Last Updated on July 16, 2021 by Chin Yi Xuan

Fixed Deposit (FD) has always been the go-to place for many Malaysians to save their cash. However, most FDs require a high deposit, and they lock in your money for a long time (+charges a penalty on early withdrawal).

With product innovations in the financial industry, we are seeing the emerging of more flexible alternatives to FD over the past year. In this article, let’s compare StashAway Simple, Versa, TNG Go+, and BEST Invest – the top 4 FD-killers available!   

p.s. This is a comprehensive comparison, so feel free to use the menu below to skip to the part you are interested in reading, enjoy! 

 

Overview of StashAway Simple, Versa, TNG Go+ & BEST Invest

  • StashAway Simple is a cash management offering from well-known robo-advisor, StashAway. It is part of the offering within the StashAway investment app. Check out my in-depth review of StashAway Simple.
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  • Versa is a newly launched pure cash management app in 2021. Check out my detailed review of Versa.
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  • Go+ (GoPlus) is a newly introduced cash management feature in TNG e-Wallet in 2021. Go+ allows users to earn interest on their deposits with TNG e-Wallet.
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  • BIMB Dana Al-Fakhim is a money market fund offered within the BEST Invest app by BIMB Investment. BIMB Investment is a subsidiary of Bank Islam.

What is Money Market Fund?

Money market funds (MMF) are funds that invest in a mix of (a) Fixed Deposits, (b) bonds, and highly liquid, short-term cash equivalent instruments called (c) 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.

In short, through Simple/Versa/Go+/BEST Invest, you can earn a similar rate to FD through low-risk MMF without having to lock up your funds, unlike typical FDs. They are great options if you are looking for a competitive and flexible alternative to FDs.


Similarities: Simple, Versa, TNG Go+ & BEST Invest

What are the similarities or common traits when you place your money with these apps?

1. Regulated

All StashAway, Versa, Go+, and BEST Invest are regulated by the Securities Commission (SC) of Malaysia. This ensures that these services are always operating in Malaysia as per the guideline from the local authority.

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2. Flexible & Low barrier of entry

Generally, most FDs require a high minimum deposit to get started. Moreover, FDs lock in our funds for a period of time and charge a penalty for early withdrawal.

In contrast, every app in this article has a low minimum deposit from RM0 (Simple), RM1 (Versa), and RM10 (Go+ and BEST Invest). 

Furthermore, they do not lock in your funds as FD does. Meaning, you are free to deposit and withdraw anytime without penalty.

In short, with a small capital, anyone can start saving flexibly and enjoy rates that are on par with FD.

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3. Competitive returns to FD

As a whole, all 4 apps provide returns that are similar and/or competitive to traditional Fixed Deposits (FDs).

I will go through a detailed comparison in the next section, but safe to say they are all great alternatives to FDs.

One thing to be aware of, is none of them guarantee returns. Even though they invest in low-risk MMF, returns are still subjected to market fluctuation.

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4. Not protected by PIDM

Another thing to note is that none of the apps are protected under 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 FDs are usually protected by PIDM.


Comparison Part 1: Performance of the underlying Money Market Funds 

In this section, let’s compare the differences between each app. I will assign a winner at the end of each section:

Each app has an underlying money market fund, namely:

  • AmIncome Fund for StashAway Simple
  • Affin Hwang Enhanced Deposit Fund for Versa
  • Principal e-Cash for TNG Go+ (p.s. not included in Part 1 as this is a newly established fund with no past data)
  • BIMB Dana Al-Fakhim for BEST Invest

Below, let’s compare the performance of the funds:

1a. 5-Year Performance (2016 – 2020)

StashAway Simple, Versa, and BEST Invest Underlying Fund 5-Year Performance
StashAway Simple, Versa, and BEST Invest Underlying Funds’ 5-Year Performance

From the chart above, we can see that all the funds generally move in the same trend. The volatile performance drop in 2020 is mainly due to the pandemic which triggered a steep drop in interest rate, and in turn impact the returns. 

As a whole, the difference in performance between each fund is minimal. That said, we can see that Versa’s underlying fund, Affin Hwang Enhanced Deposit Fund has been leading the pack for 4 out of 5 years in terms of returns.

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1b. 5-Year Annualized Return (2016 – 2020)

StashAway Simple, Versa, and BEST Invest Underlying Funds' 5-Year Annualized Return
StashAway Simple, Versa, and BEST Invest Underlying Funds’ 5-Year Annualized Return

Next, by generating the 5-year annualized return of these funds, you’ll be able to see the differences between each fund clearer.

