Grab moves into fintech by launching financial services and insurance products

Grab Uber’s Southeast Asia rival now offers micro-loans and other financial services		
	Jon Russell

   	2 days

Grab Uber’s Southeast Asia rival now offers micro-loans and other financial services Jon Russell 2 days

Grab, which started as a taxi-hailing app firm and competes with Uber Technologies, has been expanding into financial services over the past two years, partly by acquiring companies.

Grab, the ride sharing platform we are all familiar with, has become a little more unfamiliar to us with the launch of its new product.

The move comes as Tencent Holdings-backed WeChat Pay and Alipay, the payments arm of Alibaba Group Holding affiliate Ant Financial Services, expand into Southeast Asia - home to some of the world's fastest-growing economies with about 640 million people and an active mobile phone user base.

Grab's joint venture (JV) with Credit Saison will allow them to offer access to funding that is crucial to helping them grow their income streams.

Their new joint venture firm, Grab Financial Services Asia, will offer micro-financing products and leverage Grab's network of millions of consumers and small businesses as well as data on consumer behaviour, blending it with Credit Saison's expertise in credit analysis and consumer lending.

GrabReward - Grab's rewards and loyalty services.

These financial services will fall under a new dedicated unit created by the rideshare, called Grab Financial Services Asia.

By analysing behaviour and transaction data from the app, such as transport movements, geo-location, and GrabPay transaction data, the company can offer alternative data points to assess credit worthiness, filling the gap left by traditional credit scoring methods. Whether that's nano-loans for working capital, the ability to buy a auto, actually without financial services we're going to restrict the business growth of that whole ecosystem.

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Managing director of GrabPay Southeast Asia Jason Thompson said in a separate media briefing on Tuesday that Ibu Sumiati only has a rolling credit of funds to last 24 hours, so if a robbery happens, her business closes.

On the other hand, the insurance capability of Grab Financial is done through a partnership with Chubb, the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company.

Initial offerings include accident, hospitalisation and other critical insurance coverage to Grab's 2.6 million drivers, and will be accessible through the Grab driver app. GFSA is a joint venture (JV) between Grab and Japan's Credit Saison which will provide loans and lending services to "millions of unbanked and underbanked consumers, micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses across Southeast Asia", the company said.

Beyond that, we can also expect Grab Financial to introduce new insurance products catered to the digital audience in Southeast Asia.

It previously also led an investment into Shopback, the leading cashback site in Southeast Asia.

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.

And they may be the bigger victor behind the scenes.

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