[BigPay Review] Save money with BigPay card! Best currency exchange rate!

What is BigPay?

BigPay, introduced by AirAsia, is a mobile app with a card. Basically, it is a Mastercard prepaid card that can be used at any store (local and overseas) that accepts Mastercard. It works like a debit card, so you need to top up/reload the card before you can use it as payment.

ZERO PROCESSING FEES ON AIRASIA!
So when you book flight on Air Asia, you do not need to pay for any processing fee when you use BigPay card. In addition, you can also get priority access to AirAsia promo! Woots woots~!
(Update: From October 2019, processing fee will not be charged for online banking/ other credit card)

– You can also do peer-to-peer transfer on BigPay app. Fast, easy and convenient.

– Account Service Fee RM2.50 per month for inactive account where there is no card transaction in a particular month. (Waived until further notice)

– ATM Withdrawal Fee
Local: RM6.00 per transaction/
Overseas: RM10.00 per transaction or 2% of withdrawal amount, whichever is higher. (For overseas, only RM10.00 will be charged until further notice)
*If you don’t have time to go to bank/money changer before your trip, you can top up your BigPay card and withdraw the money in local currency upon arrival at your travel destination.

– Enjoy real currency exchange rate with BigPay – no extra fees.
*Currency Conversion Fee (Applied when the purchase is effected in currencies other than Malaysian Ringgit) 1% + network charges
(Only charges by the network will be applied until further notice)

How to earn BIG points? (revised in September 2019)

– 1 BIG Point for every RM 10

Who can use BigPay card?

All Malaysian residents can sign up for BigPay as long as you are 18 years old or older.

Personal thoughts

Previously, I have used BIG Prepaid Mastercard, which is also a Mastercard prepaid card by Air Asia. I changed it to BigPay the moment BigPay was launched. So far, I really like this card. I have used BigPay card during my overseas trip in Taiwan, Japan and Korea. The currency rate is really awesome (since there is no extra bank charges now). Sometimes, the rate is even better than money changer’s rate. But one thing for sure, you pay lesser in overseas using BigPay as compared to credit card (there is bank fee when you use credit/debit card).

My personal tips for buying cheap Air Asia ticket? Sign up to be Air Asia BIG member, and sign up for BigPay card. I always collect BIG points when I fly with Air Asia, I never paid any processing fee when buying Air Asia ticket and I always get discount on pre-booked check-in luggage and in-flight meals too.

Just before I wanted to publish this post, Air Asia announced that they will no longer charge processing fee for payment by online banking or credit card starting from Oct 2019. If you need to book a ticket before October and want to save some money, you should apply for BigPay card and save the processing fee.

use bigpay card in korea

I used bigpay card in Korea

*Note: I used my bigpay card in Shake Shack Korea. The amount that I was being charged on my bigpay card was around the same as XE currency exchange rate. You can use the card at places where mastercard is accepted so you don’t have to carry so much cash around.

How to Get BigPay?

1) Download BigPay App
– Available on App Store and Google Play Store. All your account information and transaction details will be in your mobile phone.

2) Sign up for BigPay card
– Fill in your basic personal details
*Use this referral code (739AJJQEBX) to get RM10 bonus credit
– Verify your identity with your IC/passport and a selfie
– Top up RM20 into your account

3) Wait to receive your BigPay card and Activate the card
– Your card should arrive to your address 5 to 7 business days after you have top up at least RM20 to your account. After you have received the card, you have to activate it.

For more info about BigPay card >> visit https://www.bigpayme.com/
Download Bigpay app (ios) or Bigpay app (android).

 

*Don’t forget to key in this referral code (739AJJQEBX) to get RM10 bonus credit!

Korean Government Scholarship Program for Graduate Degrees (KGSP-G)

The 2018 Korean Government Scholarship Program for Graduate Degrees (KGSP-G) is opened for application since February 2018.

What is Korean Government Scholarship Program?

  • Korean Government Scholarship Program (known as KGSP) is a scholarship provided by Korean Government to give people around the world an opportunity to study in Korea for undergraduate or graduate program.

