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Ride-hailing service Grab is being heavily linked with a deal to buy out Uber’s business in Southeast Asia, but those rumors aren’t stopping it from building its fintech platform after announced a financial services unit.
The Singapore-based company has been pushing itself into fintech for some time, with the most visible moment being the launch of its mobile payments service last November. Today, it extended that further still by introducing micro-loans and insurance options for Grab drivers and businesses that use its GrabPay services.
Offerings - Grab - Credit - Saison - Firm
For its new offerings, Grab has teamed up with Credit Saison, a $3 billion firm that is Japan’s biggest lender with some 70 million credit cards in circulation, to create a joint venture called Grab Financial Services Asia. U.S.-based insurer Chubb has signed on as a partner.
In an interview with TechCrunch on the sidelines of the Money2020 event in Singapore, Jason Thompson, who is head of GrabPay, said the move is in line with Grab’s focus on enabling business and income in Southeast Asia.
Today - Jobs - Grab - Services - People
“Today we’ve helped create about five million jobs [across Grab services], for those people to grow their businesses, we need to provide them with financial services. Whether that’s nano-loans for working capital, the ability to buy a car, actually without financial services we’re going to restrict the business growth of that whole ecosystem. That’s the reason we’re doing it,” he said.
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.
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