Ride hailing app Grab launches financial services unit

Maricruz Casares
Marcha 13, 2018

Using the data, combined with Credit Saison's expertise in credit scoring, risk management and product formulation, the new entity can offer a range of lending products and services mentioned above, Grab said.

Speaking at the Money 20/20 conference at Marina Bay Sands on Tuesday (Mar 13), CEO Anthony Tan announced the launch of Grab Financial, which will encompass Grab's payment system, rewards programme, agent network and financial services. In Southeast Asia, KMPMG estimates that just 27 percent of the region's 600 million population have a bank account. These traditionally would require analysis of various data such as income, spending habits, existing debts, and bank account details.

For its new offerings, Grab has teamed up with Credit Saison, a $3 billion firm that is Japan's biggest lender with some 70 million credit cards in circulation, to create a joint venture called Grab Financial Services Asia. These, it added, could plug gaps that traditional credit-scoring methods were unable to address.

In its early stages, the JV will focus on providing products to meet the needs of Grab drivers, agents and merchants, such as working capital loans, financing for smartphones, and consumer goods financing.

The joint venture will tap on the ride-hailing service provider's huge cache of customer data gather from its app - these include riders' feedback, telemetry data and insights from the Grab Rewards platform, Mr Thompson explained - to provide a "sophisticated, alternative resource for measuring credit ratings".

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GrabPay's Southeast Asia managing director Jason Thompson said: "Many in our region have no access to loans that they can use to purchase a new home or grow their small business".

At the same event, Grab also announced that it had partnered up with insurance firm Chubb to provide insurance products for driver-partners and customers. The firm said its taxi app alone generates more than 5 million micro-entrepreneurs, including 2.6 million drivers.

Grab said the partnership will involve using data technology from Grab's platform - telematics, machine learning and predictive analytics - to offer insurance solutions personalised to the specific needs of different private-hire vehicle drivers in Southeast Asia.

It now has a network of more than 2.6 million drivers in eight countries in the region, clocking nearly 4 million rides a day.

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