Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing major Grab on Thursday launched a digital and physical payments card, GrabPay Card, in Singapore, according to an announcement. Going forward, it plans to roll it out in other Southeast Asian countries next year, beginning with the Philippines in the first quarter.
According to a statement, GrabPay Card allows users to make payments at over 53 million merchants from Mastercard’s network worldwide. Users may also use it to purchase insurance and redeem online rewards. The card is completely numberless on its front and back, designed specifically to prevent personal and financial theft.
The GrabPay physical card will be rolled out in batches. Singapore-based users may begin applying for the physical cards after receiving their digital cards.
Huey Tyng Ooi, Managing Director, GrabPay, said: “The GrabPay Card, powered by Mastercard, is a continued evolution of GrabPay. This partnership with Mastercard moves us toward an open payments ecosystem, allowing users to earn and redeem reward points across millions of merchants and represents an important step for GrabPay in becoming a truly Asean wallet”.
Grab’s move to launch a card come shortly after it applied for a digital banking licence in Singapore, indicating strong intentions to expand its fintech ambitions.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has fixed a strict list of criteria for its digital bank candidates, including strong proof of a path towards profitability, be controlled by Singaporeans, and show a “clear value proposition” of meeting under-served needs using technology. Two digital full bank licences will be awarded by MAS in the middle of 2020.
Grab has expressed intentions to spin off its payments and financial services arm to boost growth in the region, roping in external investors to raise additional capital for the unit. Gojek, too, was also reported to be nurturing similar ambitions, suggesting the deep growth opportunities for financial inclusion in Southeast Asia.