Annualized return shows investors what they would earn if the annual return was compounded over a period of time (5 years, in this case).

From the comparison above, Affin Hwang Enhanced Deposit Fund (Versa) is the obvious leading fund in terms of annualized returns (3.41%).

Part 1 - Fund Performance Winner: Versa (Affin Hwang Enhanced Deposit Fund)

While not fully indicative of the future returns, Versa’s underlying fund did generate the best overall return over the past 5 years.

However, the differences, in my opinion, is minimal between funds. In the next sections, we’ll explore equally important aspects of these apps: Fees & User Experience.


Comparison Part 2: User Experience (Simple vs Versa vs Go+ vs BEST Invest)

In this section, we’ll explore the overall user experience of these apps, from fees, how long it takes to deposit and withdraw, and so on:

2a. Funds’ Fees & Projected Returns

In terms of fees, all apps do not charge platform fees to users. The only fee while using these apps are the annual fees (management + trustee fees) from the underlying money market funds.

Versa, in this case, has the lowest annual fees (0.35%) and projects a net annual return of 2.10% after fees.

In comparison, Simple has the highest annual fees (0.80%), but still projects the highest net annual return of 2.40% after fees. This estimate is possible partly due to the additional fees rebate that StashAway receives from AmFunds Management Bhd., though they do not reveal the exact rebate received.

On the other hand, Go+ has an annual fee of 0.48% but projects the lowest return of 1.47%.

All in all, if both Versa and Simple are able to deliver the projected returns, I think they are both decent choices to save your money.

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 VersaStashAway SimpleTNG Go+BIMB BEST Invest
Projected Net Annual Return after fees*2.10%2.40%1.43%N/A
Total Annual Fees**0.35%0.80%0.48%0.52%
*Accurate as of 9/7/2021. Projected rates are not guaranteed.
**Total Annual Fees = Annual Management Fee + Annual Trustee Fee

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2b. Interest Payout Frequency

All platforms generate & compound their interest daily. However, each of them reflects them differently:

In this context, Go+ reflects users’ earnings on a daily basis. Meaning, you’ll receive your interest payout everyday from Go+. This is followed by Versa (every 2 weeks), Simple (monthly), and BEST Invest (quarterly).

Personally, except for BEST Invest, I think Go+, Versa, and Simple have a reasonable payout frequency.   

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 VersaStashAway SimpleTNG Go+BIMB BEST Invest
Payout FrqeuencyEvery 2 weeksMonthlyDailyQuarterly

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2c. Deposits & Withdrawals

All 4 apps do not charge any fees on deposits and withdrawals. In addition, all of them have a low barrier for deposits, of which I think the differences are negligible.

As such, an important discussion here would be how fast we can receive our money in our bank account during a withdrawal. Of course, the earlier we can receive our fund, the better.

When it comes to speed, Versa and Go+ lead with 1-2 days withdrawal. Meanwhile, Simple is slightly behind with 3-4 days and BEST Invest has a pathetic 10 days wait.

Another less-talked about comparison would be minimum withdrawal amount. Versa has the highest minimum withdrawal amount of RM50, followed by Go + & BEST Invest (RM10). Meanwhile, Simple does not have such restriction in place.

In my opinion, there is no clear edge for neither one app in this comparison. That said, BEST Invest certainly has the least favorable conditions due to its long withdrawal time.

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 VersaStashAway SimpleTNG Go+BIMB BEST Invest
Minimum DepositRM1No minimum deposit (W)RM10RM10
Deposit Speed1-2 business days2 - 3 business daysImmediate (W)3 business days
Withdrawal Fees & SpeedNo, 1-2 business days (W)No, 3 - 4 business daysNo, 1-2 business days (W)No, 10 business days
Minimum Withdrawal AmountRM50No (W)RM10RM10

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2d. User-Friendliness

I enjoy using well-designed apps. For me, I genuinely enjoy using Versa and StashAway Simple as their navigation is straightforward and works as intended.

In particular, for cash management & saving purposes, Versa nailed it in terms of simplicity as it is a pure cash management app.
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2e. Others (Shariah-Compliance, Limit to account balance)

In this comparison, only BEST Invest is shariah-compliant while the rest do not come with such compliance.

Aside from that, Go+ comes with an RM9,500 maximum account balance limit. This makes it the most restrictive condition for users that intend to save via Go+.  