What is included in Korean Government Scholarship Program for Graduate?

  • 1 year language course + 2 years master’s degree / 3 years doctoral degree
  • Free tuition fee + living allowance + other benefits

*If you have obtained TOPIK level 5/6, you don’t have to enrol in the 1 year language course and should start your master’s / phD course immediately.

Korean Government Scholarship Program Graduate KGSP-G

Korean Government Scholarship Program for Graduate

 

What are the benefits of Korean Government Scholarship Program for Graduate Degrees (KGSP-G)?

Korean Government Scholarship Program for Graduate Degrees scholarship benefits

KGSP-Graduate Scholarship Benefits

As a KGSP Graduate 2015 student from Malaysia, I am grateful for this scholarship and always thankful to the Korean Government for this opportunity. I still remember when I applied for KGSP 3 years ago, I did a lot of research online – to search for information about how to apply, how to write the personal statement & study plan, how to deliver the documents, and also the KGSP students life in Korea (I was afraid that life would be so difficult as international student in Korea). I found some useful blogs that discussed about KGSP application process, how to write self-introduction (in order to make your application stand out and win the scholarship, etc…. lol). I even talked to some of the Malaysians KGSP who were studying in Korea at that time. Thankfully, they were very helpful to guide me through this complicated process and I managed to win the scholarship! Yay! Thank God too, of course!

So, this was 3 years ago. I can’t believe I have been studying in Korea for 2.5 years already. Everything is still good in Korea. I miss home, and all the food in Malaysia. 🙂 But, life as international student in Korea is great. In fact, it is awesome! To be honest, I am enjoying every single moment here. I gotta admit that KGSP is the best scholarship in Korea!! And KGSP is one of the best gifts I have ever gotten from God.


As written on http://www.studyinkorea.go.kr/ website, they are inviting 780 international students from 156 countries, for degree (Master’s & Doctoral) and non-degree research programs for year 2018.

Quota for Malaysians:

Embassy Track : 5
University Track : 6
Regional & Science : 3

My experience:

  • I applied through Embassy Track.

Embassy Track Applicants :

Applicants must submit ONE set of original application and THREE sets of photocopies, identical to the original set.

For sealed documents, such as recommendation letters, applicants must submit FOUR identical documents, each sealed in a separate envelope.

 

For Malaysians, if you are interested to apply for 2018 Korean Government Scholarship Program for Graduate Degrees (KGSP-G), please visit Embassy of the Republic of Korea (Malaysia) to download the application form and guidelines and read the information carefully. Don’t forget to submit your application by Wednesday – 14th March 2018, by 15:00 to the Korean Embassy in Jalan Ampang (by hand or post).

My experience:

  • I sent my application form to the Korean Embassy in Jalan Ampang via Poslaju. I checked the status online using the Poslaju tracking number to ensure my document arrived safely in Korean Embassy!
  • My friend sent it by hand on the last day of the submission. My advice: If you wanna be safe, submit it by hand.

Important Timeline: 

o Interview: 19 March ~ 27 March 2018 (Exact date and time will be advised to the successful candidates directly)
o Result Announcement of the 1st round selection by the Embassy: 6 April 2018
o Result Announcement of the 2nd round selection by NIIED: 1 May 2018
o 3rd round of selection by respective universities: May ~ June 2018
o Final result announcement: 19 June 2018

My experience:

  • After I submitted the application form, there was no news until one random afternoon, I received a call from Korean Embassy saying that I was selected and they gave me the interview details.
  • 1st round selection notification – I got a call from Korean Embassy on the next day after the interview and they told me that I got selected and will be submitting my documents to NIIED. Yay!
  • 2nd round selection notification – It was announced on Study in Korea Website (Notice)
  • 3rd round selection notification – You will get an email from the selected university to notify if you are accepted into the university. For embassy track, you have 3 chances! If all the 3 universities accepted you, you will have to inform them your final decision.
  • Final result announcement – Check on http://www.studyinkorea.go.kr/

Writing Personal Statement (aka Self-Introduction) :

o Motivations with which you apply for this program
o Your education and work experience in relation to the KGSP
o Reason for studying in Korea
o Any other aspects of your background and interests which may help us evaluate your aptitude and passion for graduate study or research.

