 2.4% interest per annum, which is on-par with the rates of Fixed Deposit (FD).
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  • Low Risk: The underlying fund of Versa is the Affin Hwang Enhanced Deposit Fund. It is a money market fund that invests users’ money in highly liquid & low-risk cash instruments.
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  • Flexible & Low Barrier of Entry: Malaysians aged 18 and above can start saving or investing via Versa from as low as RM1. Withdraw anytime without being charged penalty fees.

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How does Versa work?

So, how exactly is Versa able to deliver returns that are on-par with FD?

All of this is possible because Versa helps invest users’ cash into money market funds (MMF). MMFs are funds that invest in Fixed Deposits and highly liquid, short-term cash equivalent instruments called Money Market Instruments.

Essentially, Money Market Instruments are short-term debts issued by banks in order to accumulate short-term cash-pile to make up for the shortfall in their daily deposit reserve. Simply put, MMFs are lending money to banks when they buy these Money Market Instruments.  

These instruments are relatively low-risk as they are backed by the banks. Moreover, they are highly liquid with short maturity periods. Through regular redemption of matured Money Market Instruments, it allows MMF to provide a similar rate to FDs without having to lock up users’ capital. 

For Versa, the underlying MMF that they invest in is the Affin Hwang’s Enhanced Deposit Fund. It is a low-risk MMF by Affin Hwang Asset Management.

In short, through Versa, you can earn a similar rate to FD through low-risk MMF without having to lock up your funds, unlike conventional FDs. It is a great choice if you are looking for a competitive and flexible alternative to FDs.

Versa Homepage
Versa is a new digital cash management app that gives competitive returns on par with FDs. (Source: Versa’s website)

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Is Versa Safe to Use?

When it comes to regulation, Versa is regulated by the Securities Commission (SC) of Malaysia. This ensures that Versa is always operating in Malaysia as per the guideline from the local authority. 

As for the safety of funds, the cash deposits from users are held by a third party (trustee), which is HSBC (Malaysia) Trustee. In other words, your deposits to Versa are separate from Versa’s company finances. As such, this ensures no deposits can be used for fraudulent purposes and you will always have full access and claim to them no matter what happens to Versa.

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Versa Fees & Charges

As a digital cash management platform, Versa does not charge a fee on users. That said, the underlying MMF, Affin Hwang’s Enhanced Deposit Fund, do charge reasonable annual fees, as shown below:

% per annum
Approximate Fund returns per annum (Before fees) 2.40%
Management fee per annum -0.30%
Trustee fee per annum -0.05%
Net returns per annum* 2.1%

*Note: Net return may fluctuate based on the fund’s performance

Next question: Are there any fees on fund withdrawal via Versa?

Unlike FDs, there are no charges when you withdraw your funds from Versa. Withdrawals are expected to be reflected within 1-2 business days depending on the time of withdrawal (ie. before or after 2:30pm during business days).

At this point, perhaps a question that you have in mind is “So how does Versa make money?”. From how I see it, Versa is most likely going to expand beyond their current offering in the future. As such, it is logical that Versa focuses more on user acquisition right now in preparation for their plans in the near future. Regardless, I see this as a win for everyday investors like you and me!

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4 things I like about Versa

#1 Performance on par to conventional Fixed Deposits (FDs)

Through Versa, interests are compounded daily and interest payout is made every 2 weeks, which is re-invested into user’s fund.

All of this combined, through its underlying Affin Hwang Enhanced Deposit Fund, Versa projects about 2.4% return per annum (before fees) for users.

Versa fund return
Versa enables users to get return that is on-par with FDs. (Source: Versa App)

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#2 Flexible & Low barrier of entry

2 amazing features about Versa are:

  1. Low barrier of entry: You can start investing or saving with Versa from as low as RM1. Even better, using my exclusive referral code NMLXVERSA, you can get RM10 credited into your Versa account when you make a minimum deposit of RM100!
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  2. Flexible: There are no charges to open a Versa account. In addition, you can withdraw your funds anytime and there are no fees on withdrawal.

Combined, both these features make a compelling edge against conventional FDs. Reason being, FDs usually have higher minimum deposits & they tend to lock in users for a period of time (and charge a penalty for early withdrawals).

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#3 Earn Overnight Interest

A unique feature that I like about Versa is the ability to earn overnight interest.

Typically, for most financial/investing services, your money only gets invested or earns interest the moment your deposits are completely processed. So, let’s say you initiate your deposit during the weekend or public holidays, chances are things will only get rolling during the following business day.

With Versa, you earn overnight interest whenever the time gap between your deposit and the time needed for Versa to process the deposit takes 24 hours or more. This is common when you make deposits on a Friday after 2:30pm (Versa’s cut-off time), or during the weekends or a long public holiday.

Versa Overnight Interest
Versa’s enables users to earn overnight interest if a deposit requires 24 hours or longer to be processed. (Source: Versa app)

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#4 Simple & clean user experience (suitable even for my retired mom!)

Perhaps my favorite experience with Versa is their simple and clean user interface.

As a simple digital cash management platform, I enjoy the design of the app that clearly shows the capital invested and payout.

