Following Grab’s previous announcement on GrabPay and acquisition of Kudo, Anthony Tan, Co Founder and Group CEO announced the company’s ambitions to further strengthen their play in the fintech ecosystem through Grab Financial during his keynote at Money 20/20. Grab Financial will encompass all of Grab’s fintech offerings, including payments services, rewards and loyalty services, agent network services and micro-loans.
Grab Financial Services Asia was announced as a joint venture between Grab and Credit Saison one of Japan’s largest financial consumer lending companies. The joint venture is set up with the aim to to provide loans and lending services to millions of unbanked and underbanked consumers, microentrepreneurs and small businesses across Southeast Asia.
At the heart of the new company’s offering is Grab Financial Services Asia’s ability to taps into Grab’s huge cache of customer data gathered from the Grab app, which processes over a billion transactions annually, to provide a sophisticated, alternative resource for measuring credit ratings.
By analyzing 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.
“The new joint venture, Grab Financial Services Asia, puts in place a much-needed infrastructure that will accelerate financial inclusion in Southeast Asia. Many in our region have no access to loans that they can use to purchase a new home or grow their small business. GFSA is building a reliable alternative to traditional credit scoring methods that is customised for the unbanked majority of consumers and small businesses in Southeast Asia, which will create economic opportunity for millions across the region,” said Jason Thompson, Managing Director, GrabPay Southeast Asia.
In its initial stages Grab Financial Services Asia will be focusing on products to meet the needs of Grab drivers, agents and merchants, such as working capital loans, financing for smartphones and durable goods, as well as consumer goods financing. The company has also revealed that they are opening to partnering with banks in the near future to provide reliable credit information.
During the same keynote Anthony also revealed their partnership with Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, to offer insurance solutions for Grab’s driver-partners. Using the Grab app, drivers will be able to select different insurance options to protect their vehicles, their livelihoods and, ultimately, even their families, with access to loss of income insurance, per-ride schemes, personal accident policies and motor insurance. The companies will also explore leveraging data technology from Grab’s platform, including telematics, machine learning and predictive analytics to offer insurance solutions personalized to the specific needs of different private-hire vehicle drivers in Southeast Asia.
Grab’s strong numbers of over 86 million downloads and over 2.6 million drivers is no laughing matter and is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Grab Financial certainly stands a strong chance in disrupting the fintech market in a significant way.
However Grab is not the only player in town, its Indonesian counterpart Go-Jek is also stepped up their game in terms of partnerships and acquisitions. The phenomenon of ridesharing apps encroaching into fintech is certainly and interesting one to observe and we foresee more key announcements from these players in the near future.