Grab announces new investment product, consumer loan platform as part of financial services drive

Grab announces new investment product, consumer loan platform as part of financial services drive

Commuters walk past a Grab transport booking service app advertisement
Commuters walk past a Grab transport booking service app advertisement at a train station in Singapore, on  Feb 10, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Grab Financial Group announced a slew of new financial products and services on Tuesday (Aug 4), including a micro-investment scheme that would allow consumers to invest as they spend on the Grab platform. 

This is part of a "Thrive with Grab" strategy, which aims to tap into Southeast Asia's "vast mass market financial services opportunity", said the company in a news release.

The strategy will also see the group launch "buy-now-pay-later" payment plans for select e-commerce websites and a third-party loan platform to allow users to obtain consumer loans. 

“As a leading fintech company in Southeast Asia, our ‘Thrive with Grab’ strategy will enable users to build their wealth, manage their finances and protect what they value during this uncertain period,” said Grab Financial Group senior managing director Reuben Lai. 

READ: Grab aims to solve ‘real problems’ for micro-entrepreneurs with new lending service

Formed in 2018, Grab Financial Group is the financial services arm of ride-hailing and deliveries giant Grab. 

Its new micro-investment product AutoInvest - created after Grab Financial’s acquisition of robo-advisory start-up Bento Invest - would allow users in Singapore to invest at least S$1 per transaction on the Grab app. 

Users will be able to earn returns of about 1.8 per cent per annum, which will be paid out to their GrabPay wallets. 

“AutoInvest sets GrabPay apart from other e-wallets by allowing users to invest their wallet balance easily. The invested sum can then be withdrawn at any time, with no penalties, to spend on Grab services or at any merchant accepting the GrabPay Card,” said Grab in its news release.

The firm added that money would be invested in "high-quality, liquid fixed income funds" offered by Fullerton Fund Management and UOB Asset Management.

AutoInvest will be available to eligible users via the Grab app in early September, and users will be charged a “low all-inclusive fee”.

The new third-party consumer loan platform, which will be launched in Singapore before being introduced in Malaysia and other countries, will allow users access to personal loans offered by Grab’s licensed bank partners. 

Grab Financial and its bank partners will integrate their application programming interfaces (APIs), said Grab, allowing users to securely apply for loans directly within the Grab app. 

It is also expanding its "buy-now-pay-later" line of offerings by launching PayLater Instalments, which will allow users to split their purchases into monthly instalments, and PayLater Postpaid, where payments can be deferred to the following month. These will be available on select e-commerce sites in Singapore and Malaysia in October.

READ: Grab seeks to be largest financial service provider in Southeast Asia; launches several initiatives

Grab Financial will also launch a new hospitalisation insurance plan, called Hospital Cash Cover, in Indonesia in the coming months.

The new schemes further underline Grab's push into financial services, and come after the firm announced last December that it was partnering with Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) to apply for a digital full banking licence in Singapore.

READ: Singtel to team up with Grab for Singapore digital bank licence

At the time, Mr Lai called the move a "natural next step ... to build a truly customer-centric digital bank that will deliver a variety of banking and financial services that are accessible, transparent and affordable".

Tuesday’s announcements also come after after a series of cost-cutting measures by Grab, with co-founder Tan Hooi Ling noting the company’s revenue had fallen in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

In April, Grab announced its senior executives would take a pay cut of up to 20 per cent, and in June the firm said it would cut 360 jobs, or about 5 per cent of its total headcount

Source: CNA/az(nc)

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