In fact, when my retired mom was looking for a better FD alternative to save her idle cash, I recommended Versa without hesitation. This is because I know she can totally navigate the app with clarity & confidence.

Versa UI 2
Versa provides a simple and intuitive user experience that anyone can understand easily.

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Risks + What You Need to Know Before Investing in Versa

In this part, let’s look at 3 things that you need to be aware of while investing your money with Versa:

  1. Market risk

While being a relatively stable investment, investing in Money Market Fund (MMF) via Versa still presents exposure to market risk.

One such risk is the fluctuation in interest rate. As an example, if Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) increases interest rate, MMF is likely going to generate higher returns. On the flip side, if BNM reduces interest rate, it’ll also affect the returns of MMF as a result. 

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  1. Not protected by PIDM

While investing in Versa, it is important to remember that your fund is not protected by Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM).

PIDM is an organization that protects deposits kept in banks and financial institutions that are a member of PIDM. Conventional bank FDs are usually protected by PIDM.

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  1. Not shariah-compliant

In addition, Versa’s underlying MMF, Affin Hwang Enhanced Deposit Fund is not shariah compliant.

Hence, this is something that you need to be aware of prior to investing with Versa.

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Improvement: ONE Feature Versa HAS to Add

As a Versa user myself (also having opened an account for my mom), there is one handy feature that I think Versa lacks: Automatic Scheduled Transfer.

Being a digital cash management platform, I think having the convenience for users to automate their deposits every week/month should be a fundamental feature.

While I enjoy using Versa, I think this improvement will make Versa a more complete financial app.

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Eligibility + Is Versa for You?

Versa is open to Malaysian citizens who are 18 years old and above with an NRIC/MyKad. This means that even young Malaysian adults can start building good financial habits by saving/investing from their phones – neat!

That said, is Versa for you?

To answer this question, it is best to first know what Versa is NOT:

  • Versa does not invest in stocks/equities (ie. Higher risk assets). Hence, do not expect mutual fund/robo-advisors-like returns.
  • Versa does not guarantee returns. Even though it invests in low-risk MMF, returns are still subjected to market fluctuation.

Hence, in my opinion, Versa is great for:

  1. People looking for a flexible alternative to FD & typical savings account for general savings
  2. People looking to save for a specific goal (eg. house, car, wedding)
  3. People with extra cash and want to save it for the short-term

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Versa Referral Code: NMLXVERSA

In collaboration with Versa, No Money Lah is bringing an exclusive deal for new users that are keen to start saving or investing with Versa!

Use my dedicated referral code – NMLXVERSA, and you will get RM10 credited into your Versa account* when you successfully make a minimum deposit of RM100 or more. That’s an instant 10% return on your investment.

This exclusive deal is valid ONLY for the first 200 eligible No Money Lah readers that apply this referral code.

*Note: As Versa’s system is driven manually, cut-off dates are set on every 15th and 30th of the month to extract users’ data to verify their eligibility for RM10 account-opening promo. RM10 credits will be made in 7-14 business days upon verification. You’ll receive an email by Versa upon successful transaction of the RM10 credits.

Open Your Versa Account HERE.

VERSA Referral Code
Use my referral code NMLXVERSA for exclusive account-opening reward!

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How to open a Versa Account

Creating a Versa account is simple and straightforward:

Step 1: Click HERE to install the Versa app.

Step 2: Start your account opening process by keying in the necessary details such as a new display name, email address, and password. Remember to apply referral code NMLXVERSA for an exclusive RM10 account-opening reward!

Versa Account opening
Versa Account Opening process is simple & straightforward

Step 3: You’ll go through a simple identification process where you’ll be asked to verify your mobile number, IC, and personal details. This is a required process by the regulators to make sure it’s the real you that’s opening an account.

Step 4: It’ll take about 2-3 business days to verify your account. Once that’s done, you can start investing in Versa by making your first deposit!

Versa Deposit
Once your account has been verified, you can start depositing funds to Versa!

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Versa vs StashAway Simple

In terms of offering, Versa’s closest competitor is certainly StashAway Simple. Both offer users flexible and low barrier access to MMF that pays competitive FD-like rates.

I think this comparison deserves a full article on its own so I’ll attach a link here (it’s up!) when I come out with a comparison article real soon! 

Personally, I use both Versa and StashAway Simple and I am happy with both of them as an alternative to FD (I think you will, too!).

READ: The Ultimate FD-Killer Showdown: StashAway Simple vs Versa vs TNG Go+ vs BEST Invest!

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No Money Lah’s Verdict

So there you have it, my review on Versa! If you are looking for an FD alternative to invest/save your cash, Versa is a platform that I can wholeheartedly recommend you to try.  

Personally, I enjoyed using the platform and I think you will, too! 


Disclaimers

Investment in a money market fund is not the same as placement in a deposit with a financial institution. There are risks involved and investors should consult a financial planner before making any investment decisions.

This post contains affiliate links/code that afford No Money Lah a small amount of commission (and help support the blog) should you sign up through my affiliate link/code.

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Chin Yi Xuan

Hi there! I am Yi Xuan. I am a writer, personal finance & REIT enthusiast, and a developing trader with the goal to become a full-time funded trader. Every week, I write about my personal learnings & discovery about life, money, and the market.

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