Personal Statement (aka Self Introduction) is a big thing in Korea. In every scholarship, random programs/activities and job application, the Koreans want you to write personal statement to tell about yourself, personality, strength & weaknesses, motivations for applying, etc. It is stressful because you definitely wanna write to impress them (but don’t overdo it because it’s like showing off). But one thing for sure, you should write something that makes you stand out from the other candidates.

TIPS: It is important to write to convince them that you are able to complete the whole course and not give up half way, then return to your country. (I am sure they don’t want someone who will give up half way and waste their money to sponsor you)

So, what to write in this section then?

My experience:

  • I wrote about WHY I choose to further my studies in Korea. Like why must it be KOREA, not Japan or UK. (If you really love Korean culture or language, you can write about that)
  • I also wrote about my strength – determined, strong-willed, etc. (To show that I will not give up half way)
  • I included my work experience and how it will help me in my career in future. (For example, if you are interested to work with Samsung or Korea company, this will help you to understand Korean culture and industry better, etc)
  • I started writing my personal statement in January and amended MANY times before the final draft. I gave it to my best friend to check on my spelling and sentence structure. (I advise you to let a friend check your draft because your friend might be able to put your words in a different or better sentence)

Statement of Purpose:

  • What to write in the “Future Plan after Study” Section?

In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if you want to stay in Korea or return to your country after you have completed your studies in Korea. So, the questions is, do the Korean Government wants us to stay back in Korea? Seriously, I don’t know. Neither can anyone give you the right answer. Whatever it is, be sure to justify it. If you want to stay in Korea and get a job, write the reason why you want to get a job in Korea. Don’t just write “After my studies, I plan to stay in Korea to find a job.” It is better to include more information such as what kind of job, WHYYYYY, and how you can contribute to Korea by staying back in Korea. If you want to return to your home country after the completion of your course, you might want to include some reasons such as “to be a Korea ambassador in my country to promote studying in Korea”, or something.

In my case, I wrote in my Future Plan that I want to return to my country and help to make the relationship between Malaysia and Korea to be better/closer. (Great, right? Haha! I really mean it. I didn’t write that for fun. 😛 )

 

Language Requirement:

Preference:
An applicant who has attained certified scores for their proficiency in Korean or English may be given preference. Some examples include the followings: – Proficiency in Korean: TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) – Proficiency in English: TOEFL, TOEIC, or IELTS Academic (TOEFL ITPs are NOT acceptable)

It is NOT a must to have TOPIK or IELTS, but I am sure it will give some extra points to your application. Therefore, I advise you to submit at least IELTS or TOEFL, if you don’t have TOPIK.

I didn’t have any TOPIK results back then but I submitted IELTS results. It costs about RM800++ to take IELTS exam in Malaysia now (It used to be Rm600++ T_T). I took IELTS in IDP Subang Jaya. Also, I took Korean language course in ICLS before applying for KGSP. Although I did not have any TOPIK results, I submitted my Korean Language Course Certificate from ICLS to show that I was learning Korean.

All the best to those who are applying for KGSP 2018!


*SPECIAL* FOR MALAYSIANS

I am thinking to organize a sharing session/workshop about KGSP scholarship applications in future (most probably in Kuala Lumpur/Petaling Jaya). Maybe just accepting about 5 people for one session because it will be easier to do discussion.

– I will gather and answer some of the questions and inquiries I often received from applicants, share about how I prepare the documents (translation & verification by notary public/commissioner of oaths), and also give a brief guideline on how to prepare self-introduction & study plan.

Are you keen to join?
Let me know by sending me a DM on instagram @cleeswanders!

(Just a relaxing sharing session, and you can enjoy a cup of coffee and make friends with other applicants. Registration fee will be charged though but it won’t be expensive.)