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Part 2 – User Experience Winner: Versa and StashAway Simple

In my opinion, Versa and Simple are the best when it comes to user experience. They are not perfect, but they are great for people that are serious about managing their finances.


Comparison Part 3: Special features

  • Investment integration (StashAway)

One thing I love with StashAway is its seamless savings (StashAway Simple) and investment (StashAway) integration.

So, let’s say you have RM50,000 in cash and would like to invest them. However, you do not want to invest the whole RM50,000 at once and would like to spread it over time (dollar-cost average).

Through the StashAway app, you can place your funds in Simple (low-risk + earn stable interest), then automate a weekly or monthly transfer from Simple to your main StashAway investment portfolio.

I think this is a brilliant feature from StashAway, which is one of the reasons why it is my favorite go-to robo-advisor at the moment. 

SA Simple Transfer from Simple to main Portfolio
Users can shift funds flexibly from Simple to their main StashAway investment portfolio.

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  • Earn Overnight Interest (Versa)

A unique feature of Versa is it allows you to earn interest even while your deposits are being processed.

In my opinion, this is Versa’s standout feature as a pure cash management platform compared to its competitors.

Versa Overnight Interest
Versa’s enables users to earn overnight interest if a deposit requires more than 24 hours to be processed.

READ: How does Versa’s Overnight Interest feature works?

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  • Spending and lifestyle integration (TNG Go+)

As an e-Wallet, I think TNG blends in everyday payment and lifestyle finances extremely well.

From payment, food delivery, movie & parking tickets to even insurance, I think the addition of Go+ makes TNG an all-round e-Wallet.

TNG Ewallet
TNG e-Wallet is a huge payment and lifestyle ecosystem for people’s everyday expenses & consumption.
Part 3 – Special Features Winner: StashAway Simple. 

Personally, I really like how StashAway integrates savings and investing into an app. This makes StashAway a highly versatile app beyond savings.

READ: StashAway Review: My go-to robo-advisor!


Verdict: Which FD alternative should you choose? 

Personally, I’ve been using all Versa, Simple, Go+, and BEST Invest. All 4 platforms are unique in their own way. Question is, which one should you use?

#1 Versa: For pure savings purposes

Versa as a pure cash management app offers a straightforward user experience. Its underlying low-risk money market fund is also a fantastic alternative to FD.

As a whole, if you are looking for a low-risk way to save your cash, I highly recommend Versa.

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#2 StashAway Simple: For savings & investing

StashAway is no doubt the leading robo-advisor in Malaysia. Simple, in this case, is more like StashAway’s offering to attract users to eventually use the main robo-advisor service down the line.

That said, I think Simple is an equally capable alternative to FD for savings purposes. With the seamless app integration, Simple is amazing for people that are looking to potentially invest their cash savings from Simple in the future.

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#3 TNG Go+: To earn interest on money that’ll be spent

Go+ is part of the extensive TNG e-Wallet ecosystem. As a business that actually motivates spending & consumption, I don’t think Go+ is the most suitable place for people to actually ‘save’ their cash.

In addition, the max RM9,500 cap is a huge restriction compared to other platforms.

Hence, I think Go+ is suitable for people to earn interest on the money that they have in their TNG e-wallet. In this context, I think TNG Go+ offers something that no other e-wallets can compare.

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#4 BEST Invest: If you need shariah-compliancy

BIMB Dana Al-Fakhim (BEST Invest) is the only shariah compliant fund among all.

While it is certainly not the best option, I think it still provides the benefits of low barrier of entry & flexibility to users looking for a shariah-compliant alternative to FD.

p.s. To be transparent, I have been using BEST Invest since 2020, and I’ll be shifting my money to Versa soon.

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EXCLUSIVE Promo codes/referral link (Versa, StashAway, Go+)

If you find this post useful, do consider using my promo codes/referral links to open your account(s)!

This will greatly help me in sustaining my blog and keep on working on quality content like this one: 

  1. Versa Referral Code: NMLXVERSA

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

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Open Your Versa Account HERE.

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

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  1. StashAway Referral Link:

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To be eligible for this deal, sign up for your account through my StashAway referral link HERE. (or HERE if you are from Singapore)

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  1. TNG Go+ Promo Code:

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TNG Go+ Referral Reward
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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/codes that afford No Money Lah a small amount of commission (and help support the blog) should you sign up through my affiliate link/code.