Grab Furthers FinTech Ambition With Grab Financial - Offers Loans And Insurance

Jason Thompson MD of Grab Pay SEA

Jason Thompson MD of Grab Pay SEA

To provide loans to consumers, micro-entrepreneurs and small businessess across South-east Asia, Grab has embarked on a joint venture (JV) agreement with Credit Saison Co, one of Japan's largest consumer financing 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.

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.

This new platform will encompass all of Grab's fintech offerings, including payment services, rewards and loyalty services, and financial services, among others.

The service will be rolled out this year to all the Southeast Asia markets Grab is in now, the executive said. Already, he added, Grab has a loan book in excess of $700 million thanks to campaigns to provide vehicle financing, insurance and more.

What's new with Grab Financial is the addition of loan and insurance services to individuals around in Southeast Asia.

Grab Financial Services Asia taps into the firm's huge cache of customer data gathered from the Grab app, which processes over a billion transactions annually, to provide an alternative resource for measuring credit ratings. "Many in our region have no access to loans that they can use to purchase a new home or grow their small Business", said Thompson.

Rather than pumping potential financial services customers with alerts via its app, Grab plans to take a community-driven approach and promote the availability of services using its driver events, its network of agents and other offline means.

Grab has been progressively developing its capabilities in financial services, acquiring Indonesian e-commerce company Kudo in April 2017 and launching a P2P mobile wallet in November.

With both the involvement with Grab and Shopback, arguably two of the most used consumer platforms in Southeast Asia, Credit Saison will have access to consumer habits, spending behaviours as well as financial insights of the Southeast Asia population.

Grab, widely known as "Southeast Asia's Uber", operates services in 191 cities in eight countries, with mobile downloads totaling about 86 million.

It is also interesting to note that through this joint venture with Grab to form Grab Financial, Credit Saison is further establishing itself as a strong player in the fintech space in Southeast Asia.

And they may be the bigger victor behind the scenes.