In a move that gives a push to its payments services business, Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing giant Grab announced that it has received e-money licence from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the central bank in the Philippines, allowing it to expand the GrabPay mobile wallet in the country.
The Philippines is the fifth country in Southeast Asia where the full suite of GrabPay mobile wallet services becomes available, according to an announcement.
The move comes shortly after the ride-hailing giant made a strategic investment in Vietnamese mobile payment startup Moca to roll out payments services to consumers and SMEs in the southeast Asian market.
Grab has been on the fast track on several fronts, be it capital raising, securing partnerships or launching new services. Just months after securing $2 billion from investors like OppenheimerFunds and Toyota, Grab is looking to raise a further $1 billion by end-2018.
Grab intends to plough capital in new growth areas, namely, food delivery and payments. Outlining the ride-hailing major’s future plans in the payments space, Grab president Ming Maa had said, at the DEALSTREETASIA’s Asia PE-VC Summit 2018 on September 12, e-payments such as P2P lending and remittances are one of the highest friction points in the region. Grab plans to enter this space as its payments platform strengthens.
With the e-money licence in the Philippines, Grab consumers will not only be able to use GrabPay for rides and express delivery, but a number of additional payments services.
The Philippines has one of the highest percentages of people in Southeast Asia who do not have a bank account and who transact in cash, said Ooi Huey Tyng, Managing Director of GrabPay Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.
According to statistics from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, more than 98 per cent of transactions in the Philippines still happen in cash, whereas 86 per cent of people remain unbanked. Cash handling and services also cost millions of pesos a year to the banking industry.
“The convenience of Grab’s many services and the millions of customers already using the Grab app every day, make us confident about the GrabPay wallet’s prospects. With the support from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, we can now help millions participate in the cashless, digital economy without the need for a bank account or to download additional apps,” he added.
Not only consumers, but GrabPay also targets organizations and businesses. Major merchants, restaurant partners and small businesses will also be able to receive mobile payments with GrabPay’s QR technology.
Grab, which started as a ride-hailing service, also soon launches Grab Superapp that allows quick access to the GrabPay wallet, easy navigation to all Grab services and personalized news feed, it said in the announcement.